Cassie Barker's arrest and subsequent release on a $50,000 bond has triggered protests within the agency that arrested her, even as her attorneys continued to dub it a fair move.
The 27-year-old Long Island cop turned herself into the Hancock County Sheriff's Office on Thursday afternoon nearly a week after her daughter died. On the morning of September 30, Cassie's 3-year-old daughter, Cheyenne, suffocated to death after her mother left her strapped in the backseat of the car with the motor running for more than four hours. During the time she was away from her daughter, Cassie was reportedly in the house of her shift supervisor, Sgt. Clark Ladner, to discuss a work-related incident after the two had finished working on a night shift. According to the statements both of them gave to the investigators, Barker and Ladner fell asleep at the latter's Mississippi home after an exhaustive night of work.
When Barker got up several hours later, she rushed to check on her daughter but found her unresponsive. Cheyenne was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Although the reports of the autopsy are still pending, investigators said that the windows were rolled up while a large blanket sat next to the child's car seat on the rear passenger side.
"The autopsy was done this morning and we haven't got the results yet," Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam told reporters.
While Lander will not face charges because he had no knowledge Cheyenne was in the car, WALB reports that he was fired from the Long Island Police Department earlier in the week.
Investigators also found that Barker, who joined the Long Island Police Department as a rookie officer back in 2014, has had at least one more incident in the past where she left Cheyenne alone in a hot car. According to the New York Daily News, Barker was briefly suspended from her police department in May of 2015 after she left Cheyenne inside her personal car in nearby Gulfport, Mississippi. Welfare officers had taken temporary custody of Barker's daughter on that occasion.
"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," Sheriff Ricky Adam noted.After almost a week of horrid speculation at the direction the investigation was set to take, Cassie Barker turned herself in on Thursday afternoon, flagged by her attorneys Don Rafferty and George Blair. She was released less than an hour later when her bail bond was met.
Confronted with accusations that Barker was getting preferential treatment because she was a cop, Glenn Grannan, the chief investigator with the Hancock County Sheriff Department, said that Barker had received nothing of the sort, although he did concede that she could be a flight risk.
"In a situation like this, you would hope that someone would confer with someone like myself or the sheriff to determine whether or not the defendant is a flight risk or not," Grannan said.
Chief Deputy Don Bass agreed, saying that the amount required to bail her out should have been higher.
"We would have liked to have had a hearing on it and set a higher bond," he said. "We feel she's a flight risk."
"There are people in jail for burglary charges on $50,000 bonds," Sheriff Ricky Adam echoed.However, Barker's attorney said that he was glad to get her out on bail soon after she turned herself in.
"We are glad she was able to bond out. We understand there are a lot of sides in this case. I can't answer any further other than we are glad we were able to get her bonded out," he said.
[Featured Image by Hancock County Jail]