Two Arizona women are facing new charges in connection with the horrific death of a 9-year-old girl who died from symptoms of untreated hair lice, authorities say. Sandra Kraykovich38, the girl’s mother, and Elizabeth Kraykovich64, the girl’s grandmother, were both charged with first-degree murder.
The Tucson Fire Department responded to an 911 call about an unresponsive child at a home on the 8200 block of East Golf Links Road on the morning of March 22, according to a report by Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN-TV. Upon arrival at the gated community, first responders discovered an unconscious 9-year-old girl, attempted life-saving procedures on the child, and contacted the Tucson Police Department. Unfortunately, the medics were unable to revive the girl and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to court documents obtained by KOLD-TV, a Tucson CBS affiliate, after the child was pronounced dead, officials said that “large amounts of bugs began to cover her face.”
“On closer inspection, it turned out that there was an enormous amount of lice in her hair,” first responders told investigators.
In an interview with police, Sandra reportedly said her daughter was suffering from anemia and had been suffering from symptoms including a headache, sore throat, fever, difficulty breathing and difficulty balancing since around March 15.
One of the victim’s older siblings reportedly told police that their mother tried to treat the lice with mouthwash.
Text messages found from the women’s phones reportedly showed they had opted out of medical treatment for the child’s symptoms.
Per KOLD, Sandra sent her boyfriend messages on March 14 and 15, explaining that she knew she had to take her daughter to the hospital. A week later, on March 21, she reportedly wrote, “OMG babe. Listen, I’m in my room and my mom called me. [Redacted] asked if I could check on her to make sure she didn’t die.”
Sandra’s boyfriend reportedly told her to take the child to the hospital, but she allegedly refused.
Texts between Sandra and Elizabeth also appear to indicate that the lice infestation ultimately played a crucial role in the lack of medical treatment.
In one message, Elizabeth, who was allegedly watching Sandra’s children while Sandra was working, threatened to call 911 for her granddaughter. However, she decided against calling for help, writing that the child “can’t go to the ER with her hair, but that’s up to me because you [sic] not at home.”
In an interview, Sandra allegedly admitted that “if she had sought medical help, [her daughter] probably still alive,” investigators wrote in an affidavit.
Sandra and Elizabeth were both arrested in March and initially charged with child molestation, which stemmed from the treatment of the deceased child’s siblings, aged 11 and 13. Police reportedly said both children also suffered from severe infestations of lice Arizona Daily Star. They were placed in the care of other family members.
The Pima County Coroner performed an autopsy and determined that the little girl’s cause of death was neglect.
“There is a cause of death. The manner is undetermined,” said coroner Dr. Gregory L. Hess allegedly said last month. “She died of anemia from untreated lice infestation with malnutrition as a contributing factor. That is the cause.”
dr Hess also noted that the child had fluid buildup in the lung tissue, pale skin and organs, liver necrosis, and an iron deficiency.
Records show that Sandra is currently being held at the Pima County Adult Detention Center on $55,000 bail. Records for Elizabeth were not available online.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office and the Tucson Police Department did not immediately respond to messages from Law&Crime asking for more details.
As Law&Crime has noted in the past, the Arizona case theory is not necessarily new.
The New York Times reported in October 2020 that in a separate case in Georgia, authorities claimed a severe lice infestation killed a 12-year-old in the Peach State. John Joseph Yozviak38 and Mary Katherine Horton37, were initially charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child cruelty over the death of Kaitlyn Yozviak, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. According to local TV and newspaper reports, both parents were subsequently charged in August 2021. The case does not appear to have gone to court.
[image via Tucson Police Department]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/sandra-elizabeth-kraykovich-arizona-hair-lice-murder-case/ Sandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich charged in hair louse deaths