IVEY, Ga. (AP) -- A 12-year-old Georgia girl may have died as an indirect result of a severe lice infestation that may have gone on for years, investigators said.
The new details on the August death of Kaitlyn Yozviak were discussed during a preliminary hearing Monday after which Wilkinson County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell agreed there was enough evidence for second-degree murder charges against parents Mary Katherine “Katie” Horton and Joey Yozviak to go forward to a grand jury. The couple was also charged with second-degree child cruelty.
A Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent testified that medical records show Kaitlyn died from cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anemia. The GBI earlier said the girl suffered “excessive physical pain due to medical negligence,” although the autopsy results are not yet complete.
The special agent testified that at the time of her death, Kaitlyn had “the most severe” lice infestation that the GBI’s office had ever seen, and it may have lasted on and off for at least three years. He said he believed repeated bites from the lice lowered her blood iron levels, which likely caused the anemia, and may have triggered the cardiac attack.
Katie Horton told investigators Kaitlyn had not bathed within the last week and a half before she died. When agents got to the home in August, the inside was filthy, with vermin covering the mattress, stuffed animals and other furniture in Kaitlyn’s room, the special agent testified. Georgia Division of Family and Children Services removed Kaitlyn’s two brothers from the home.