A Ewing Township police officer was arrested this morning and charged with the murder of Hailey, his three-month-old daughter, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri has announced.
Daniel Bannister, 31, was taken into custody this morning at the Wawa on Silvia Street by detectives with the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. He has been suspended from the township police department since December 2018. Bannister was hired in May 2017.
Catherine Bannister, 29, Hailey’s mother and Daniel’s wife, was also charged today with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with Hailey’s death. The prosecutor’s office will be filing motions to detain both pending trial.
According to a media release distributed by the prosecutor’s office, Ewing Township Emergency Medical Services responded to the Bannister’s Ewing home on Dec. 5, 2018 on a 911 call for an unresponsive three-month-old baby having difficulty breathing. Emergency medical technicians assessed the baby, who was not breathing and in cardiac arrest.
The baby, later identified as Hailey Bannister, was transported to Capital Health Medical Center Hopewell, where medical personnel determined Hailey suffered a fractured skull, brain bleed, and had multiple fractured ribs. She was listed in critical condition and transferred from Capital Health to Robert Wood Johnson Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick.
Due to the nature of the child’s injuries, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and Homicide Task Force were contacted and advised of her status. Detectives responded to Robert Wood Johnson Children’s Hospital and began their investigation on Dec. 5. After several days of hospitalization, Hailey died on Dec. 11, 2018.
An autopsy was conducted in December 2018 by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office and following additional testing, analysis of medical documentation, and forensic review, Hailey’s death was ruled a homicide. It was concluded that Hailey’s cause of death was complications from blunt impact trauma of the head including skull fractures and subdural hemorrhage.
The nature of Hailey’s injuries indicated an ongoing pattern of abuse, the prosecutor’s office says.