A Ewing police officer was arrested Wednesday morning on a murder charge accusing him of causing the traumatic injuries that killed his 3-month-old daughter in December.
Daniel Bannister, 31, who also lives in Ewing, is accused of killing Hailey Bannister in what Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said in a statement was an “ongoing pattern of abuse.”
He’s been suspended with pay since shortly after his daughter’s suspicious death. He’s been a Ewing police officer since 2017.
Bannister’s wife Catherine Bannister, 29, who is Hailey’s mother, was also arrested Wednesday, and charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
The charges against the couple came after the prosecutor’s office received additional testing following Hailey’s autopsy, performed in December. which Onofri said showed Hailey’s cause of death was from blunt impact trauma to her head, including skull fractures and a subdural hemorrhage.
“The nature of Hailey’s injuries indicated an ongoing pattern of abuse,” Onofri said in the statement. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office, which performed an autopsy in December, ultimately ruled the girls death a homicide.
Mercer County homicide detectives were involved in the death investigation early on due to the the suspicious nature of the girl’s injuries, the office said.
Hailey’s death was first announced in a GoFundMe page created on behalf of her mother, Catherine Bannister.
The fundraising page, created on Dec. 7 and titled Hope for Hailey Rose, said the girl suffered a catastrophic brain injury on Dec. 5 and was being treated in a pediatric intensive care unit and not expected to recover. The fundraising page said Wednesday the campaign was complete, with over $17,000 raised.
The prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that Ewing’s EMS service responded to the home on Dec. 5 for a report of an unresponsive 3-month-old having difficulty breathing.
EMTs found the baby in cardiac arrest and not breathing, and took her to Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell, where medical personnel found Hailey suffered a fractured skull, brain bleed, and had multiple fractured ribs, the office said.
Hailey was transferred Robert Wood Johnson Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, where she died on Dec. 11.
Daniel Bannister graduated from the Mercer County Police Academy in September 2017 and was making about $45,000 annually when he was suspended.
County homicide detectives arrested Daniel Bannister early Wednesday at the Wawa on Silvia Street, in Ewing. The prosecutor’s office said they will seek to detain both Bannisters pending the outcome of the criminal cases against them.