Mum, grandma charged with murder after girl dies from head lice infestation

·2-min read

A mother and grandmother have been charged with murder after a child was found dead with an "enormous" amount of lice on her face and in her hair.

In March this year, authorities were called to a home in Tucson, Arizona, following reports of an unresponsive child.

Despite best efforts, the nine-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene, where officers noted concerns with the child's living conditions and welfare.

According to court documents seen by local media, first responders reported: “...a large amount of bugs began to cover her face. Upon closer inspection it was discovered that there was an enormous amount of lice in her hair”.

The child's mother, Sandra Kraykovich, 38, told officers her child suffered from anemia and became sick earlier in March.

The nine-year-old child died at home, due to anemia connected to a head lice infestation. Source: KGUN
The nine-year-old child died at home, due to anemia connected to a head lice infestation. Source: KGUN

The mother said her daughter had symptoms such as vomiting, fever, headache, difficulty breathing and she struggled to walk.

Sandra and the child's grandmother, Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, were both arrested back in March while the police were investigating the child's death.

The two are now facing first-degree murder charges, local news station KGUN reported.

The girl reportedly died of anemia due to the head lice infestation while malnutrition contributed to her death.

Text messages indicate mum knew girl was sick

Sandra exchanged text messages with her boyfriend and mother, which indicated she knew her child was sick.

Sandra's boyfriend and Elizabeth suggested the child needed treatment and the 64-year-old even threatened to call for help, KGUN reported.

“... Can’t go to the ER with her hair but that’s left to me because your (sic) not home," Elizabeth reportedly wrote, with a possible reference to the head lice.

After a nine-year-old child died, mother Sandra Kraykovich (left) and grandmother Elizabeth Kraykovich have been charged with first-degree murder. Source: tucson.com/Tucson Police Department
After a nine-year-old child died, mother Sandra Kraykovich (left) and grandmother Elizabeth Kraykovich have been charged with first-degree murder. Source: tucson.com/Tucson Police Department

Elizabeth also provided care to the nine-year-old, the news station reported.

Sandra considered taking her child to the hospital due to her symptoms, but when she returned home she saw her child was sleeping and decided against it, Arizona Daily Star reported.

Sandra and Elizabeth were also caring for two other children, aged 11 and 13, who both had severe head lice infestations.

Both children have been removed from the home.

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