A police officer has been charged with killing his teenage stepson and hiding his body in an attic crawlspace, according to authorities.
On July 6, 2021, Anne Arundel County Police responded to a child custody dispute in the Curtis Bay area of Baltimore, Maryland, according to a press release. Eric Glen Banks Jr., a 34-year-old Baltimore police officer, initially claimed his 15-year-old stepson, Dasan James Edward Jones, left the residence. Dasan’s mother was in the area to pick up the teenager.
After searching the residence, officers found Dasan’s body “secreted in an upstairs attic crawlspace,” authorities said.
Police had found Dasan’s body in a “hole in the wall with a white cover leaning on it,” according to charging documents cited by The Baltimore Sun.
Dasan’s cause of death was asphyxiation, according to The Baltimore Sun. Police noted injuries on Dasan’s neck, face, and mouth. They also claimed to find wet clothing that “smelled of bleach” and had stains with what “police believed to be blood.”
“Apparent bloody clothing was located which had been concealed in a dresser drawer,” police said in the press release.
Police apprehended Banks, who repeatedly asked officers that he be allowed to kiss his children, which he was permitted to do, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Banks then allegedly went for an officer’s gun, pleading with him to take his life.
“Mr. Banks stated multiple times, ‘You’re gonna have to end this,’ as we were wrestling over the firearm,” police wrote in the charging documents.
During the altercation with police, Banks allegedly told officers. “My life is over,” and “choke me, choke me,” according to the press release. Police subsequently arrested Banks for first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, disarming a law officer, resisting/interfering with arrest, and failing to obey a lawful order.
Following the medical examiner’s ruling that Dasan’s manner of death was a homicide, the state added first- and second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse to the charges.
“He admits to officers that he moved his son’s body from one location in the home, and secreted it to another, said Assistant State’s Attorney, Jason Miller, at a bail review hearing, according to The Sun. “He has shown that he is not afraid to resort to violence.”
Banks’ defense attorney is producing an alternate theory that Banks found Dasan dead in a bathtub and believed he’d taken his own life, according to The Sun.
“I understand, circumstantially, this looks bad,” admitted Banks’s lawyer, Warren Brown. “But I’m looking to understand how he was asphyxiated.”
In a petition for a second protective order against Banks, his wife, Dasan’s mother, said she was in fear for her and her sons’ lives.
“I am in fear for my life and well-being because Eric Banks keeps trying to control, follow, and emotionally abuse myself and my sons,” wrote the mother, according to The Baltimore Sun.
She claimed she was staying in a motel and had received messages from Dasan’s phone, asking her to come over.
“I then receive a call from my niece stating that my son messaged her from Instagram [to] say that Eric took his phone the night of the fourth and didn’t know why, and I was receiving texts that weren’t from him.”
The mother filed for the protective order just hours before calling the police to do a welfare check on Dasan.
Her first attempt to attain a protective order in late June was denied by a judge, according to The Sun.
“The alleged actions of Officer Banks are not only deplorable, but shocking to the conscience,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison in a statement, according to The Sun. “Our department will continue to work closely with the Anne Arundel County Police Department during this ongoing investigation.”
Banks is currently in protective custody as a potential suicide risk. He was been suspended from his police duties without pay.