Conneaut toddler reportedly raped then murdered; manhunt under way to find suspect

CONNEAUT, OH (WOIO) - An arrest warrant has been issued for a man allegedly involved in the October death of a 12-month-old toddler in Conneaut.

Police said 37-year-old Joshua Dale Gurto is wanted in the death of 1-year-old Sereniti JazzLynn-Sky Sutley. Police have labeled him as a homicide-rape suspect.

Conneaut Police and EMS were called to her home in the 500 block of Clark Street on Oct. 7, after Sereniti went into cardiac arrest.

The child was rushed to UH Medical Center Conneaut where she was pronounced dead several hours later.

The coroner says she died of blunt trauma to the head.

"She was such a happy baby, she always smiled. She just learned how to walk. She would come outside waving. She had these bright blue eyes," said neighbor Erica Smith.

Police say Sereniti, her mom, and the mother's boyfriend, Joshua Gurto were the only ones home at the time. 

"He was very cooperative in the initial. We had no charges against him, and released him," said Conneaut Detective Michael Sullivan.

Sullivan won't give details, but says they have learned enough to issue an arrest warrant for Gurto, but they cannot find him now.

"I would consider him dangerous, with charges of aggravated murder and rape, yes, I would consider him dangerous," Sullivan said.

Along with Conneaut Police, the BCI and U.S. Marshals are searching for Gurto.

Neighbors are hoping he'll do the right thing.

"I would hope he wouldn't come back here. I hope he's smart enough to turn himself in. Sereniti and Kelsie at least deserve that," Smith said.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to immediately contact their local Law Enforcement Agency or the Conneaut Police at 440-593-7440. Anonymous tips can be called into the Conneaut Police TIPLINE at 440-593-7423.

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