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Mother charged with the murder of her 13-month-old child pleads not guilty, held on $250,000 bond

Mom charged with 13MO's death pleads not guilty
Posted at 1:08 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2021-03-05 12:17:11-05

The mother of a 13-month-old child who died last year pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including murder, in an Ashtabula County court on Tuesday.

Kelsie Blankenship, of Conneaut, was arrested on Oct. 19 and charged with murder, felonious assault, endangering children and domestic violence.

RELATED: Conneaut mother charged in connection with death of 13-month-old daughter

Authorities were called to an apartment in the 500 block of Clark Street, Conneaut,  on Oct. 7, 2017, at around 5:16 a.m. for a report of an unresponsive child. 

According to the Ashtabula County Coroner's Office, the 13-month-old child — Sereniti Sutley — 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, 38, was previously 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 arrested.

​​​RELATED: Murder and rape charges filed in connection to the death of a 1-year-old in Conneaut

Gurto was charged with aggravated murder, murder, rape, felonious assault and domestic violence. 

The death penalty was initially sought for Gurto, but the prosecutor's office said last week a motion to dismiss the death penalty was filed.

Gurto's trial is scheduled for April 2, 2019. Blankenship's court date has not been set.