Officials link severe lice infestation to 12-year-old girl’s death, parents charged with murder

The parents of a 12-year-old girl from Georgia have been charged in connection with their daughter’s death after investigators revealed they had enough evidence to suggest she died as an indrect result of severe lice infestation.

Kaitlyn Yozviak, 12, died August 26 after her mother Katie Horton called 911 to report that her daughter was unresponsive. Kaitlyn was transported to a hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

“I was mind-blown when I saw her laying there, so that took a lot out of me knowing the child was unresponsive,” the Ivey Police Chief told 9 News.

A preliminary investigation revealed Kaitlyn was subjected to “”excessive physical pain due to medical negligence,” which was supported with a long documented history.

According to reports, Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services removed her brothers from their home due to unsanitary conditions. In 2008, when Kaitlyn was born DFCS opened a case against her father Joey Yozviak and mother after they decided not to give her up for adoption.

Ten years later they received another report about the family home being “bug-infested, [with] excessive cats, and hazardous conditions.”

At the time, Kaitlyn was placed with her aunt, but quickly returned to her parents.

It wasn’t until after her death that DFCS was contacted again.

Both Horton and Yozviak were charged with their daughter’s death. On Monday a hearing was held. A judge ruled that enough evidence was presented for second-degree murder charges and second-degree child cruelty charges.

During the probable cause hearing, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ryan Hilton testified that although the autopsy was not yet complete, medical records Kaitlyn died from cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anemia.

Hilton believed this was due to repeated bites from lice which lowered the level of iron in her blood and potentially caused anemia. It’s likely Kaitlyn, who had “the most severe” case of lice at the time of her death, had been dealing with the issue on and off for several years.

The couple’s case can now move forward to a grand jury.

The system failed Kaitlyn. No one was there to protect her and as a result she suffered and died. She deserves justice.

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