KEY POINTS

  • The parents were charged with child cruelty and second-degree murder
  • The victim’s medical records showed she died of cardiac arrest and anemia
  • Investigators believe the child suffered from severe lice infestation on and off for at least three years

A Georgia couple, who was charged with the murder of their 12-year-old girl, was granted bail Monday.

The couple was charged with child cruelty and second-degree murder after their daughter Kaitlyn Yozviak died of severe lice infestation in September 2020, reported Associated Press (AP). Mary Horton and John Yozviak were granted bail as prosecutors have not yet sought their indictment by a grand jury.

The initial investigation by Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) following the death revealed the child “suffered excessive physical pain due to medical negligence.”

GBI's Special agent Ryan Hilton testified in court that the medical records indicated Kaitlyn died of cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anemia, the AP reported. The investigators are awaiting an autopsy report to present the case before a grand jury.

Hilton also testified at the time of the victim’s death that she suffered from the “most severe lice infestation” that the GBI office has ever seen. The investigators believe the girl must have suffered from the infestation on and off for at least three years.

The repeated lice bites must have lowered Kaitlyn’s blood level, causing anemia which in turn triggered the cardiac arrest, Hilton told the court.

The Department of Family and Child welfare Services had earlier received reports about the couple’s home, even before the victim’s death. The two other siblings of the victim were removed from their custody because of the unsanitary conditions at their home, local news outlet 13WMAZ reported.

In 2018, the agency got a complaint about the couple’s home that it was “bug-infested, with excessive cats, and hazardous conditions,” 13WMAZ reported. Following this, Kaitlyn was placed under her aunt's care, and returned to her parents after a short period.

During an inspection in August, the agents found out that the couple’s house was infested with vermin, which covered their mattresses, stuffed toys and other furniture.

The victim’s mother told the police the girl had not bathed for at least more than a week and a half before her death.

The couple's bond was set at $100,000, and the couple remained in jail as of Monday night.

plant-louse-1624047_640 The victim suffered from severe lice infestation during the time of death. Photo: pixabay