An Ohio man is facing the death penalty after raping his girlfriend's 1-year-old daughter and beating her to death.
Joshua Gurto, 37, allegedly raped and fatally assaulted 13-month-old Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley, the Daily Mail reported. He was dating Seriniti's mother at the time, 22-year-old Kelsie.
Kelsie found her child unresponsive and suffering from cardiac arrest on Oct. 7. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she died from her injuries.
Preliminary autopsy reports indicated that Seriniti passed away from blunt force trauma to her body and head, according to the coroner's office.
Authorities had questioned Gurto the day of Seriniti's death, but did not have sufficient evidence to detain him, WKYC reported. Gurto then went on the run for three weeks.
Gurto was spotted in surveillance footage in a Pittsburgh convenience store later that month. He reportedly hitched a ride with an unidentified man who did not recognize him. The man's vehicle eventually broke down, and they were forced to stop at a local service station.
Police, who identified Gurto in the surveillance footage, were able to find the man who gave Gurto a ride. They asked him where the suspect said he was going. A local police officer later recognized Gurto in a parking lot in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, nearly 120 miles from where Seriniti was found dead.
The officer drew his gun on Gurto, who then admitted who he was. He was taken into custody on Oct. 27 without a struggle, according to reports. Police found a map of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in his backpack, along with a tent. They also found a knife in his belongings, The Independent reported.
Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Larocci said Gurto was transferred to the Ashtabula County Jail on Nov. 9 from Allegheny County. He was secretly indicted by the Ashtabula County's grand jury on eight charges: two counts of aggravated murder, three counts of murder, one count of rape, one count of felonious assault, and one count of domestic violence.
Gurto was also indicted on two separate death penalty specifications by the grand jury, WJW reported. His arraignment will be held "in the near future," according to a press release from the prosecutor's office.
The suspect's girlfriend, Kelsie, is not facing any charges, and neither is the man who gave Gurto a ride. A $5,000 reward was being offered for any information that lead to Gurto's capture and arrest, the New York Daily News reported.
Sources: Daily Mail, WKYC, WJW, The Independent, New York Daily News / Featured Image: Niagara/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Ashtabula County Prosecutor's Office via Daily Mail, Justice For Baby Seriniti via Daily Mail