Mother of Amber Alert child sentenced for drug charges

Published: Saturday, October 25, 2014 @ 6:32 PM
Updated: Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 2:21 PM


            Mom in jail on suspected drug use when Amber Alert issued
Mom in jail on suspected drug use when Amber Alert issued

UPDATE 11:50 a.m. (Nov. 6, 2014) Melissa Banister was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 15 days credit. She is not allowed to have contact with her daughter during this time.

Banister pleaded guilty to child endangering last month. Banister, 35, is accused of using drugs Oct. 23 at a Dairy Queen while she was with her daughter. Employees said Banister was yelling and swearing at her daughter, Chloe, and when police arrived, they said she had fresh track marks on her hands and neck. Three syringes were found in the bathroom.

Shortly after she went to jail, the father, who did not have custody, flew to Dayton to take Chloe. An Amber Alert was issued for her in late October.

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The child is now in the care of family members, and children services will ultimately decide who gets custody.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m. (Oct. 31, 2014)Garland Banister, who triggered an Amber Alert after reportedly taking his 3-year-old daughter without permission, was arraigned in Montgomery County Municipal Court Friday morning. He pleaded not guilty to charges of trespassing into a habitation, a fourth-degree felony. Bond was set at $25,000, and he’s scheduled to return to court on Nov. 6 for a preliminary hearing.

In addition, the child’s mother, Melissa Banister, pleaded guilty to child endangering in Vandalia Municipal Court Thursday. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 6

UPDATE 5:02 p.m. (Oct. 30, 2014) The man who allegedly took his 3-year-old daughter from her grandparents’ house in Huber Heights is now in Montgomery County Jail and has been charged with trespassing into a habitation, a fourth-degree felony. The girl’s mother has been charged with two misdemeanors in Vandalia Municipal Court.

Garland E. Banister, 58, was booked after returning from an Indiana jail. An Amber Alert was triggered Saturday when Garland Banister took his grand-daughter Chloe from a home on Helwig Drive.

Vandalia police allege Melissa Banister, 35, used drugs Oct. 23 at a Dairy Queen while she was with her daughter. Melissa Banister has been charged with child endangerment and disorderly conduct.

Garland Banister was brought to the Montgomery County Jail from Hendricks County Jail in Danville, Ind. His unwelcomed entry into the home of Chloe’s grandparents, Jeff Ensor and Kathy McKinney, led to the trespassing charge.

UPDATE 11:57 a.m. (Oct. 27, 2014)

According to court records in New Mexico, Garland Banister was convicted in 1997 of attempted first degree murder stemming from an incident that happened in June 1996.

Banister was sentenced to five years in prison with two years parole, according to records.

Upon release, Banister was put on probation, which was set to expire in June 2004, according to records.

UPDATE 11 a.m. (Oct. 27, 2014)

According to a police report obtained from the Vandalia police department, Melissa Banister was arrested Thursday after she was found at the Dairy Queen on Fordway Drive under the influence with her three year old daughter, Chloe Banister.

Officers reported that there were strong indicators of drug use when they arrived on scene, including fresh track marks on Banister’s hands and neck, constricted pupils, and disorientation.

The manager of the Dairy Queen also found three syringes in the women’s restroom, according to the report.

Dairy Queen employees told Vandalia police that Banister was yelling and cursing at Chloe while in the restroom.

Banister was charged with disorderly conduct and child endangerment. Police contacted Chloe Banister’s grandparents, who were on vacation in Florida, and arranged for a close family friend to take the child for the night.

Melissa Banister told police she and her daughter had been staying with a heroin addict in the area.

Detectives from Montgomery County Children Services advised Banister that they would be opening a case for child neglect.

UPDATE 10:34 a.m. (Oct. 27, 2014)

Melissa Banister was arrested Oct. 23 for allegedly using heroin in the bathroom at the Dairy Queen on Fordway Drive in Vandalia, according to the police report.

Her daughter Chloe was present and employees told police they could hear Banister yelling at the child, according to the report.

The child’s grandparents were in Florida at the time, so Chloe was placed with friends who stayed at the grandparents’ house in Huber Heights, according to the report.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m. (Oct. 26, 2014)

The parents of an abducted 3-year-old girl who sparked a nationwide AMBER Alert are in jail on child-related crimes.

Garland E. Banister, 58, was arrested Saturday night after police in Brownsburg, Indiana, found him and his daughter, Chloe Grace Banister, said Brownsburg police Capt. Jennifer Barrett.

Melissa S. Banister, 35, was in the Montgomery County Jail when police said Garland Banister took their daughter at 4:30 p.m. Saturday from the Helwig Drive home in Huber Heights where Chloe was staying with her grandparents.

Jeff Ensor said his granddaughter was abducted after Banister unexpectedly flew into town, rented a car and showed up at their house. Banister said he intended to take his daughter back to Texas with him, Ensor said, and became agitated when the Ensors told him he wasn’t allowed to have contact with the child.

Garland Banister did not have custody of his daughter, and there was a protection order in place for Chloe and her mother. Huber Heights police said Banister has a history of attempted murder.

A background check revealed Garland Banister’s past included a first-degree murder charge in 1996 in New Mexico. He is on probation, records show.

When police in Indiana found Banister, he was outside his rented black 2015 Chrysler 200, talking on the phone, reportedly to detectives in Huber Heights, who alerted Brownsburg police to his whereabouts.

“We received information he was in our Brownsburg Walmart parking lot,” said Barrett. “He was outside the car speaking on the phone. … He went peacefully and politely.”

Banister is in the Hendricks (Ind.) County Jail. He was arrested on a warrant for child abduction issued by Huber Heights police, which Barrett said is a full extradition warrant so police can bring him back to Ohio.

The child’s mother, Melissa Banister, has been held on $10,000 bond since Thursday on suspicion of child endangerment and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanor charges filed by Vandalia police. She is due in court Thursday, online jail records show.

Chloe remained in custody Sunday of the Indiana Department of Child Protective Services in Hendricks County. Although she was staying with her grandparents, they only had verbal permission to care for the girl, Barrett said.

The Ensors have been working with authorities to bring the 3-year-old home.

UPDATE @ 9:05 p.m. (Oct. 25, 2014)

An abducted Huber Heights girl was found safe tonight in Brownsburg, Indiana, located west of Indianapolis, a Huber Heights police sergeant said.

Chloe Grace Banister, 3, was the subject of an AMBER Alert after her father, Garland E. Banister, took her around 4:30 p.m. from her Huber Heights home.

UPDATE @ 8 p.m. (Oct. 25, 2014)

The FBI, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have joined in the search for 3-year-old Chloe Banister.

According to Huber Heights police, they last made contact with Chloe’s father, Garland E. Banister, by phone when they were in the Brookville, Ohio, area but are unsure where he is now.

FIRST REPORT (Oct. 25, 2014)

A 3-year-old Huber Heights girl is the subject of an active AMBER Alert.

The girl, Chloe Grace Banister, was taken at 4:30 p.m. Saturday from her Helwig Drive home by her father, Garland E. Banister, according to Huber Heights police.

Chloe is 3 feet tall and weighs 32 pounds and has sandy blonde hair. She was last seen wearing purple pants and purple shirt with characters from the Disney movie “Frozen” on it.

Garland Banister has gray hair and blue eyes; he stands 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 200 pounds.

He was last seen driving a rented black 2015 Chrysler 200 with Ohio license plates FVQ 1786, according to the AMBER Alert release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The 58-year-old man has a protection order in place against him for the child, according to alert information released by police. Also, he reportedly has violent tendencies, including a past criminal history of attempted murder, according to information posted to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.

Huber Heights police have not yet released a photo of the suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to call police.

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