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Suspected rapist / killer of 13-month-old Conneaut baby girl caught


Joshua Dale Gurto arrested in Pennsylvania

Story courtesy of Star Beacon

CONNEAUT_Conneaut police confirmed early Friday morning Joshua D. Gurto has been captured in Pennsylvania, after a weeks-long manhunt.

No other details were available Friday morning. Authorities will be releasing a statement later Friday, police said.

The most recent surveillance images of a man who looked like Gurto, 37, were taken Wednesday afternoon in Ohio Township, Pennsylvania, according to news reports. An active search in that area continued Thursday afternoon into the evening. Police did not say when the arrest was made.

Gurto is accused of raping and murdering 13-month-old Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley, who died as a result of blunt force trauma on the morning of Oct. 6 at a Clark Street apartment. Gurto is the boyfriend of the child’s 22-year-old mother, but is not the father of the victim, police have said.

One week later, local authorities charged Gurto with aggravated murder and rape of the child. He had fled the area, prompting a massive manhunt spearheaded by the U.S. Marshal’s service.

Since the search began, law enforcement received hundreds of tips from the public, officers say. Last week, surveillance video put Gurto at a convenience store in Girard, Pennsylvania, less than 20 miles from Conneaut.

Gurto’s name appears many times in Conneaut Municipal Court records, with the bulk of the offenses — including sexual imposition, assault, disorderly conduct and criminal damaging — occurring more than 10 years ago. The most recent case, unauthorized use of property, occurred last year, according to court records.

Gurto is a graduate of Conneaut High School who has worked at a local industry, Colby said.

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