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Missing Lancaster toddler is found dead [Update]

March 19, 2009 | 12:37 pm

Lanowtoddler_2 Sheriff officials say missing toddler Emma Leigh Barker, 18 months,  was found dead. Her mother, a resident of the high desert,  reported her missing Wednesday.

The girl’s mother, Stacy Barker, said that she was knocked unconscious after hitting her head on the steering wheel of her car at Lancaster Park and awoke hours later at a Palmdale park-n-ride with her daughter missing. The mother told detectives that she was at Lancaster City Park on Wednesday sometime after 5 p.m. when she was placing her daughter in a car seat and  hit her head.

She told detectives that she awoke about 10:30 p.m., slumped over in the seat of her car at a Palmdale park-and-ride, and discovered Emma was missing. The mother's brother called authorities, and deputies were dispatched to the Avenue S Park-n-Ride.

Deputies found the mother semiconscious and partially undressed with visible contusions on her head, officials said.

--Richard Winton

Photo: Emma Barker

Updated, 1:26 p.m.: L.A. Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore says that, according to investigators, a formal identification that the deceased child is Emma Barker is still pending.