Ohio mom gets life sentence after her child died while being left home alone during 10-day vacation

An Ohio mother has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the murder of her 16-month-old daughter, who prosecutors say was left home alone for 10 days in a playpen while her mother vacationed in Detroit and Puerto Rico.

Kristel Candelario, 32, said in a sentencing hearing Monday that “God and my daughter have forgiven me” after Jailyn Candelario was found unresponsive inside their Cleveland home in June 2023.

“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,” County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan Sheehan told Candelario. “The only difference will be, the prison will at least feed you and give you liquid that you denied her.”

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said following the sentencing that “The thought of going on vacation for 10 days and leaving your child to starve to death in her Pack-N-Play is a new low in parental care.

OHIO MOTHER KRISTEL CANDELARIO PLEADS GUILTY TO AGGRAVATED MURDER, CHILD ENDANGERMENT

Kristel Candelario pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and child endangerment in Feburary. (Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office says on June 6 last year, Candelario left Jailyn “alone and unattended” at her home in Cleveland and did not return until 10 days later.

“Upon returning, Candelario found Jailyn unresponsive and called the police. The Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Division of Fire responded to the scene and Jailyn was pronounced deceased,” it said in a statement.

“An investigation conducted by CPD’s Homicide Unit revealed that Candelario left her child alone and unattended from June 6 to June 16 to vacation in Detroit, Michigan, and in Puerto Rico. Jailyn was extremely dehydrated at the time of death,” the office added. “Jailyn was discovered in a Pack-N-Play pen on a liner soiled with urine and feces with soiled blankets.”

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Prosecutors say Kristel Candelario vacationed in the city and Puerto Rico last June while leaving her 16-month-old daughter home alone. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Candelario pleaded guilty in February to one count of aggravated murder and one count of endangering children.

The mother, who has struggled with depression and related mental health issues, said she has prayed daily for forgiveness, according to The Associated Press.

Cleveland Division of Police Chief Dorothy Todd said following Kristel Candelario’s sentencing that “One relief we have is knowing that members of our Division, particularly our homicide unit, worked tirelessly to bring justice to Jailyn.” (Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)

“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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.

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