An extreme lice infestation may have triggered the death of a 12-year-girl in a case which Georgia investigators have dubbed one of the worst examples of neglect they’ve ever seen.
Kaitlyn Michelle Yozviak, 12, died on Aug. 26 after her mom, Mary Kathrine “Katie” Horton, 37, called 911 to report her unresponsive, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation press release from September. An investigation into her death led to the arrest of the mom and Kaitlyn's father, John Joseph “Joey” Yozviak, 38. The parents were charged with child abuse and murder, both in the second degree.
Investigators determined during the initial part of their investigation that “Yozviak was subjected to excessive physical pain due to medical negligence,” according to the GBI.
GBI Special Agent Mary Chandler told WMAZ last month that the child's family had been investigated multiple times for alleged child neglect and that the child’s condition was “one of the worst we've ever seen.”
Now, more disturbing details about the girl’s death have been released as a judge ruled there was enough evidence to move the parents' case to a grand jury.
During a probable cause hearing on Monday, GBI Special Agent Ryan Hilton stated that Kaitlyn had “the most severe” lice infestation that the GBI office had ever seen, WMAZ reports. Hilton said while Yozviak's primary cause of death was cardiac arrest, the secondary cause was severe anemia. He said constant lice bites lowered her blood iron levels, which most likely caused her anemia, which he said likely triggered the cardiac arrest attack.
More details about the family's social services history have also been unveiled.
The Department of Children and Family Services were called on the family in 2018 after a complaint that their home was both bug-infested and filled with cats, according to WMAZ. Kaitlyn was placed with a relative at that point, but returned to her parents’ home in less than a week’s time.
Kaitlyn’s two brothers had been removed from the home due to unsanitary conditions before Kaitlyn was born.
Kaitlyn would have been starting the seventh grade this fall.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.