Devastating Details Released About Ohio Man Arrested For Rape And Murder Of Girlfriend's 13-Month-Old Daughter

Joshua Gurto evaded police for nearly three weeks.

Joshua Gurto arrest girlfriend daughter Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley

Police finally captured and arrested Joshua Gurto, the 37-year-old Ohio man who they say raped and murdered 13-month-old Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley. 

Gutro evaded arrest for three weeks until he was spotted on Oct. 13 buying groceries at a convenience store in Pennsylvania and again on Oct. 26. Police swarmed him around 1 a.m. on Oct. 27 at a park in Pittsburgh. When he was captured, he was wearing camouflage clothing and had a backpack with a knife and maps of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 


According to authorities, he had camped in the woods and hitchhiked while on the run. Once arrested, he was officially charged with aggravated murder and rape of Sereniti

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Around 5 a.m. on Oct. 7, police responded to a call about an unresponsive child at an apartment. It was there they found Sereniti with blunt-force injuries to her head and body. She died later at the hospital. 

Police later learned that Gurto dated Sereniti's mother, Kelsie Blankenship, for three months and he had been living with the mom and her daughter at the time of the daughter's death. 


“I've been bawling my eyes out all day," she said. “She was a precious girl. She brought me a reason to live.”

According to news reports, Blankenship was holding Sereniti and screaming "help my baby," when police arrived. 

Blankenship's cousin said no one in their family expected that Gurto could do such a thing. 

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“I went to high school with him,” Bobbie Lee said. “This could have happened to anyone…your own niece, sister or granddaughter…he had always been so good with Sereniti. We do not know what came over him.”


Lee said the night of the murder, Blankenship put Sereniti to sleep, took her own medication for depression and then went to bed herself. She woke up to noises and then found her daughter unresponsive and called 911. 

He also said his cousin is not a suspect, despite people calling her and threatening her. Blankenship previously suffered from addiction. “Sereniti was the road to Kelsie’s recovery," he said. "Her daughter was her world and she is suffering an unimaginable loss right now.”


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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).