WEST COLUMBIA, SC — A West Columbia man is accused of strangling his girlfriend and leaving her body with their 4-year-old child.
David Richard Walker Jr. was arrested Monday in Colleton County by West Columbia police and is charged with murder, said Maj. Matt Edwards said Tuesday.
West Columbia police say the 30-year-old killed his 26-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Carrie Banty, on Dec. 10 at their home on Alexandria Street and left her body in the home with their 4-year-old daughter for about 24 hours.
Police had been called to the home the day before the killing for an alleged domestic argument, Edwards said, but added no crime was committed and Banty didn’t make any statements to make officers think that her life might be in danger.
Police found Banty’s body Dec. 11, after receiving a call from a neighbor who had picked up the 4-year-old girl as she was walking down the road crying, according to an incident report.
The girl told the neighbor she was going to her grandmother’s house, also on Alexandria Street, the report said. She also told the neighbor that her mother was inside asleep, and the neighbor drove the child back home.
The neighbor found Banty’s bruised body face-down on the bedroom floor and called police.
The woman’s death wasn’t ruled a homicide until the autopsy report that showed Banty was strangled came out on Monday, Edwards said.
Police say another neighbor had seen Walker leaving the house around the time Banty died, but he did not surface again until Dec. 17, when an Aiken County Sheriff’s deputy stopped him for acting suspicious.
While talking with the officer, Walker said he was wanted for murder. Walker spent the time after the killing with his family in Colleton County, Edwards said.
The child is now with one of Banty’s family members, Edwards said.
Walker is being held at Lexington County Detention Center, pending a bond hearing before a Lexington County circuit court judge.
Monday’s arrest is the latest in a string of deadly domestic violence incidents in the Midlands in just over a week.
Also Monday, 23-year-old Tristan Gist was charged with murder and death or injury of a child in utero due to the commission of a violent crime in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend, 22-year-old Dierra Fisher. He is then accused of taking Fisher’s two children along while he dumped her body in the woods near Fort Jackson and set it on fire, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Gist is a former Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center guard.
On Feb. 25, Percy Williams, 31, was charged with murder after his 35-year-old girlfriend, Tabatha Priester, was shot and killed in a Northeast Richland home, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department reported.
And on Feb. 26, 28-year-old Adam Jurgen died in a hail of gunfire after he got into a shootout with Richland County Sheriff’s deputies searching for him, after he allegedly beat his girlfriend.