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Mother charged Friday with murdering 13-month-old daughter in 2017


Kelsie Marie Blankenship to be arraigned in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court in near future.

An Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci press release.

JEFFERSON_On October 17, 2018, the Ashtabula County Grand Jury secretly and directly indicted Kelsie Marie Blankenship on the following seven charges relating to the Oct. 7, 2017 death of her 13-month-old daughter Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Sutley which occurred in Conneaut:

1.  Two counts of Murder, an unclassified felony

2. One count of Felonious Assault, a second degree felony

3. Two counts of Endangering Children, a second degree felony

4. One count of Endangering Children, a third degree felony

5. One count of Domestic Violence, a first degree misdemeanor

Ms. Blankenship was arrested this morning by the Conneaut Police Department and is currently incarcerated in the Ashtabula County Jail. Ms. Blankenship will be arraigned before Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Thomas E. Harris in the near future, and my office will issue a notification as soon as a date and time is scheduled.

Charges of Aggravated Murder, Murder, Rape, Felonious Assault, and Domestic Violence remain pending against Joshua D. Gurto, Ms. Blankenship’s live-in boyfriend at the time of the child’s death and who led law enforcement on a three-week nationwide manhunt after the child’s death. However, my office has filed with the court today a motion to dismiss the death penalty specifications associated with the Aggravated Murder charges against Gurto as a result of the indictment of Blankenship.

The investigation relating to the tragic murder of Sereniti has been continuing since Gurto’s indictment on Nov. 7, 2017, and will continue even beyond today’s date.

Our ultimate goal with the indictments against both Blankenship and Gurto is to obtain justice for Sereniti, and nothing else. This poor child was brutally beaten and raped, and my office and law enforcement is doing and will continue to everything in our power to secure justice for a child whose spirit lives on in each of us handling this case.




Please click on the links to read previously published stories about this tragedy.

   An interview with Sereniti’s mother Kelsie Marie Blankenship and Brandon Sutley

Conneaut Police news conference

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