Murder charge after daughter dies from head lice infestation
WARNING: Graphic content.
A schoolgirl died after a head lice infestation so severe it triggered a heart attack as her parents are charged with murder.
Kaitlyn Yozviak, 12, from Macon in Georgia, US, developed anaemia caused by repeated bites over three years which led to the fatal cardiac arrest, The Sunreports.
Her parents Mary Katherine Horton, 37, and Joey Yozviak, 38, have been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child cruelty over the tragic death.
Kaitlyn was so swarmed by lice that agents from Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it was the worst case they had ever seen.
The 12-year-old had not bathed for a week before she died and was forced to live in a filthy room with vermin swarming over her mattress, stuffed animals and furniture.
Experts said her condition was so horrific she would have been left living in constant agony.
However, her autopsy results are not yet complete, the GBI said.
Medical records show Kaitlyn died from cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anaemia, Special Agent Ryan Hilton told Wilkinson County Superior Court.
He said he believed repeated bites from the lice lowered her blood iron levels, which likely caused the anaemia, and may have triggered the cardiac attack.
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFSC) documents show that Kaitlyn's two brothers were removed from the family home because of unsanitary conditions.
While neighbours told agents they hadn't seen Kaitlyn playing around the house for up to two months before her death in August.
In 2008, DFCS opened another case around the time Kaitlyn was born, after the parents decided not to give her up for adoption.
The agency did not receive any reports on the family until 2018 where files show a call indicating the home was bug-infested with excessive cats and hazardous conditions.
Kaitlyn was briefly placed with her aunt but returned to her parents' home six days later.
The agency did not hear from the family again until after she died.
The last entry in the file is heavily redacted and concerns a conversation between GBI and child welfare authorities.
'VERY SWEET GIRL'
Kaitlyn was described as a "very sweet girl" by devastated teachers at Clifton Ridge Middle School in Ivey.
Lelin Holt told WMAZ: "She was a very sweet, sweet girl. Always respectful. I've never had any issues out of her at all.
"I never saw anything that was super off, anything to report. If I did, I would've definitely reported."
Kaitlyn's maternal grandmother blasted authorities in a statement, accusing social workers of not doing enough to take care of the youngster.
"Had the system done their job and rescued Kaitlyn, I would have raised her," she said.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Girl, 12, dies from head lice infestation