charged in killing of 18-month-old daughter
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Leigh Barker's body was found in Sylmar. Authorities think it is likely she was suffocated.
Barker told authorities she was knocked out and her daughter abducted from a park in Lancaster. The girl had
been suffocated hours before Barker contacted authorities, detectives say.
April 28, 2009
Antelope Valley mother who alleged that an attacker knocked her out and abducted her 18-month-old daughter
is believed to have suffocated the girl hours earlier and dumped her body in Sylmar, detectives said Monday.
Barker, 24, was charged with one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death, and child abuse in the death of Emma
Leigh Barker, authorities said.
this point, as best as we can determine, the infant died through suffocation at the hands of the mother," said Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Lt. Pat Nelson. "After her third or fourth version of events, we knew she wasn't telling the truth, and we
were able to determine what happened. At this point, we believe she acted alone."
arrested Barker last Thursday because of "indications she might flee or disappear," Nelson said. Barker had been staying with
relatives since the March 18 disappearance of her daughter and discovery of the child's body near Roxford Street and El Dorado Avenue in deep brush along a fence.
spokesman Steve Whitmore said the Los Angeles County coroner's office has yet to determine the cause of death, but based on the information
available at this point it is likely the girl suffocated.
believe that the girl was already dead four or five hours before Stacey Barker contacted authorities to report the child missing
and tell of her mysterious abduction.
belief is the child died in the early evening of March 18," Nelson said.
initially told detectives that she was at a Lancaster park near the 14 Freeway and had just placed Emma in her car seat when
she was struck from behind by an unknown assailant. She told them that she awoke about 10:30 p.m. five hours later and several
miles away at a Palmdale park-and-ride lot, and that her daughter was missing.
the next day, Barker recanted the tale of assault and abduction that had launched a massive manhunt, Nelson said. She eventually
helped sheriff's detectives find her daughter's body and told them she had died in an accident. Detectives then discovered
the toddler's body in Sylmar near Interstate 5.
allege that Barker willfully caused and permitted her daughter to be harmed and that the injury resulted in death. Barker,
of Quartz Hill, was arrested last week at her grandparents' home in Lancaster.
arraignment hearing was postponed Monday until May 11. She remains in custody in lieu of $1-million bail.