Police in Las Vegas say shocking footage shows a babysitter beating and killing a young child in her care. Laurren J. Courtney told the parents of 5-year-old Ryan James Peralto that the boy had become suddenly ill. However, home surveillance footage revealed the brutal truth of the boy’s tragic death.
WARNING: This story is graphic and the details may disturb some readers.
Courtney had been babysitting for the Peralto family regularly for several months, looking after Ryan as well as his 7-year-old sister. However, father Kaiea Peralto had placed security cameras throughout the house after his daughter told him Courtney had been hurting Ryan.
The father was at work on March 11 when he checked the cameras on his phone to find his son lying motionless on the couch. Nearby, he said he could see Courtney “cleaning fluids off the floor.”
Kaiea called his wife to see if Courtney had contacted her, only to receive a call from the babysitter shortly after. She told him that Ryan was sick and vomiting up blood.
The father rushed home immediately to find his wife along with Courtney, who left as he arrived. The parents then called 911, and first responders took Ryan to UMC Trauma the next day.
Courtney initially told police she thought Ryan had been sick from something he ate. However, the Clark County Coroner ruled his cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head, chest and abdomen. The boy reportedly had a skull fracture, brain bleeding and damage to his liver, spleen and pancreas.
Cameras Caught the Horrific Assault
Police later reviewed surveillance footage taken from the cameras hidden in the Peraltos’ home. While they did not release the video, they did provide what they called “a horrendous account of what visually took place with [the boy] on how he was severely beaten during a two-minute time frame.”
According to the police account, the video shows Courtney, apparently enraged at Ryan for wetting himself, dragging him motionless into the bathroom by his left arm. “I know you are faking it,” she reportedly says.
“She squats down to him and kicks his head and his head moves away from his body,” the police summary said. “Ryan has no reaction to this and does not even raise his hands and his body is limp.”
The sitter reportedly goes on to beat and berate the boy for two minutes in the footage, at one point letting his head fall to the floor. By the end of the footage, said police, he could be heard crying and moaning in pain.
Courtney, who describes herself as a self-employed “entertainer” who babysits on the side, initially denied any abusive behavior, even after watching the surveillance footage. After suggesting that Ryan’s father had hit him or that he had fallen in the shower, she eventually admitted that she shoved him, dragged him across the floor and “popped” him in the mouth.
“She said she may have been ‘mad’ and ‘blacked out’ because she has no recollection of stepping on Ryan,” an arrest report said. “[Courtney] then stated she has ‘mental issues’ or ‘mental health issues.'”
Courtney also said she knew about the cameras hidden in the house, telling police, “I know, he has three.”
The woman now faces one charge of first degree murder and eight counts related to child abuse. She is scheduled to appear in court on May 18.
Meanwhile, friends of the Peralto family have started a GoFundMe campaign to help with funeral and medical expenses. The campaign has since raised over $25,000 out of a goal of $50,000.
“Ryan will always be remembered as a shining light to all who knew him” a statement on the campaign page read. “His bright smile and contagious energy brightened up any room he entered. He was a wonderful, silly, and joyful little boy, who touched the lives of many with his energetic personality.”
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