Grieving Father Mourns Death of Baby Left in a Hot Car While Mother Was Sleeping with Her Boss

Three-year-old Cheyenne Hyer was left strapped to a car seat inside her mother’s patrol car for four hours.

Although the air conditioning was on, the vent was not blowing cold air. By the time her mother, Cassie Barker, found her, it was too late. The toddler had died from heatstroke; her body temperature reached 107 degrees. At that time, Barker was a Long Beach, Mississippi officer. She stopped by her supervisor’s house to have a talk with him after her shift and they ended up having sex. She fell asleep and when she went back to the car, Cheyenne was unresponsive.

The sentencing judge, Larry Bourgeois, asked to hear from the little girl's parents before giving his judgment.

Cheyenne’s father, Ryan Hyer, said that learning about his daughter’s death was the worst day of his life. He shared, “When it was time to view her fragile little body, I kept telling myself to be strong. However, I broke when I saw my beautiful, sweet, funny, and innocent angel laying in that casket."

He also said,

"I just wanted to pick her up and hold her and tell her everything was going to be OK, Daddy has you.”

Ryan became angry when Barker told the judge that she was the only caregiver to Cheyenne. She said, “I want to say that the only person I owe an apology to was my daughter because nobody else was in her life but me. The last time I spoke to him (Hyer) was in July (2016). He doesn’t even know what her favorite toys are.” As Barker spoke, her voice crumbled so much it was difficult to understand her.

Ryan said to Bourgeois, “I keep asking myself, ‘Will this give me closure?’ I could blame so many people, but the reality is that Cheyenne’s mother...took an oath to protect and serve the community [and] failed. She didn’t protect and serve the community or her child. I have blamed myself for every what if, should have and could have. My life has been a complete hell without Cheyenne. This will never get easier.”

Ryan admitted it had been a year since he last saw Cheyenne before her tragic death on September 30, 2016. He said he left Mississippi to move to Jacksonville, Florida when he caught Barker cheating on him with her boss. He also admitted never paying child support because “it never came up.” He added, “I’d send her money. She’d call me to say we are coming up to Jacksonville and we want to come see you. We were supposed to have her that whole summer she passed.” However, according to Ryan, Barker never came.

On Monday, Barker was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to culpable negligence manslaughter. Initially, she was indicted for second-degree murder but accepted the plea agreement to a lesser charge.

This was not the first time Barker had left her child unattended in a car. A passerby called Gulfport police on a previous occasion when she left her daughter in the car while she went into a store.  

Before Barker was sentenced, it was reported that she is pregnant with her second child and her attorney, Damian Holcomb, said that she is planning to put the baby up for adoption.

Barker has admitted in her statements that she alone was responsible for her daughter’s death. Holcomb says, “She hasn’t been the same since this happened. It’s a very sad case. Her life will never be the same again.”

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