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Nevada Babysitter Gets Life in Prison for Fatally Beating a 5-Year-Old on Camera and Telling the Boy ‘I Know You Are Faking It’


Lauren J. Courtney via LVMPD

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

Lauren Jeanette Courtney (whose first name was occasionally rendered “Laurren” with two R’s in numerous initial press reports), 23, reached a plea agreement with Clark County prosecutors in early October of this year for the death of Ryan James Peralto.

The victim was “a loving, gentle, and adorable little boy who[se] life was taken away from us much too soon,” according to a GoFundMe page organized by relatives. Ryan Peralto “knew every Pokemon” and loved to go fishing with his father. He also would “get so excited whenever he got to feed the little koi fishes at his Papa and Mama’s house.”

Police reports based on surveillance footage from inside the boy’s home showed the defendant kicking Peralto in the face, punching him in the face, and slapping him on 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 ultimately suffered bleeding in this brain, a skull fracture, a ruptured spleen, and damage his liver, intestines, and pancreas. Earlier that day he was coughing up blood, which Courtney reported to the child’s father, Kaiea Peralto – after he checked the app on his phone connected to the surveillance devices and saw the babysitter cleaning up fluids while his son lay motionless on the floor around 11:40 a.m.

The elder Peralto returned home just after noon on the day in question and found his son unresponsive – with bruising visible on his head. After being rushed to University Medical Center by his dad, the younger Peralto succumbed to his injuries the next day.

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

Police would later write that the grisly footage could be summarized as a “horrendous account of what visually took place with Ryan on how he was severely beaten during a two-minute time frame.”

The three recording devices in the Peralto house were placed by the father after his 7-year-old daughter told him Courtney hurt her brother. Courtney would later tell police she knew about the cameras and didn’t care what they captured, as if she had nothing to hide.

In fact, after initially being confronted by what the videos showed, Courtney disclaimed any responsibility for Ryan Peralto’s murder. She even suggested that, perhaps, the boy’s father was abusive, police wrote in her arrest report. Her story would go on to shift even more.

At one point, she claimed she heard a loud thud while Ryan Peralto was in the shower, blaming his injury on that fall. At another point, she did admit to hitting the boy. Later, she would say she probably “blacked out” due to mental issues and could not remember everything.

Eventually, however, the defendant settled on saying that she was angry because the boy wet his pants and would not listen to her.

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

In one highly-cited clip from that footage, Courtney tells the unconscious boy: “I know you are faking it.”

Courtney, after work that day, made a FaceTime call to her boyfriend and then stopped at a McDonald’s to pick up food on her way home, according to Las Vegas, Nevada Fox affiliate KVVU. Her boyfriend reportedly said she was acting “normal” after she got back.

Then police came to arrest her.

She was originally charged with one count of murder in the first degree, three counts of child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily or mental harm, four counts of child abuse or neglect, and one count of child endangerment. She had been slated 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 plea deal.

Jerry Lambe and Aaron Keller contributed to this report.

[image via LVMPD]

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