Killer babysitter Lauren Courtney sentenced to prison

Lauren J Courtney on LVMPD

A Nevada woman and former Las Vegas babysitter has just been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years for the 2021 beating and murder of a 5-year-old in her care.

Lauren Jeannette Courtney (whose first name was occasionally rendered “Laurren” with two Rs in numerous early press reports), 23, reached a settlement with Clark County prosecutors in early October this year for the death of Ryan James Peralto.

The victim was “a loving, gentle and adorable little boy who[se] Our lives were taken from us way too soon,” according to a GoFundMe side organized by relatives. Ryan Peralto “knew every Pokemon” and loved going fishing with his dad. He would also be “so happy when he could feed the little koi fish at dad and mom’s house.”

Police reports, based on surveillance footage from the boy’s home, showed the defendant kicking Peralto in the face, slapping him in the face and punching him in the chest. Such beatings occurred repeatedly and from room to room. At one point in the footage, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers wrote: Courtney “takes off Ryan’s underwear and drags him into the shower.”

The victim eventually suffered bleeding in this brain, a fractured skull, a ruptured spleen, and damaged his liver, intestines, and pancreas. Earlier that day he was coughing up blood, which Courtney reported to the child’s father. Kaiea Peralto – after checking the app on his monitor-linked phone around 11:40am and seeing the babysitter wiping up liquids while his son lay motionless on the floor

The elder Peralto returned home just after midday on the day in question to find his son unresponsive – with visible bruises to his head. After being taken to University Medical Center by his father, the younger Peralto succumbed to his injuries the next day.

The boy’s father also examined the surveillance tapes and discovered the worst; Call the police on the way to the hospital.

Police later wrote that the grisly footage could be summed up as a “horrifying account of what happened to Ryan visually, as he was severely beaten within two minutes.”

The three tape recorders at the Peralto home were set up by the father after his 7-year-old daughter told him Courtney had hurt her brother. Courtney later told police she knew about the cameras and didn’t care what they were recording like she had nothing to hide.

In fact, after initially being confronted with what the videos showed, Courtney denied any responsibility for Ryan Peralto’s murder. She even suggested that the boy’s father may have been abusive, police wrote in their arrest report. Her story would shift even further.

She once claimed she heard a loud bang while Ryan Peralto was in the shower and blamed that fall for his injury. At another point, she admitted hitting the boy. She later said that she “passed out” probably because of mental health issues and couldn’t remember everything.

Eventually, however, the defendant chose to say that she was angry because the boy wet his pants and didn’t want to listen to her.

“(Courtney) said this was a constant problem and she was tired of having to clean up after him several times a week,” a police report says. “According to (Courtney), that was the last straw that sparked her anger when Ryan urinated today.”

In an often-cited clip from this footage, Courtney tells the unconscious boy, “I know you’re faking it.”

Courtney FaceTimed her boyfriend after work that day and then stopped at a McDonald’s to get some food on the way home, according to Las Vegas, Nevada Fox subsidiary KVVU. Her boyfriend reportedly said she was acting “normal” when she returned.

Then the police came to arrest her.

She was originally charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of child abuse or neglect causing significant physical or mental harm, four counts of child abuse or neglect, and one count of child endangerment. She was scheduled to begin her murder trial on Oct. 17, 2022 before changing her plea to guilty.

As Law&Crime previously reported, the additional charges against the defendant were dismissed as part of her pleading.

Jerry Lambe and Aaron Keller contributed to this report.

[image via LVMPD]

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