NJ cop’s baby died after 2 months of abuse — murder charge
EWING — A police officer and teacher spent at least two full months abusing their newborn and keeping her from medical treatment before she finally died, investigators say.
Hailey Rose Bannister died in December, days after she was admitted to the hospital suffering from a heart attack, broken ribs, fractured skull and a bleeding brain.
The death was considered by investigators to be suspicious from the start. Seven months later, Daniel Bannister Jr., a police officer in Ewing, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with his baby's murder. His wife, charter school teacher Catherine Bannister, was charged with second-degree child endangerment.
Prosecutors have not publicly released more details about how exactly Hailey Rose got her injuries. But court documents obtained Friday by New Jersey 101.5 reveal that investigators believe that the baby girl spent at least two months suffering before her death.
According to the text of the criminal complaint and affidavit of probable cause against the father, Bannister Jr. was responsible for causing serious bodily injury and the eventual death of his daughter on various dates between Oct. 4 and Dec. 5 — the date when Hailey Rose's mother finally called 911 to report that the baby was struggling to breathe.
The criminal complaint against the mother says she caused harm to her child by specifically failing to advise medical personnel of injuries and symptoms on multiple occasions and refusing medical testing and procedures on various dates between Oct. 4 and Dec. 5. The baby was born Aug. 28.
"The nature of Hailey’s injuries indicated an ongoing pattern of abuse," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Wednesday.
Both Bannisters on Thursday pleaded not guilty in Superior Court in Trenton. The parents remain locked up at least until a detention hearing on Tuesday. Prosecutors will ask a judge to keep both parents behind bars through trial.
The attorneys for the couple could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The criminal complaints and affidavits do not go into detail about the specific injuries the baby suffered during the two months. More details are expected to be released by prosecutors during upcoming court hearings.
Bannister Jr. had been a police officer since 2017. He was suspended with pay in December. The suspension became unpaid after he was charged with murder.
His wife's online resume says she had been a kindergarten teacher since 2014 at Foundation Academies in Trenton. The Trentonian on Thursday reported that the school declined to renew her contract in May after she went on leave following the death of her daughter.
The couple also have a son.
Hailey Rose died Dec. 11 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
An autopsy in December determined that Hailey Rose died from complications from blunt impact trauma of the head including skull fractures and brain bleeding.
In the 911 call placed by Catherine Bannister, she tells the 911 dispatcher that her baby was struggling to breathe.
"My husband is an officer, so he’s working with her right now, but we need help," she said.
Emergency medical technicians said the baby was suffering a heart attack when they arrived.
As Hailey Rose spent her final days in the hospital, her parents set up a GoFundMe page that said that the baby had suffered a "catastrophic brain injury." The campaign sought funds for medical bills, and then funeral expenses. The page raised $17,618. The company says it will refund the money to donors.
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.