Arrest Warrant Issued in Murder, Rape of One-Year-Old Girl in Co - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Arrest Warrant Issued in Murder, Rape of One-Year-Old Girl in Conneaut, Ohio

Posted: Updated:
Joshua D. Gurto Joshua D. Gurto

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who police say murdered and raped a one-year-old baby in Conneaut, Ohio. 

A week after 13-month-old Sereniti Jasslynn-Sky was found unresponsive, police are still searching for Joshua Dale Gurto, 37. He is the boyfriend of Kelsie Blankenship, 22 - the mother of the 13-month-old.

Both Gurto and Blankenship were questioned by investigators, according to Conneaut Police. After Gurto was interviewed, he was taken to an address across the state line in Pennsylvania. He has since fled that location. Conneaut Police Detective Michael Sullivan said it is possible Gurto may be in Pennsylvania, and he contacted Pennsylvania State Police in Girard.

The autopsy determined the preliminary cause of death for Sutley is blunt force trauma to the head and trunk, according to the Ashtabula County Coroner's Office Thursday.

The infant was found unresponsive by her mom Saturday morning in their apartment at 530 Clark Street in Conneaut, Ohio.

Neighbors said the mother banged on doors and was screaming for someone to call 911 and help her baby around 5:15 a.m.

Emergency crews rushed the girl to Conneaut Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.

"This is a horrible, despicable and devastating crime, affecting everyone who has come into contact with it, including EMT personnel, Conneaut police officers, and UH doctors, nurses and other medical personnel," the Conneaut Law Director's Office said in a statement Friday.

"From the beginning, special agents and forensic experts from BCI have assisted the Conneaut PD investigators," the statement said. "BCI has placed this case as a priority. We are very grateful for their expertise and their efforts. Conneaut Police investigators have also made this case a priority, working for the last 6 days without time off, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. They too deserve the respect and admiration of the community for their efforts and tenacity."

Conneaut Police tell us a vigil will be held for Sereniti Saturday, October 14th 3 p.m., at the Conneaut Township Park near the upper bluffs.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Gurto is asked to call their local police or Conneaut Police at 440-593-7440. Anonymous tips can be called in to the Conneaut Police TIPLINE at 440-593-7423.

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