Kaitlyn Yozviak, from Macon in Georgia, suffered from repeated head lice bites throughout the course of three years and it led to her developing anaemia, resulting in a cardiac arrest.
The 12-year-old’s parents, Mary Katherine Horton, 37, and Joey Yozviak, 38, have now been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child cruelty over their daughter’s tragic death.
Agents from Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said that the child had been suffering from the worst case of head lice they had ever seen and they were swarming.
Before she was killed, Kaitlyn hadn’t had a bath for a week and was being forced to live in a filthy room that had vermin swarming over the mattress, stuffed animals and furniture.
Devastatingly, experts said that the conditions the girl had been living in were so horrific that it appears as though she had been living in a state of constant agony.
The GBI has stated that the autopsy results are not yet fully complete.
Special agent Ryan Hilton told Wilkinson County Superior Court that the medical records showed that Kaitlyn had suffered from a heart attack with the secondary cause being anaemia.
He said that he believed the cardiac arrest was triggered by the repeated and constant bites from head lice, which were lowering her blood iron levels therefore causing anaemia.
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFSC) has released documents in which it is stated that Kaitlyn’s two brothers have been removed from the family household due to the shocking living conditions.
Neighbours informed the agents that they hadn’t seen Kaitlyn playing around the house for up to two months before her death in August.
Around the time that Kaitlyn was born, the DFCS opened up another case involving the family as the parents had decided they didn’t want to give her up for adoption.
Until 2018, the agency didn’t receive any reports from the family. When the reports came in, it was indicated that the home was in unsanitary conditions due to the bug-infestation, excessive amount of cats, and generally being hazardous.
Temporarily, Kaitlyn was placed with an aunt but after just six days, was returned back to her parents.
The agency then didn’t hear from the family until Kaitlyn’s tragic death.
The last entry in the file is redacted due to the conversations that took place between the HBI and child welfare authorities.
Teachers at Clifton Ridge Middle School in Ivey have been left heartbroken by Kaitlyn’s death and have described her as a “very sweet girl”.
Lelin Holt told WMAZ: “She was a very sweet, sweet girl. Always respectful, I’ve never had any issues out of her at all.
She added: “I never saw anything that was super-off, anything to report. If I did, I would’ve definitely reported.”
However, Kaitlyn’s maternal grandmother has blasted the authorities and has insisted that not enough was done by social workers to protect her granddaughter.
She said: “Had the system done their job and rescued Kaitlyn, I would have raised her.”