South Heidelberg Police Investigate Murder-suicide in Wernersville

WERNERSVILLE, PA – On May 3rd, 2021, at 6:50 P.M., South Heidelberg Township Police (SHPD) Officers were dispatched to Reading Hospital to speak with domestic assault victim Katrina Henderson, a 45-year-old female from Pine Grove, PA, who was being treated for injuries that occurred earlier that date. As a result of that interview and investigation, Officers obtained an arrest warrant for Christopher Baumener, 44-years-old from 310 N. Walnut Street, Wernersville, PA. Baumener was taken into custody that evening for Simple Assault, Indecent Assault, Harassment, Terroristic Threats, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. At the time of arrest, Baumener was found to have a loaded .45 caliber handgun in his waistband. Baumener was transported to Reading Central Arraignment Court by SHPD Officers, and his custody was transferred to the Berks County Sheriff’s office. (SHPD incident # 45-21-01498)

On June 2nd, 2021, at 12:29 P.M. Officers were dispatched to 310 N. Walnut Street, Wernersville, for a 911-hang-up call from that residence. The caller gave his name, Christopher Baumener, and his address, then hung up the phone without providing any information as to the nature of the emergency, or why he called. Repeated call backs by Berks County Department of Emergency Services Dispatchers went right to voice mail. Several SHPD Officers responded to the residence due to the May 3rd arrest but were unable to make contact with anyone inside the residence and found all exterior doors and windows locked. After being on scene for approximately 30 minutes, with no further contact from the residence, and no evident signs of an emergency, Officers went available. (SHPD incident # 45-21-01892)

On June 2nd, 2021, at 8:42 P.M., SHPD Officers were dispatched back to 310 N. Walnut Street, Wernersville, at the request of Henderson’s Adolescent Daughter who reported that she had not seen her mother since 8:00 A.M., and that repeated texts and calls had gone unanswered. Upon arrival, Officers made multiple attempts to contact anyone inside, without success, and again found all doors and windows secured. Due to the earlier 911 call, and the concern by Henderson’s Daughter, the Police Department requested assistance from the Western Berks Fire Department with their drone capability. The drone was deployed with the intent to observe anything suspicious through the upper floor windows without success. A request was made, with the approval of the Berks County District Attorney’s office, to ping Henderson’s cell phone. That request was sent via cell phone provider Metro PCS (SHPD Incident # 45-21-01901)

On June 3rd, 2021, at approximately 9:45 A.M., SHPD received confirmation from Metro PCS that Henderson’s cell phone was “pinged” at 310 N. Walnut Street. After consultation with Berks County District Attorney John Adams, a search warrant was issued for unlawful restraint and False imprisonment. At 5:30, SHPD Officers, with the assistance from Lower Heidelberg Township Police Officers, and Troopers from the Reading Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police made entry into the home and found both Henderson and Baumener deceased. The Berks County Coroner ruled the cause of death to Henderson to be blunt force trauma to the head, and the cause of death to Baumener was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. There were no other persons in the home, and the investigation is ongoing as to the time of death.

The South Heidelberg Township Police Department wants to reassure the public, that despite this tragedy, there is absolutely no threat to the community. The SHPD would like to thank DA John Adams, The Lower Heidelberg Township Police Department, The Pennsylvania State Police, The State Police Special Emergency Response Team, Western Berks Fire Department Captain Lupco, and Western Berks Ambulance for their assistance during this investigation.

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