LONG BEACH, Miss. -- Two police officers were fired Tuesday following the death of the 3-year-old daughter of one of the officers. The little girl, Cheyenne Hyer, was left alone in her mother's patrol car for several hours on Friday, before she was found unresponsive.
Authorities said when the child was found, the car was running, with the air conditioner on. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
According to TV station WLOX, Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell on Tuesday evening, asked for the immediate termination of Officer Cassie Barker and Officer Clark Ladner. The officers had been under suspension since the incident occurred, and while it was being investigated.
McDowell told WLOX the department has specific rules prohibiting family members from patrol cars unless commuting to work or being dropped off at childcare.
On Monday, Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson that Barker was inside Ladner's home at the time of the incident. He said authorities believe Cheyenne had been in the patrol car for up to four hours while Barker was at Ladner's home. The two officers were off duty at the of the incident.
"I'm not tiptoeing around it, but we just started the interviews this morning, and I'm not aware of what his interview has consisted of as far as that question," Bass told the Clarion-Ledger on Monday. "She was there visiting him. I can't speculate on anything more."
McDowell says he made his recommendation to terminate the two officers because of what he called a "violation of departmental policies," including "conduct detrimental to the public."
Hancock County officials said Tuesday that autopsy results have not been released yet. McDowell said an investigation of the incident continues, and as of this point, there is no word on what sorts of charges either officer may face.
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