Man could face death sentence for 'rape and murder' of girlfriend's one-year-old daughter

Joshua Gurto spent three weeks on run after girl found beaten to death at home

Chris Baynes
Saturday 11 November 2017 15:51
Joshua Gurto is charged with raping and murdering a one-year-old girl
Joshua Gurto is charged with raping and murdering a one-year-old girl

An Ohio man has been charged with raping and killing his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter.

Joshua Gurto, 37, could face the death penalty if convicted of beating to death Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley.

The girl was found unconscious by her 22-year-old mother on 7 October in a bedroom at their flat in Conneaut, 70 miles north-east of Cleveland. She was later pronounced dead in hospital.

A coroner said the toddler had died of blunt force trauma to her head and body.

Ashtabula County prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci said Mr Gurto faced charges of murder, aggravated murder, rape, assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic violence.

Mr Gurto was arrested in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania on 27 October after spending three weeks on the run. He had been questioned on the day Sereniti died but police said they did not have enough evidence to detain him at the time.

He subsequently fled, sparking a manhunt.

Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley was found unresponsive by her 22-year-old mother (Justice for Baby Sereniti )

He was spotted in a Pittsburgh convenience store the day before his arrest.

Detectives said he had been camping in woodland as he sought to evade police and was found with a backpack containing maps of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He also had a knife and a tent.

Mr Gurto is being held at Ashtabula County Jail.

Sereniti's mother is not facing any charges.

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