ShareThis Page

Fugitive arrested in Franklin Park indicted for toddler's rape, murder

Megan Guza
| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 2:03 p.m.
Allegheny County

An Ohio man who hid in Western Pennsylvania woods for weeks to avoid arrest for the alleged rape and murder of his girlfriend's 13-month-old daughter last month has been indicted in his home state.

Authorities transported Joshua Gurto, 37, back to Ohio's Ashtabula County on Thursday morning, about a week and a half after he was arrested in Franklin Park . He'd been on the run for three weeks before that, sparking a massive manhunt.

Ashtabula County Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Iarocci said in a news release that a grand jury Tuesday indicted Gurto on eight charges: three counts of murder, two counts of aggravated murder and one count each of rape, felonious assault and domestic violence.

Iarocci said he will seek the death penalty.

Gurto is accused raping and murdering Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley on Oct. 7 in Conneaut, Ohio, a small town in the northeastern corner of the state.

About a week after the toddler's violent death, Gurto was spotted at a gas station about 15 miles away in Girard, Pa. Surveillance footage showed him riding in a pickup. Police tracked down the truck's owner, who said he picked up a hitchhiking Gurto and drove him about 100 miles to Zelienople.

He was spotted again at a Sheetz in Ohio Township. He was arrested Oct. 27 when a Franklin Park patrolman came upon him carrying a backpack while walking along the borough's Nicholson Road.

A date for Gurto's arraignment has not been set.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me