A former Mississippi cop faces up to 20 years in prison for leaving her 3-year-old daughter to die inside a hot car while she had sex at her supervisor’s house, multiple outlets report.
On Monday, Cassie Barker, 29, pleaded guilty to culpable negligence manslaughter in the death of her daughter, Cheyenne Hyer, inside her patrol car in 2016, CBS News reports.
The former Long Beach officer accepted the plea agreement to a lesser charge after initially being indicted for second-degree murder, the Biloxi Sun Herald reports.
The child died on Sept. 30. 2016, after Barker went to the home of her supervisor, Clark Ladner, to talk to him at the end of her shift and ended up having sex with him, CBS affiliate WLOX reports.
She left the car running with the air conditioner on to combat the 100-degree temperature, but the vent wasn’t blowing cold air, CBS News reports.
She fell asleep in Ladner’s home for four hours, leaving her daughter strapped in her car seat in the sweltering heat.
The child was unresponsive when Barker finally returned to her car. The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital, where officials say her body temperature had topped 107 degrees, CBS News reports.
Barker had left the child unattended in a car on a previous occasion, authorities said, CBS News reports. Barker had left the child in her car when she went into a store, prompting a passerby to call Gulfport police, the Sun Herald reports.
Prosecutors are recommending 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on April 1.
“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced,” Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois told her in court, WLOX reports. “You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”
Barker and Ladner were fired after the child’s death, the Sun Herald reports.
Cheyenne’s father, Ryan Hyer, says he still cannot believe his daughter is dead.
“As a parent, you are supposed to protect your child, and Cheyenne is gone because her mother didn’t protect her, not once but twice,” Hyer said. “May God have mercy on her soul.”
An attorney for Barker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.