Mom pleads guilty to murder after leaving her toddler at home during her 10-day vacation

CLEVELAND, OH – A 32-year-old woman from Ohio, Kristel Candelario, admitted to the charges of aggravated murder on Thursday in a case involving the death of her toddler. The child was left alone without supervision for a span of ten days as the mother went on a vacation last summer.

Online court records from Cuyahoga County indicate that Candelario entered guilty pleas for a count of aggravated murder and a count of endangering children. However, she was acquitted of two counts of murder and a count of felonious assault.

The evidence demonstrated that Candelario had left her 16-month-old daughter, Jailyn Candelario, alone in their Cleveland residence on June 6, 2023, as per details shared by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in a press release. Candelario had taken a vacation in Detroit, MI, and Puerto Rico and did not return until June 16, 2023. On her return, she discovered that Jailyn was unresponsive and contacted the police. The child was declared dead at the scene by first responders.

Following an investigation by the homicide unit of the Cleveland Police Department, it was revealed that Jailyn was severely dehydrated at the time of her death. The toddler had been left in a Pack-N-Play pen with urine and feces-soiled liner and blankets, the prosecutor’s office further revealed.

Candelario was taken into custody on June 17 and faced charges of murder and other related criminal offenses. Post her arrest, she was terminated from her role as a building substitute at the Citizens Academy Glenville, a Cleveland elementary school.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Michael C. O’Malley regarded the incident as a truly unimaginable case and a testament to the selfish decisions made by the mother. He added that the sentencing is the first step towards justice for Jailyn. According to Ohio state law, a conviction of aggravated murder could result in a life sentence.

Candelario is set to be sentenced at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center on March 18.