NJ cop charged with killing his newborn — raised $17K online
EWING — A police officer has been charged with murdering his three-month-old daughter, who died in December six days after she was admitted to the hospital with a fractured skull and ribs.
Daniel Bannister Jr., 31, was suspended from the force in December, although authorities did not explain why until the murder charge was announced Wednesday. He was arrested Wednesday morning at a Wawa on Silvia Street.
His wife, Catherine Bannister, 29, was charged Wednesday with second-degree child endangerment.
Before Hailey Rose died, the family set up a GoFundMe page that said that the baby had suffered a "catastrophic brain injury." The campaign raised $17,618 for funeral expenses and medical bills.
An autopsy in December determined that Hailey Rose died from complications from blunt impact trauma of the head including skull fractures and brain bleeding.
"The nature of Hailey’s injuries indicated an ongoing pattern of abuse," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Wednesday.
Police were notified about the "suspicious nature of Hailey’s injuries" after the family made a 911 call on Dec. 5 to report an unresponsive baby that was not breathing.
Catherine Bannister placed the call and told 911 dispatchers: "My husband is an officer, so he’s working with her right now, but we need help," according to a copy of the 911 call obtained by The Trentonian.
EMTs said Hailey Rose was suffering from a heart attack and took her to Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell, where she was listed in critical condition with a fractured skull, brain bleed and multiple fractured ribs. She was then taken to Robert Wood Johnson Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, where she died on Dec. 11.
In February, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor told New Jersey 101.5 that Bannister had been suspended with pay but would not say whether the suspension was related to the death of the baby.
Prosecutors on Wednesday did not provide other details about the case, including how exactly the baby suffered the injuries or why it took investigators seven months to file charges.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday whether the Bannisters had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Bannister had been a police officer since 2017. The couple also has a son.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.