Lice Infestation Linked To Girl's Death, Parents Charged With Murder

The parents of a 12-year-old girl from Georgia have been charged with murder after she died in August. When officials were called to the home of 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak, they were horrified by the conditions she had been living in. They found vermin covering her mattress, stuffed animals, and crawling on the furniture in her room. 

Officials said that Yozviak's cause of death was cardiac arrest and severe anemia. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ryan Hilton testified during a preliminary hearing that the young girl had an ongoing lice infestation that lasted for three years. He said that the repeated bites from the lice lowered her blood iron levels and that likely caused her to develop anemia, which is why she suffered a heart attack at such a young age. Officials also said that the young girl had not bathed for over a week before she died.

This was not the first time that the family had issues with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. In 2018, Yozviak was removed from her home but was allowed to return just six days later. The agency also opened up a case in 2008, after her parents decided not to give their daughter up for adoption, despite expressing concerns they could not afford to care for her.

Wilkinson County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell found that there was enough evidence to bring second-degree murder charges against Mary Katherine "Katie" Horton and Joey Yozviak and ordered their case to go before a grand jury. The couple is also facing charges of second-degree child cruelty.

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