12-year-old Girl Dies After Severe Head Lice Infestation Causes Heart Attack, Parents Charged

12-year-old Girl Dies After Severe Head Lice Infestation Causes Heart Attack, Parents Charged

Her parents were charged with second-degree murder and child cruelty.

In an unbelievably shocking case, a 12-year-old girl has died after being savaged by a head lice infestation that subsequently triggered a heart attack. 

Based in Macon in Georgia, Kaitlyn Yozviak was reportedly forced to live in unsanitary conditions where the room she was in had vermin swarming over her mattress, stuffed animals and furniture.

Her parents, Katie Horton, 37, and Joey Yozviak, 38, who appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday, has been charged for second-degree murder and second-degree child cruelty following her death on 26 August.

12-year-old Girl Dies After Severe Head Lice Infestation Causes Heart Attack, Parents Charged

Parents charged in court after their daughter Kaitlyn, a 12-year-old dies from lice bites. | Image source: iStock

According to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Horton called the police after he found Kaitlyn unresponsive on the day she died.

The 12-year-old was then transported to Navicent Medical Center in Baldwin County and pronounced dead.

Severe Anaemia Developed, Triggered Cardiac Arrest

The lice infestation was said to have resulted in repeated bites in Kaitlyn over three years.

According to Special agent Ryan Hilton to the Wilkinson County Superior Court, he presumed that this lowered Kaitlyn’s blood iron levels which likely caused her to develop severe anaemia, triggering the fatal cardiac arrest. 

While the autopsy results have yet to be completed, according to the GBI agents, preliminary investigation revealed that Kaitlyn was subjected to excessive physical pain due to medical negligence.  

It was also revealed that the schoolgirl had not bathed for a week and a half before she was killed in August.

Her condition, according to experts, was so horrific that she would have suffered constantly from living in such filthy conditions. 

lice bites

Image source: iStock

Due to unsanitary conditions, Kaitlyn’s two brothers were previously taken away from the family home according to documents from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFSC).

Prior to Kaitlyn’s death, it was also said that her neighbours had not seen her playing around the house for up to two months. 

The last time the agency heard from the family was in 2018 where files recorded a call indicating the home was “bug-infested with excessive cats, and hazardous conditions”.

Kaitlyn was briefly placed with her aunt due to that but later returned to her home after six days.

Lice Bites: How To Avoid Future Lice Infestation

Contrary to popular belief, head lice don’t jump or fly to another person’s head. The only way they can spread is through the borrowing of comb, brushes, or hat or sleeping or playing extremely close to a person with lice, so that a louse literally just “walks” over.

Although lice usually die within 24 hours if separated from the head, a complete home cleaning is also recommended together with the shampoo treatment. This will not only prevent getting lice again but helps to ease everyone else’s minds too.

1. Soak all combs and brushes in the houses in hot, soapy water for at least ten minutes.

2. Wash any hats, scarves, hair ties and towels with hot water and dry in a hot setting.

3. Vacuum all upholstered furniture pieces, pillows, car seats and strollers repeatedly.

4. Wash all the sheets on the child’s bed.

5. Cover furniture with a plastic cover for two weeks.

6. Seal stuffed toys in a plastic bag for 2 weeks or place them in the freezer for 24 hours. This is to ensure that the lice dies as they have nothing to feed on.

To prevent future head lice in your child’s hair, remind him or her not to borrow anyone’s comb, brushes or hats. Children with long hair should always wear ponytails or braids.

Additional things to note:

1. Do check everyone in the household for head lice

2. Do call up your child’s school to inform them that your child has head lice

3. There is no need to call for fumigation of your home or a pest control company to come and spray your home

4. Pets do not play a role in the spread of head lice as pet lice cannot survive on human blood.


All About Head Lice: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids’ Hair Clean

‘My Family Struggled With Head Lice for 8 Years and Never Again’


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Written by

Jia Ling

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