The Board of Aldermen of the city of Long Beach, Miss., voted unanimously Tuesday to fire two police officers involved in the hot-car death of the 3-year-old daughter of one of the officers, the Sun Herald reports.
Initially, the officers were placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of 3-year-old Cheyenn Hyer, daughter of Police Officer Cassie Barker, the Sun Herald reports.
However, the board decided to terminate Barker as well as Police Sgt. Clark Ladner, per the recommendation of Police Chief Wayne McDowell.
Barker’s daughter Cheyenn died Friday after being left alone in a patrol car, according to the report. Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said the patrol car was running with the air conditioner on when investigators got to the scene. Cheyenn (some news organizations are spelling her name as Cheyenne) was left unattended in the car for four hours while Barker “was visiting” Ladner, authorities said. Both officers were off-duty at the time Cheyenn was found.
Temperatures at the time of the incident were in the high 80s to low 90s, with the heat index reaching more than 100 degrees.
Adam said that an arrest could follow once investigators obtain additional information. Investigators are working to determine whether criminal charges will be filed in the case. Chief Deputy Don Bass said Ladner did not know that Cheyenn was in the car while he and Barker were inside.
Barker will have 10 days to file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission regarding her firing, the Sun Herald notes.
On Monday, Chief Investigator Glen Grannan revealed that deputies learned that Barker had also been involved in an unrelated incident that resulted in her having to go through the state Department of Human Services “so she could have her child back,” the Sun Herald reports. That incident also involved Cheyenn.
“I’ve spoken with the male officer involved, but I’ve not spoken with the female officer, not as far as the official internal investigation, because of medical reasons,” Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell said. “The mother is in shock. I will talk to her soon.”