Ohio mom who left toddler alone 10 days when she went on vacation pleads guilty to aggravated murder

An Ohio mother whose 16-month-old daughter died after being left home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department shows Kristel Candelario, of Cleveland, Ohio. The Ohio mother whose 16-month-old daughter died after being left home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation was sentenced Monday, March 18, 2024, to life in prison with no chance of parole. (Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

FILE - This booking photo provided by the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department shows Kristel Candelario, of Cleveland, Ohio. The Ohio mother whose 16-month-old daughter died after being left home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation was sentenced Monday, March 18, 2024, to life in prison with no chance of parole. (Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio mother whose 16-month-old daughter died after being left home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Kristel Candelario, 32, had pleaded guilty last month to aggravated murder and child endangerment as part of a plea deal with Cuyahoga County prosecutors, who dismissed two murder counts and a felonious assault charge.

Authorities have said Candelario left her daughter, Jailyn, in their Cleveland home when she went on vacation to Detroit and Puerto Rico in June 2023. When she returned 10 days later, she found the girl was not breathing in the playpen and called 911. Emergency responders found the child was “extremely dehydrated” and pronounced her dead shortly after they arrived.

An autopsy by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office determined that the toddler died of starvation and severe dehydration.

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.”