Ryan Hyer, the father of a Mississippi toddler who died in 2016, spoke out after his ex claimed during a sentencing hearing Monday that she was the sole caregiver of the little girl, who passed away after the woman left her in a hot car.
“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,” 29-year-old Cassie Barker said to a judge during a Monday morning sentencing hearing at a Long Beach, Mississippi, court, according to SunHerald.
“The last time I spoke to him [Ryan Hyer] was in July . He doesn’t even know what her favorite toys are.”
Barker sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, following a manslaughter conviction in connection with the September 2016 death of her daughter, Cheyenne. Barker left Cheyenne, 3, strapped into a carseat in the back of her patrol car while she spent over four hours inside her supervisor’s home.
Barker’s statement infuriated Hyer because the grieving father said he loved his daughter immensely. Hyer claimed that although he had not seen his little girl in over a year before her death, it was because he moved states away to Florida after he caught Barker cheating on him. He said he offered to pay for little girl to come visit him but Barker refused.
Hyer said he has suffered extreme emotional pain since the passing of his daughter, and blamed himself for “everything.”
“Every time I see a patrol car, I see Cheyenne gasping for air,” Hyer told the judge. “I’ve blamed myself for everything … life has been a complete hell. There’s no sentence big enough that will ever bring her back to us.”
“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. I just wanted to pick her up and hold her and tell her everything was going to be OK, Daddy has you.”- Ryan Hyer
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Barker had just gotten off of work at the Long Beach Police Department on September 30, 2016, when she picked up Cheyenne from her babysitter, then stopped by the home of her supervisor, Clark Ladner.
Barker claimed she wanted to talk about a “personal matter” with Ladner, but the pair ended up having sex inside Ladner’s home while the little girl, left in her mother’s patrol car, was trapped inside the vehicle and dying from a heatstroke.
Around four hours later, Barker returned to her patrol car and found Cheyenne unresponsive. The little girl’s temperature was 107 degrees.
Cheyenne never recovered and passed away on the same day at the Hancock County Medical Center. While Ladner said he had no idea that Barker left the toddler outside in her car, Barker claimed she fell asleep inside her supervisor’s home after working a 12-hour shift earlier that day. She later admitted she fell asleep after having sex with Ladner.
Barker also claimed she left the air conditioner on in the vehicle, but it apparently wasn’t working properly, according to CBS News.
The incident marked the second time Barker left Cheyenne in a car alone. In 2015, Barker left the little girl inside her personal vehicle while she went to a strip mall off of U.S. 49 in Gulfport.
A passerby noticed Cheyenne, a 2-year-old at the time, inside the car and contacted police. The Department of Human Services (DHS) took temporary custody of the child but she was later given back to Barker.
Hyer said he didn’t realize that Barker had left his daughter inside a hot car on a previous occasion until after second, fatal incident. In turn, he filed a civil suit against Long Beach PD and DHS. Hyer claimed both parties were negligent for not informing him the first time Barker left Cheyenne inside a car alone. The lawsuit is still pending.
Meanwhile, the judge admonished Barker before handing down a 20-year prison sentence.
“I can appreciate you loved the child, but you left the child — your own flesh and blood — in a car while you went into the air-conditioned house while you had sexual relations,” the judge said to Barker on Monday.
“When you have a child and you bring this child into the world, it also brings responsibility. I don’t know how to put it other than you have failed in the responsibility of this child.”
Barker is pregnant with her second child and plans to give the baby up for adoption.
[Feature Photo: Cheyenne Hyer/GoFundMe]