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Mom Who Left Toddler Alone for 10 Days at Home to Go on Caribbean Vacation Pleads Guilty to Murder

Authorities said Kristel Candelario’s 16-month-old daughter was extremely dehydrated at the time of her June 2023 death

<p>Cuyahoga County Police</p> Kristel Candelario

Cuyahoga County Police

Kristel Candelario

An Ohio mom pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated murder in connection with the death of her toddler, who she left alone and unattended for 10 days while she went on a vacation last summer.

Kristel Candelario, 32, entered guilty pleas for one count of aggravated murder and one count of endangering children, according to online Cuyahoga County court records. She was acquitted of two counts of murder and one count of felonious assault.

On June 6, 2023, Kristel Candelario left Jailyn Candelario, her 16-month-old daughter, alone and unattended at her Cleveland home, according to a press release shared by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Related: Ohio Toddler Dies After Mom Allegedly Leaves Child Home Alone for 10 Days to Go on Vacation

Prosecutors said Candelario left to go on vacation in Detroit, Mich., and Puerto Rico, and did not return to her child until June 16, 2023. That morning, Candelario found Jailyn unresponsive and called police. Jailyn was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

An investigation conducted by the Cleveland Police Department's homicide unit revealed that Jailyn was extremely dehydrated at the time of her death, according to the prosecutor’s office. Prosecutors further stated that Jailyn was discovered in a Pack-N-Play pen on a liner soiled with urine and feces with soiled blankets.

Candelario was arrested on June 17 and charged with murder and related criminal offenses.

According to local station WEWS-TV, Candelario was terminated from her position as building substitute at Cleveland elementary school Citizens Academy Glenville following her arrest, school officials previously said in a statement.

“This case is one of those truly unimaginable cases that will stick with me for many years to come,” Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in the release. “As prosecutors, it is our job to represent the victims and today we spoke on behalf of 16-month-old Jailyn — who is no longer with us — due to the selfish decisions her mother made. This conviction today, is the first step towards justice for Jailyn.”

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Candelario is scheduled to be sentenced at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center on March 18. According to Ohio state law, those convicted of aggravated murder face life in prison.

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