Indictment filed in Ashtabula County rape cold case
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says new technology mixed with old technology helped solve the case.
CONNEAUT, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper and Conneaut Police Chief Michael Colby Thursday announced an indictment in a 16-year-old rape case.
Joshua Dale Gurto, 41, of Conneaut, was indicted Wednesday by an Ashtabula County grand jury in a 2004 sexual assault. Gurto was charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, felonies of the first degree; one count of rape, a felony of the first degree; and one count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree.
“This indictment is exactly why we created the Cold Case Unit — the application of today’s crime-fighting technology on old cases can lead to long-due justice,” Yost said. “BCI’s Cold Case Unit, along with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors, are going to keep the bad guys up at night: your sins will find you out.”
A recent review of the case by the Conneaut Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Cold Case Unit led to the resubmission of evidence from the 2004 sexual assault.
“This case is a great example of how much we can accomplish when we work together,” said Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper. “Victims of cold cases should never give up hope.”
BCI’s Cold Case Unit works alongside local law enforcement to apply the latest forensic technologies and investigative resources to unsolved homicides and sexual assaults. In this case, evidence had been originally located by Chief Colby’s late K9 partner, Nik, but forensic testing in 2004 was inconclusive. Old-fashioned police work, combined with further DNA analysis, was able to match the offender’s DNA profile to Gurto.
Gurto also was previously indicted in the 2017 rape and murder of a 1-year-old victim.
Indictments are criminal allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proved guilty in a court of law.