A 12-year-old girl perished because she went untreated for head lice while living in a rundown home with her parents, investigators say.
Kaitlyn Yozviak, from Wilkinson County in the US state of Georgia, bid her goodbye last month.
Her parents, Mary Katherine “Katie” Horton, and Joey Yozviak have been charged with second-degree mvrd3r and second-degree child cru3lty. They will face a grand jury.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ryan Hilton testified medical records show Kaitlyn perished from cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anaemia.
The Bureau earlier said the girl endured “excessive physical discomfort due to medical negligence”, although the aut0psy results were not yet complete.
Mr Hilton testified at the time of her demise, Kaitlyn had “the most severe” lice infestation 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 bl00d iron levels, which likely caused the anaemia, and may have triggered the cardiac attack.
Her mother also told investigators Kaitlyn had not bathed in the last week and a half before she perished.
When agents got to the home in August, the inside was filthy and in disrepair, with vermin covering the mattress, stuffed animals and other furniture in Kaitlyn’s room, Mr Hilton said.
Neighbours told agents they hadn’t seen Kaitlyn playing around the house for the last month and a half to two months before her demise.
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services documents show that authorities removed Kaitlyn’s two brothers from Horton and Yozviak’s home because of unsanitary conditions.
In 2008, DFCS opened another case around the time Kaitlyn was born after the parents decided not to give her up for adoption.
The agency didn’t receive any reports on the family until 2018. Recent files show a call indicating the home became“bug-infested, (with) excessive cats, and hazardous conditions”.
They had Kaitlyn briefly placed with her aunt and returned to her parents’ home six days later.
The agency didn’t hear from the family again until after she died. The last entry in the file looked heavily redacted and concerns a conversation between GBI and child welfare authorities.
GBI agent Mary Chandler told WMAZ-TV “this condition of a child is the worst we’ve ever seen”.