Ohio Mom Charged With Murder After Leaving Toddler Home Alone While She Vacationed in Puerto Rico, Police Say

Baby Dies
Kristel Candelario is charged with murder in connection with the death of her 16-month old daughter, police said.Cleveland Police Department

Cleveland mother Kristel Candelario left her toddler daughter home alone while she went on a 10-day vacation to Puerto Rico and Detroit, police said.

A Cleveland mother has been charged with murder after police say she left her 16-month-old daughter all alone while she went on a 10-day vacation to Puerto Rico and Detroit.

Kristel Candelario is charged with one count of felony murder and is being held in lieu of $1 million cash bail at the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, according to online records. 

Her arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.

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.

The mother allegedly told officers she had left her daughter, Jailyn, alone and unattended while she went on vacation to Puerto Rico and Detroit, police said. 

She came home to find the baby unresponsive and severely dehydrated, she allegedly told police.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene. A subsequent autopsy found no signs of trauma, police said.

"The child had been left alone and unattended for approximately 10 days and had subsequently died," Cleveland police 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."

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