The mother and grandmother of a 9-year-old Arizona girl have been charged with murder after authorities discovered that the child suffered from a severe untreated lice infestation when she died, according to reports.
Sandra Kraykovich, 38, and Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, were initially charged with felony child abuse after they were arrested in March in connection with the girl’s death and the condition of her two siblings, ages 11 and 13, KGUN reported.
An autopsy determined that the 9-year-old died of “anemia from untreated lice infestation with malnutrition as a contributing factor,” Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Gregory Hess wrote, Law and Crime reported.
He added that that the girl also had a fluid buildup in her lungs, liver necrosis and an iron deficiency, according to the outlet.
Her siblings, who also suffered from severe lice infestations, were placed in the custody of relatives, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Sandra told police her 9-year-old daughter suffered from anemia and had been sick since March 15 – describing the symptoms as vomiting, fever, headache, difficulty breathing and balance issues, the Daily Star said, citing court records.
On March 22, Tucson firefighters responded to the family’s apartment on East Gold Links Road, where the girl was pronounced dead after first-responders attempted life-saving measures, KOLD reported.
Police officers noted concerns about living conditions at the scene, where officials said bugs began to cover the dead girl’s face.
“Upon closer inspection it was discovered that there was an enormous amount of lice in her hair,” first responders told police, KGUN reported.
One of the older siblings reportedly told investigators that their mother had tried to treat the lice using mouthwash.
Sandra said she had considered taking her daughter to the hospital, but changed her mind when she returned home and found her sleeping, according to KOLD.
When police checked Sandra’s phone, she had messaged her boyfriend saying she needed to take her daughter to the emergency room.
“OMG babe. Listen I’m in my room and my mom was called me. (Name redacted) was asking if I could check on her to make sure she isn’t dying,” Sandra texted her boyfriend on March 21, the outlet reported.
The boyfriend urged Sandra to take the girl to the hospital, but she didn’t, according to the report.
Elizabeth, who is retired and cared for the kids when Sandra was at work,
messaged her daughter earlier that the girl “can’t go to the ER with her hair but that’s left up to me cause your not home.”
The grandmother also messaged Sandra to complain that the other children didn’t help and accused her daughter of being more interested in hanging out with her boyfriend than taking care of her sick kid, KOLD reported.
Sandra told investigators that she realized that if she had gotten her daughter medical care, she would still be alive – adding that she should have gotten help, but didn’t because of the lice infestation.
Detectives from the Child Physical Abuse Unit charged the two women with felony child abuse. They were later also charged with first-degree murder.