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.
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.
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.