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5-year-old’s death ruled a homicide; babysitter facing charges

Updated March 25, 2021 - 1:02 pm

The Clark County coroner’s office has ruled the death of a 5-year-old boy a homicide after Las Vegas police said his babysitter hit him earlier this month.

Ryan Peralto’s death was ruled a homicide due to blunt force injuries of the head, chest and abdomen, the coroner’s office said. He died at University Medical Center on March 12, a day after surveillance footage showed his babysitter, 22-year-old Laurren Courtney, kicking and hitting him, according to her arrest report. 

Courtney was arrested March 11 and has been charged with first-degree murder, seven counts of child abuse or neglect, and allowing child abuse or neglect resulting in substantial bodily or mental harm, court records show.

According to Courtney’s arrest report, Courtney called Ryan’s father on March 11 to tell him that Ryan had thrown up blood. Ryan’s father later found surveillance footage from his home’s system that showed Courtney kicking Ryan in the head, the report said.

Doctors at the hospital said the boy had a skull fracture, brain bleed, fractured spleen, and damage to his liver, pancreas and intestines, according to the report.

In an interview with police, Courtney initially denied hitting Ryan but ultimately admitted that she had grown angry that day when Ryan came to her and said he had urinated in his pants.

“(Courtney) stated this is a continual problem and she is tired of having to clean up after him multiple times, week after week,” the report said. “According to (Courtney), when Ryan urinated himself today, that was the final straw that triggered her anger.”

She told police she shoved Ryan out of frustration and that he hit his head on the floor. She said she did not remember how he got to the bathroom because she “may have been ‘mad’ and ‘blacked out,’” citing mental health issues, the report said.

Police told Courtney the videos showed her kicking and hitting the boy, which she denied.

Courtney remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday without bail, court records show. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 18.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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