Two Mississippi police officers fired in death of girl, 3, left in hot patrol car for hours

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HANCOCK, Miss. — Two Mississippi police officers were fired Wednesday in the death of a 3-year-old girl who was left alone for hours in a hot patrol car. 

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 Friday.

Long Beach Board of Alderman voted unanimously Tuesday night to terminate Barker and Ladner, according to the Associated Press. The two were initially put on paid leave as police conducted an investigation.

No criminal charges have been filed yet, the Associated Press reported.

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.