Joshua D. Gurto faces rape and murder charges after death of 13-month-old Conneaut girl.
William A. West
CONNEAUT_A nationwide manhunt for a Conneaut man suspected of raping and murdering a 13-month-old girl in early October came to a close early Friday morning outside a Sheetz store in Franklin Park, Pa.
Joshua Gurto, 37, was arrested without incident after being recognized by a Franklin Park Police officer authorities said during a press conference Friday morning at Conneaut City Hall. Gurto had been the subject of an concentrated search for more than two weeks.
Gurto was taken to the Allegheny County jail in Pennsylvania where he will stay until his extradition to Ashtabula County sometime next week, Peter Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, said.
An Franklin Park Borough Police Department officer was parked at a Sheetz store about 2 a.m.when he recognized Gurto from the multiple images of Gurto posted on social media. The officer approached Gurto and asked him his name; the man admitted that he was Joshua Gurto. Gurto was ordered to lay down, he was secured and taken into custody, Elliott said.
Gurto was carrying a backpack that contained road maps of Pennsylvania and New York, a tent and knife, Elliott said. It is thought that Gurto hitchhiked across the region and slept in woods.
Gurto has been charged with the rape and murder of Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley at a Clark Street apartment early Saturday, Oct. 7. The Ashtabula County coroner’s office said the child died from blunt trauma to her head and trunk.
The child was the daughter of Kelsie Blankenship, Gurto’s girlfriend, authorities said. Gurto is not the father of the girl Blankenship said.
Please click on image below to watch the news conference.