A pair of Georgia parents have been charged with murder after their daughter died, allegedly as a result of one of the worst medical negligence cases local investigators have ever seen.
Kaitlyn Michelle Yozviak, 12, was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead on the afternoon of Aug. 26 following a 911 call from her mother, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation press release. Mary Kathrine “Katie” Horton, 37, had made an emergency call to the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office a few hours earlier stating that the child was unresponsive.
“Yozviak’s body was transported to the GBI Crime Lab in Macon where an autopsy was performed,” the GBI stated. “The preliminary investigation reveals Yozviak was subjected to excessive physical pain due to medical negligence.”
A day after Yozviak's death, Horton was charged with second-degree cruelty to children and second-degree murder. Yozviak’s father, John Joseph “Joey” Yozviak, 38, was arrested on Tuesday and also charged with second-degree child abuse and murder.
"This condition of the child is one of the worst we've ever seen,” GBI Special Agent Mary Chandler told WMAZ last week. She said the child's family had been investigated multiple times for alleged child neglect.
"Basically there's a history with Department of Family and Children Services in a number of counties in this area since the child has been born," Chandler said.
Kaitlyn's maternal grandmother, Anna Horton, told WMAZ that she has been raising Horton's other two sons after she lost custody.
"Had the system done their job and rescued Kaitlyn, I would [have] raised her, too," she said.
Chandler did not elaborate on the extent of the child’s injuries or abuse. She did say that the pandemic and its related school closures could have played a role in the child's death.
"I do believe that due to the mandated reporters and teachers in the school system, which are phenomenal, and the people that see kids every day, they save lives every day,” Chandler told the outlet. “Due to the fact that this child has not been at school since February, I do believe that's the cause of her death.”
It’s unclear if either parent has lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
Teachers at Kaitlyn's middle school are remembering her for her sweetness.
"She was a very sweet, sweet girl," Clifton Ridge Middle School teacher Lelin Holt told WMAZ. "Always respectful, I've never had any issues out of her at all."
Kaitlyn would have been starting the seventh grade this fall.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Ivey Police Department at 478-628-2479 or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 478-445-4173.
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