Man sought by police for rape and murder of 13-month-old girl

A reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of a man wanted for the rape and murder of a 13-month-old girl.

Police officers were called to a home in Conneaut, Ohio, on the morning of Oct. 7 over reports of a 1-year-old girl found unresponsive by her mother, according to WJW

The baby, later identified as Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley, couldn't be revived by emergency responders and was rushed to Conneaut Brown Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Sereniti died from blunt force trauma to her head and trunk, the Ashtabula County Coroner's Office said.

Photo: WJW

After questioning the toddler's 22-year-old mother, Kelsie Blankenship, and the mother's boyfriend, 37-year-old Joshua Gurto, the Conneaut Law Director's Office filed charges and obtained an arrest warrant for Gurto in the murder and rape of Sereniti, according to WJW.

Gurto is a 5-foot-10, 145-pound male with a deformed right ear, misaligned jaw and tattoos on his right forearm, according to the outlet. He has not been seen since he first spoke to officers on the day of Sereniti's death.


Photo: Conneaut Police Department

"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,” investigators wrote in a statement released by the Law Director’s Office on Friday afternoon.

Anyone with information on Gurto's whereabouts is asked to call the Conneaut Police Department at 440-593-7440. The tip line accepts anonymous calls at 440-593-7423.

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