Mom who left toddler alone in playpen for days while she went on vacation pleads guilty to aggravated murder

A Cleveland woman pleaded guilty Thursday to the aggravated murder of the toddler she left alone for more than a week while she went on vacation, prosecutors said. 

Kristel Candelario, 32, left her 16-month-old daughter, Jailyn Candelario, “alone and unattended” at her home on June 6, 2023, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a Thursday release. She didn’t return home until June 16, 2023.

When she returned, Candelario found Jailyn unresponsive and called police.

Jailyn Calendario.
Jailyn Calendario.via WKYC

Police found Jailyn in a filthy playpen, and the girl was pronounced dead, officials said. She had been “extremely dehydrated,” according to police.

Investigators determined that Candelario left her daughter alone while she vacationed in Detroit and in Puerto Rico, officials said.

Candelario pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder and one count of endangering children in the case. She is set to be sentenced next month.

“This case is one of those truly unimaginable cases that will stick with me for many years to come,” O’Malley said in a statement. “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 toward justice for Jailyn.”

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