Police Capture Suspect In Rape And Murder Of 13-Month-Old Girl

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A manhunt in the Pittsburgh area for the man suspected of raping and murdering a 13-month-old Ohio girl ended early Friday morning.

Joshua Gurto, 37, was captured in the Franklin Park area around 1:30 a.m.

According to police, a Franklin Park officer was patrolling the area of Nicholson Road when he observed a white male wearing camouflage and carrying a backpack, matching the description of Gurto.

“The officer had an idea who he was based on the description, he had a backpack yesterday,” Franklin Park Police Chief Walter Healy said.

KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports —

The officer followed as the man approached the Sheetz on Nicholson Road, near Wexford Bayne Road. The officer exited his vehicle, drew his pistol and ordered the man to the ground.

“A suspect like that, who, in his mind, might think that there’s everything to lose by being caught by the police, they’re very dangerous. You don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Chief Healy.

The officer said Gurto confirmed his identity when he was asked for his name.

When Gurto was spotted walking, police say he did not resist. Instead, he simply said, “I am done running.”

Gurto was taken to the Franklin Park Police Department, and later transported to the Allegheny County Jail.

Authorities from Ohio and in Franklin Park are praising the arresting officer for his great police work in taking Gurto off the street.

“Very proud of him, very proud. He did exactly what he was trained to do, what he was supposed to do,” Chief Healy said. “He’s a credit to the police department, and I really appreciate it.”

Conneaut Police announced Gurto’s arrest on their Facebook page early Friday morning, and said details would be forthcoming.

KDKA-TV learned Thursday that state police were searching for Gurto in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

“One thing that led us to this area was about Oct. 13, there was an individual that had a gray pickup truck that picked up Gurto hitchhiking. We were able to identify that vehicle and tie it to an individual in the Buffalo, New York, area. Marshals interviewed that individual and he said he picked him up and dropped him 20 miles north of the location of Sewickley, Pennsylvania,” U.S. Marshall Pete Elliott said.

He was spotted at a Sheetz on Mt. Nebo Road in Ohio Township around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He was later seen walking north on Red Mud Hollow Road, which runs parallel to Interstate 79.

joshua gurto sheetz at mt nebo road Police Capture Suspect In Rape And Murder Of 13 Month Old Girl

(Photo Credit: Pennsylvania State Police)

Police were searching the woods along I-79 Thursday, where neighbors believe Gurto had been camping out.

Investigators discussed what they found in Gurto’s backpack.

“In that backpack, he had maps for the state of Pennsylvania and for the state of New Jersey. He had a knife and he had a tent,” Elliott said.

Gurto was wanted in the aggravated murder and rape of 13-month-old Serreniti JazzLynn-Sky Sutley.

Police say they responded Oct. 7 to call about an unresponsive child at an apartment complex in Conneaut, roughly 70 miles northeast of Cleveland. They say the girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The Ashtabula County Coroner says the child had blunt-force injuries to her head and body.

Marshals say Gurto was spotted in the Erie area a week after the murder.

The U.S. Marshal’s office released an image taken Oct. 13 by a surveillance camera inside a Girard, Pennsylvania, store.

gurtosurveillancephoto Police Capture Suspect In Rape And Murder Of 13 Month Old Girl

Photo Credit: U.S. Marshals

Gurto will be extradited back to Ohio to face charges in the next few days. Until then, he is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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