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The ultimate act of betrayal: A 16-month-old toddler dies after her mother left her alone for a 10-day vacation.


JailynImage credit: WKYC app

Kristel Candelario, a 32-year-old Ohio mom, left her 16-month-old toddler in a playpen with a few bottles of milk while she was hundreds of miles away in Puerto Rico with a male friend. After being away for about 10 days, she returned home on June 16th last year, only to find her daughter dead. A neighbour’s doorbell camera captured the frequent screams of the 16-month-old, including one at 1 a.m. two days after her mother left. 


When asked about the reason for her trip to Puerto Rico and Detroit, which ultimately resulted in her abandoning her daughter all alone, Candelario said, ‘It was a decision that was made several months prior,’ when she was released from a two-month hospitalization for mental health issues. 


“I was in the hospital in January and February 2023 because I had emotional and mental problems. [On] one of those two occasions, I wanted  to make an attempt on my own life. For that reason, I was in the hospital without being able to walk for exactly almost two weeks. And in the month of March, I mean, my [now] ex-boyfriend and I wanted to take a vacation."


Candelario tried to defend her ex-partner of any blame, claiming she had informed him beforehand that she was going to leave his daughter with her mother. During Candelario’s statements, it is seen as though she keeps blaming her decision on her living situation and her mental state.


 “Actually, I left for the trip as a result of an impulse that I had, that I took, grabbed my four things and ran out of the house like when someone is being chased,”


 Throughout the trip, Candelario was allegedly thinking about her daughter, who was alone back home, and getting upset about it. Travelers who accompanied her through the trip could see that she was visibly upset, but when they asked her about it, she never mentioned anything about her daughter.


 Candelario mentioned that during the trip, her boyfriend mentioned Jailyn in passing one day. ‘When he mentioned Jailyn to me, it was like when someone reminds you of someone who’s not with you at that moment,’ but she just shrugged it off and nonchalantly replied that she was fine.’ Kristel confessed that she considered calling her family member or neighbour to check up on her daughter’s well-being but never did it, and she accepted that she made a mistake. Candelario also reveals that her parents never knew she had gone on a trip and abandoned her little girl to her fate.


According to them, Candelario was home with Jailyn or maybe elsewhere in another city, as she only told them she was not up to planning anything during the ‘vacation’ time. It turns out Kristel’s parents were travelling  with their younger daughter, who was seven at the time and remembered being told, ‘Go at ease, I’m going to stay here with Jailyn.’ 


 During the trial, when Kristel was asked how she had the heart to abandon her daughter for 10 days and go on a trip, she stated, ‘The answer is a bit difficult for the rest of the world to understand and in particular for the people who question and point out that I have committed a diabolical act, as was mentioned in court.’


 Minutes after she returned on June 16, Candelario called 911. This call was submitted as evidence to the court. "Please, I need help,” she wailed in a 911 call played during the sentencing. “Please, please, help me. My daughter is dying.” The prosecutors said the mother had dressed her baby Jailyn in a clean outfit before the emergency responders arrived but could not succeed in trying to hide the horrors the girl had gone through. Jailyn was found lying on a mattress covered in urine and faeces. ‘Animals take care of their infants better,’ Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Anna Faragila said.


 According to forensic pathologist, Elizabeth Mooney, children experience the most extreme separation anxiety between nine and 18 months. She recounted toddler Jailyn’s excruciating final days. While holding back tears, Mooney said, ‘The pain and suffering she endured lasted not only hours, not days, but possibly even a week.‘ She was emaciated, with sunken eyes, dry lips, and faecal matter in her mouth and fingernails. She weighed seven pounds less than at her last doctor's visit two months ago.


 "Our hearts broke, we loved Jailyn very much," a neighbour, Suleym, 13, told WKYC, who dotted on her like a sister. Suleym and her mother, Iris, assured her that they had babysat Jailyn in August 2022 for a weekend. On that occasion, Kristel took several weeks to return to collect her baby, and when they called her, she either gave excuses or did not pick up the calls. This happened quite frequently to the point where Jailyn started calling Iris ‘mom.’ They ended up taking care of her for a month and a half and have taken care of her on several occasions.


 During Kristel’s 10-day trip, Suleym and her mother Iris wished that she either informed them about Jailyn being alone or dropped her daughter off at theirs like on previous occasions instead of leaving her alone to fetch for herself.


 Candelario’s mother pleaded with the judge for mercy. In her statement, she claims that Kristel has battled with health struggles, including mental health illness and fainting spells, when she stopped taking her medicines, it worsened her depression and anxiety, which took away her ability to make sound decisions.


Candelario then took to court and said she prays daily for forgiveness, and that she believes that God and Jailyn have forgiven her. She said, ‘I am not trying to justify my actions, but nobody knew how much I was suffering and what I was going through.’


 Judge Sheehan sentenced her to life without parole on one count of aggravated murder and one count of child endangering.  At her sentencing on Monday, the judge quotes, ‘The bond between a mother and a child is one of the purest and most sacred bonds. It is a relationship built on love, trust, and unwavering protection... You have committed the ultimate act of betrayal.’


“Just as you didn’t let Jailyn out of her confinement until she died, so too you should spend the rest of your life in a cell without freedom,” Sheehan said. “The only difference is that prison will at least feed you.” 

Mother in court






Image credit:https://images.app.goo.gl/8bB7pK3DrugKxDoy5

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