Mom Charged With Murder After Leaving Baby for 10 Days While She Vacationed Faces New Counts, Prosecutor Says
Ohio mother Kristel Candelario was charged with murder after police said she left her baby to die alone after going on a 10-day vacation. She now faces additional counts, prosecutor says.
The Ohio mother who police say left her baby to die alone while she went on vacation now faces additional charges in her murder case, according to prosecutors.
Kristel Candelario now faces counts of aggravated murder, child endangerment and felonious assault, according to a grand jury indictment announced Monday. She was charged earlier with one count of felony murder.
Cleveland police responded to a 911 call earlier this month to Candelario's home on West 97th Street, where they found an unresponsive 16-month-old girl in a playpen filled with soiled blankets and a bottom liner soaked in urine and feces, authorities said.
“It is unfathomable that a mother would leave her 16-month-old child alone without any supervision for 10 days to go on a vacation. As parents, we are supposed to protect and care for our children," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement. "Imagining this child’s suffering, during her last days of life alone, is truly horrifying and we will do everything in our power to seek justice on her behalf.”
Candelario, 31, was arrested June 18 after calling 911, police said. Her 16-month-old daughter, Jailyn, was unresponsive in her playpen, the mother told first responders, authorities said.
The woman acknowledged she had left the child alone and unattended while she went on vacation to Puerto Rico and Detroit, the Cleveland Police Department said in a statement.
Neighbors told WEWS-TV that Candelario had previously left her child alone.
"We keep telling her not to leave her by herself, not just me, my friend across the street too, but she always leave(s) her by herself," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.
A mother and her 13-year-old daughter who live in the neighborhood told WKYC-TV they had often babysat Jailyn and were devastated that her mother didn't reach out to them for help.
“We were absolutely heartbroken. We loved Jailyn a lot,” said the 13-year-old. The teen and her mother described the child as curious and happy.
They first met the child last summer, when Candelario asked them to babysit Jailyn for the weekend, they said.
But days turned into weeks and Candelario didn't answer her phone, the adult neighbor said. When Candelario did answer, she made excuses for not returning, she said.
“I was the one calling her saying, ‘Look I need milk. I need money. I don’t have money to buy milk for your baby. What am I supposed to do?'” the woman recalled telling Candelario.
Candelario did not return for six weeks, the woman said, and by that time Jailyn had begun calling her "momma."
But the woman and her daughter said they cared for the child several times after that.
“Jailyn really didn’t deserve what happened to her," said the 13-year-old. "She was amazing and really adorable and I miss her a lot."
Candelario is being held at the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center in lieu of $1 million cash bail, according to online records. Her arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.
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