Kristel Calendario, a 20-year-old Cleveland mother, was arrested and charged with the murder of her 16-month-old daughter, Jailyn, on Saturday (June 17). Her arrest comes one day after police officers responded to her home on 97th Street and found Jailyn unresponsive and ‘extremely dehydrated.’
Jailyn was pronounced dead on the scene and members of the Homicide Unit launched an investigation right away. A police report found no signs of trauma. “Further investigation revealed that the child had been left alone and unattended for approximately 10 days and had subsequently died,” the report read.
While being questioned, the mother admitted to leaving her child home alone while she took a trip to both Puerto Rico and Detroit – she was gone for eight days in total. Upon entering the home, police officers found the child’s play bin filled with ‘soiled blankets and a bottom liner, saturated with urine and feces.’
In an interview with WKYC, Kristel’s neighbors spoke out about the tragedy and how it could’ve been avoided. The family was understandably ‘devastated’ and ‘heartbroken’ after learning of the death – having spent a lot of time with the child. “We loved Jailyn a lot,” Suleym, a 13-year-old neighbor, said.
Her mother, Iris, remembers meeting Jailyn for the first time in August 2022. Kristel Calendario asked the family if they could watch Jailyn for a few days over the weekend. Unfortunately, Kristel went MIA and was unreachable for several weeks. “Days turned into weeks,” they said – and still no phone call or anything.
“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?” Suleym’s mother, Iris, recalls. They ended up caring for Jailyn for six weeks and it even got to the point where Jailyn was calling Iris ‘mama.’ They grew close with the little girl.
Suleym treated Jailyn like a little sister. “Jailyn really didn’t deserve what happened to her. She was amazing and really adorable and I miss her a lot,” she told WKYC. And that wasn’t even the last time they cared for Jailyn – the family has cared for her several times since then as their bond grew stronger.
Jailyn’s Mother Arraigned of Murder on June 20
Police responded to the home and found Jailyn unresponsive on June 16. The child’s mother, Kirstel Calendario, was arrested and charged with murder the following day (June 17) and appeared in court for arraignment on Tuesday (June 20). She’s being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Not much is known about Calendario’s lawyer situation and/or plea, but she is expected to appear in court again on June 28 (Wednesday) at 8:30 a.m.. Calendario’s neighbor, Iris, didn’t mince her words when asked about the criminal process. “I wish for her to pay for what she did to her daughter,” she said.
As for Jailyn’s body, it’s currently with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner – who is working towards an exact cause of death, which should be released in the next few weeks. As for Kristel, many people expect the case to be taken to a grand jury. We’ll be learning more in the coming days.
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