12 Year Old Kaitlyn Yozviak from Macon in Georgia died after she developed anaemia caused by a severe head lice infestation left untreated for years.
The little girl suffered a fatal heart-attack caused by the anaemia. Her parents, Mary Katherine Horton, 37, and Joey Yozviak, 38 have been charged with second-degree murder and child cruelty over Kaitlyn’s death.
The repeated lice bites had severely lowered the little girl’s iron levels, which caused the anaemia, and in turn triggered the cardiac arrest which caused her death.
Mary Katherine Horton had made a 911 call to authorities at 2pm on the 26th August stating that her child was unresponsive. Kaitlyn was transported to the Navicent Medical Center in Baldwin Country but was pronounced dead on arrival. Her parents were taken into custody shortly afterwards.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that Kaitlyn’s headlice was the worst case they had ever seen. It is believed the little girl had not been bathed for a week before her death. Her room was filthy and contained vermin including her mattress and toys. Experts say that the condition in which Kaitlyn was found would have left her living in constant agony. Neighbours reported that they had not seen Kaitlyn in the two months before her death.
GBI Special Agent Ryan Hilton told the Judge that:
‘Kaitlyn had the most severe lice infestation at the time of her death that the GBI’s office had ever seen, and it may have lasted on and off for at least three years.’
The parents had an extensive history with the Department of Family and Children’s Services. Reported for the condition of their home due to an excessive number of cats and vermin infestation. Previous to Kaitlyn’s death, her two older brothers were removed from the home and put into the care of their Maternal Grandmother, Anna Horton. Anna told authorities that:
“Had the system done their job and rescued Kaitlyn, I would have raised her.”
Kaitlyn was temporarily rehomed with her Aunt for a period of six days but had returned to live with her parents.
Kaitlyn was originally to be given up for adoption at birth when social services saw the appalling condition of her parent’s home, however, they ultimately decided to raise her themselves. The coupled moved constantly to avoid the notice of the authorities.
No date has yet been set for Kaitlyn’s funeral however a local funeral home, Fair Haven is paying for the service.
The couple is currently awaiting sentencing.
We will keep you updated on this story.