A suspended New Jersey police officer is accused of murdering his own 3-month-old daughter back in December.
Daniel Bannister, 31 was arrested Wednesday, July 17, at a WaWa convenience store in Mercer County, the Courier-Post in South Jersey reports.
He joins his wife, 29-year-old Catherine Bannister, who was also charged Wednesday but to a lesser charge: endangering the welfare of a child.
Public Information Officer Casey A. DeBlasio for the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office told Oxygen.com both Daniel and Catherine each made their initial court appearance via video conference Thursday afternoon and that both entered pleas of not guilty.
The couple’s 3-month-old daughter, Hailey, died in December a little less than a week after 911 was called to their home for an unresponsive baby.
“She’s breathing extremely funny. She’s barely breathing,” Catherine told the 911 dispatcher, according to NJ.com. “She was just diagnosed with reflux, but right now she’s almost barely conscious.”
In the dramatic call, she said that baby Hailey was taking “very, very shallow, big gasps.”
“My husband is an officer so he’s working with her, but we need help,” she told the dispatcher.
When emergency responders arrived, they noted she had a fractured skull, brain bleed, and broken ribs. She wasn’t breathing and was in cardiac arrest. Prosecutors claim those injuries “indicated an ongoing pattern of abuse,” according to a press release from the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, obtained by Oxygen.com. The death has been ruled a homicide, and that she died from "complications from blunt impact trauma of the head including skull fractures and subdural hemorrhage."
Daniel was hired as a Ewing Township officer in May 2017 but has been suspended since December, the Associated Press reports.
It’s not clear if either Daniel or Catherine have attorneys.
A month after the death of her daughter, but months before her arrest, Catherine reportedly posted on Facebook that she wanted to raise money for the March of Dimes, which focuses on babies’ health, NJ.com reports.
She wanted to start a foundation and name it after her dead daughter, calling it “Hailey’s Hope.”
Detention motions will be heard for both her mom and dad on July 23.
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