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Toddler's mother: Death was accident

March 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The mother of the toddler found dead in Sylmar recanted her story on Friday and now says it was an accident.The 20-year-old mother, identified as Stacy Barker, had initially told police that she had been at Lancaster City Park and was putting her daughter into a car seat when someone hit her from behind and knocked her unconscious Wednesday.

She said she woke up several hours later in her car at a parking lot in Palmdale to discover her daughter missing. She called police at about 11 p.m. Wednesday and was taken to a hospital for unknown injuries.

After interviewing Barker, police found the body of 18-month-old Emma Leigh Barker in some tall grass along a street in Sylmar at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Police said Barker's story kept changing.

"Within a few hours, several inconsistencies developed during the investigation," said Lt. Pat Nelson, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. "Many of those were investigated further through the course of the evening, and further investigation led, unfortunately, to the discovery of the body of the toddler in the Mission Hills area."

On Friday, Barker said she was responsible for the child's death and said it was an accident.

Authorities are waiting for autopsy results that will determine the cause of the toddler's death.