Mississippi officer’s 3-year-old daughter dies after hours locked in hot patrol car

HANCOCK, Miss. – Two Mississippi police officers have been placed on paid leave after a child died in a Long Beach patrol car Friday.

The Hancock County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 3-year-old Cheyenne Hyer, the daughter of Cassie Barker, one of the officers on leave, according to WGNO.

Investigators believe Barker left Cheyenne in the back of the car outside the home of the other officer, Clark Ladner, who she allegedly visited with Friday.

Cheyenne was believed to have been locked in the car for roughly four hours before she was found.

News of the child's death shocked those living near Ladner.

"In our small community, it really bothers all of us parents," Kiln resident Betsy Nugent told WLOX. "It's devastating."

While the official cause of death is unclear, investigators believe Cheyenne likely overheated.  Cheyenne died despite having the air conditioning running inside the vehicle Friday afternoon, investigators said.

"The autopsy was done this morning and we haven't got the results yet," Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said. "We are looking into some possible previous allegations. It is an active investigation. It hasn't been determined which way we will go, but it doesn't look good.  We'll see which way the evidence takes us."

The state medical examiner's office in Pear is expected to release autopsy findings later this week.

In the meantime, Long Beach Police Department Chief Wayne McDowell said the child's death is an "internal matter with his officers."

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