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Mom Who Left Toddler Alone for 10 Days While She Went on Vacation is Sentenced to Life in Prison

A Cleveland woman who left her toddler home alone in her crib while she went on a 10-day vacation was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday. 

32-year-old Kristel Candelario pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in what a judge called “the ultimate act of betrayal,” when she left her 16-month-old daughter Jailyn “trapped in a tiny prison,” while she traveled to Puerto Rico and Detroit last June.

“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,” Judge Brendan Sheehan told Candelario while delivering the sentence Monday.

Candilario also pleaded guilty to child endangerment. 

According to forensic pathologist Elizabeth Mooney, Jailyn died of starvation and severe dehydration due to pediatric neglect. She ruled the toddler’s death as a homicide. 

In Monday’s hearing, prosecutors played security footage from neighbors’ cameras that showed Candelario leaving her home on June 6 with a suitcase. The video then shows her returning the morning of June 16th. About 10 minutes after her return home, Candelario called 911, saying that her daughter was dying. 

Prosecutors say Candelario changed her daughter into clean clothes before first responders arrived. 

The former substitute teacher initially told investigators that she had been home caring for her daughter, who had been sick and vomiting before she found her unresponsive on June 16. 

What investigators originally believed to be dirt on the toddler, Mooney told the court was actually feces on Jailyn’s hands and feet, under her fingernails and on her mouth and teeth. 

Mooney delivered an emotional description of the “terrifying” circumstances of Jailyn’s death, telling the court that Jailyn experienced extreme and prolonged suffering for as long as a week before she died. 

“The feeling of abandonment for days on end, coupled with the pain of starvation and extreme thirst is a type of suffering I don’t think any of us could ever fully have,” Mooney told the court. 

The judge said Candelario’s attempts to cover up her crime showed to him that she wasn’t remorseful.

She had many opportunities to save her daughter, he said, who probably lived for a week while she was gone.

“Despite all of her suffering, that little baby persevered, waiting for someone to save her. And you could have done that with a simple phone call,” he said.

The defense pointed to Candelario’s history with depression and anxiety, however even her own attorney said her illness was :no justification: for her actions. 

“They were narcissistic, selfish, abhorrent — absolutely worst parenting imaginable,” he said.

In Monday’s hearing, Cleveland Police Sgt. Teresa Gomez was “a voice for Jailyn,” as she described the “horrific” results of the investigation. 

“Candelario placed more importance on a vacation in Puerto Rico with her boyfriend than the health, safety and well-being of her own daughter,” Gomez said.

“Jailyn died a long and painful death, afraid and alone, while her mother enjoyed the beach and sun,” Gomez said.

Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.

‘I Got the Call at 6pm, Left My Kids With My Husband and Drove to Her House With My Socks Crammed into Birkenstocks’: Mom...

"When your friend’s husband dies unexpectedly, when she has a baby, when she is going through a divorce, she doesn’t care if you baked the cookies from scratch and perfectly placed them in a platter. Show up in your socks with pizza. I held her, loaded her dishwasher, read her kids a story and tucked them in."

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