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

FILE - In this booking photo provided by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, is Kristel Candelario, 31, of Cleveland, Ohio. Candelario pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and child endangerment Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the death of her 16-month-old daughter, who authorities allege was left alone for 10 days while she went on vacation. (Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

An Ohio mother who left her 16-month-old daughter home alone in a playpen for 10 days last summer while she went on vacation pleaded guilty on Thursday to aggravated murder.

Kristel Candelario, 32, also pleaded guilty to child endangerment as part of a plea deal with Cuyahoga County prosecutors, who agreed to dismiss two murder counts and a felonious assault charge. Candelario now faces a life term when she's sentenced March 18.

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 had died of starvation and severe dehydration.

The Associated Press

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