Mom who left her toddler alone to die while she went on vacation for 10 days is sentenced to life in jail

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
 – An Ohio woman who left her 16-month-old daughter alone for more than a week while she vacationed, leading to the girl’s death, was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday morning, March 18.

Kristel Candelario, 32, left her daughter, Jailyn, alone and unattended at her home in Cleveland on June 6, 2023. Authorities said she did not return until June 16.

According to prosecutors, Candelario traveled to Detroit and Puerto Rico. She returned 10 days later to find the girl unresponsive and called police.

The child was pronounced dead at the home. She was discovered in a playpen soiled with urine and feces, according to a press release from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Forensic pathologist Elizabeth Mooney determined Jailyn died from starvation and severe dehydration due to pediatric neglect and ruled Jailyn’s death a homicide.

On Feb. 22, Candelario pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder and one count of endangering children.

Candelario has now been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of patrol for aggravated murder and eight to 12 years for endangering children.

County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan Sheehan told Candelario she committed “the ultimate betrayal” by leaving her daughter alone without food.

“Just as you didn’t let Jailyn out of her confinement, so too you should spend the rest of your life in a cell without freedom,” Sheehan said. “The only difference will be, the prison will at least feed you and give you liquid that you denied her.”

Candelario, who has struggled with depression and related mental health issues, said she has prayed daily for forgiveness.

“There’s so much pain that I have in regards to the loss of my baby, Jailyn,” she said. “I’m extremely hurt about everything that happened. I am not trying to justify my actions, but nobody knew how much I was suffering and what I was going through … God and my daughter have forgiven me.”

During the court hearing, Candelario‘s parents also stood up to speak.

“My heart is ripped apart in 1,000 pieces,” Candelario’s mother said. “I am here to tell the world that my daughter came from a home where there were values, beliefs, emotions, warmth. Where the most important thing was family.”

“I want to say before Jailyn that your memory will never leave us. We love you. Your grandparents will never forget you,” she continued, tearfully.

She also said that Candelario’s “emotional health was affected on more than one occasion” and that her “depression and anxiety ended up consuming her.”

Candelario’s father said that even though he is “shocked by everything that happened,” he is still giving “moral and spiritual support to our daughter.”

“I ask for compassion, understanding and mercy,” he said. “My beloved daughter, always remember that we will never forget Jailyn, our beloved granddaughter. We miss you very much. I carry her image always within my memory. Jailyn is the light of our life.”

Candelario also has a 7-year-old daughter.

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