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Man accused of raping, killing 13-month-old in Conneaut awaiting extradition to Ohio

Posted at 8:59 PM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 20:59:20-04

On Wednesday, the man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend's one-year-old daughter in Conneaut faced a judge in Pennsylvania where he was found by law enforcement.

U.S. Marshals tracked down Joshua Gurto in Pennsylvania after he was on the run for more than two weeks.

Gurto waived his right to an extradition hearing more than two weeks after investigators say he murdered the child. 

At just 13 months old, Serenity Sutley's life was cut too short in an unimaginable crime.

"I made it my duty to be there regardless. Until she was ripped from this cruel world by this evil monster" said Serenity's father, Brandon Sutley.

Brandon Sutley says from the beginning, he became a father figure to Serenity, who bears his last name.

"Yes, I am not her biological father, but being blood does not make you a father," said Sutley.

The girl's mother, Kelsie Blankenship, says it was Serenity's birth that changed her for good.

"My past was not a good one. But when I held my little miss for the first time I had a spiritual awakening," said Blankenship.

The two are still grieving over the events that took place nearly a month ago, when officers were called to Blankenship's Conneaut apartment. Inside, Serenity Sutley was unresponsive, suffering from an attack to her head and body.

"I'm so heartbroken over the whole situation. I'll never get to see my baby girl again," said Blankenship.

Blankenship's then boyfriend fled as police charged him in Serenity's death. He was on the run for more than two weeks before police spotted him in Franklin Park, Pennsylvania.

Blankenship says the heartache won't subside, but there is comfort in knowing a suspect has been locked up.

"I was jumping for joy at 2 o'clock in the morning when I got the phone call...there was a sense of relief that I felt finally. That he wasn't out there that he couldn't harm anyone else," said Blankenship.

Pennsylvania authorities say Gurto is ready to be transported to Ohio. At this time, it is unclear when that will happen.