JEFFERSON, Ohio — The mother of a 13-month-old child who died in 2017 in Conneaut has pleaded guilty to charges relating to her daughter’s death.
Kelsie Marie Blankenship, of Conneaut, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and child endangerment, a third-degree felony, as part of a stipulated plea and sentencing agreement, according to the Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office.
“The death of this child was a tragedy for not only the family, but for the community as a whole,” said Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole. “My sadness and condolences goes out to all those affected by this tragic death. The conviction and sentencing of Ms. Blankenship provides a step toward the finality and closure needed for the family.”
Blankenship was sentenced to 6 years in prison as part of a plea agreement following the death of Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Sutley, according to authorities.
On the morning of Oct. 7, 2017, authorities responded to an apartment in the 500 block of Clark Street, Conneaut, for a report of an unresponsive child.
The child was rushed to a nearby hospital but pronounced dead shortly after. A preliminary autopsy showed the child suffered blunt force trauma to the head and body, according to authorities.
The mother's boyfriend, Joshua Gurto, was arrested in connection with the rape and death of the child.
Gurto initially fled from Conneaut, but he was later found in Pennsylvania by the U.S. Marshals Service and taken into custody. He is still awaiting trial.
“The plea and sentence in this matter accurately reflects the evidence which would be produced at trial against Ms. Blankenship as well as the understanding and consent of law enforcement and the family," said O’Toole. "To some, this stipulated plea agreement for a six-year sentence may seem too little for the loss of the life of a child. This Agreement accurately describes Ms. Blankenship’s role in this death as proven by the evidence, but also allows Ms. Blankenship to admit and accept her accountability and allows the family and victims to heal and move forward. Finality is necessary for the family and the victims in this matter and society. Nothing we can do will bring this beautiful, innocent child back to us."
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