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'Disrepair and filth': Hearing sheds new light on 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak's final days

A judge ruled there was enough evidence to charge Yozviak's parents with her murder

IVEY, Ga. — WARNING: The following story contains graphic details that some may find disturbing.

The murder charges against the parents of Wilkinson County 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak can now head to a grand jury after a probable cause hearing Monday.

In the hearing, a judge ruled there was enough evidence to charge Katie Horton and Joey Yozviak.

Both Horton and Yozviak are accused of murder after the death of their 12-year-old daughter Kaitlyn last month.

The GBI’s preliminary investigation showed she suffered "excessive physical pain due to medical negligence.”

At the time, Special Agent Mary Chandler said the girl’s condition was one of the worst she’s ever seen, and that the family had an extensive history with the state Department of Family and Children Services.

DFCS documents show that Kaitlyn’s two brothers were removed from Horton and Yozviak’s home because of unsanitary conditions.

In 2008, DFCS opened another case against the pair, around the time Kaitlyn was born, after they decided not to give her up for adoption.

The agency didn’t receive any reports on the family until 2018 where files show a call indicating the home was “bug-infested, [with] excessive cats, and hazardous conditions.”

Kaitlyn was 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 is heavily redacted and concerns a conversation between GBI and DFCS.

Yozviak’s official cause of death has not been released yet because autopsy results are still pending, but Monday’s probable cause hearing provided the clearest look yet into the end of her life.

GBI Special Agent Ryan Hilton told Judge Brenda Trammell that Kaitlyn had “the most severe” lice infestation at the time of her death that the GBI’s office had ever seen, and it may have lasted on and off for at least three years.

Citing medical records from Navicent Health Baldwin, Hilton said Yozviak's primary cause of death was cardiac arrest with a secondary cause being severe anemia.

Hilton said he believed repeated bites from the lice lowered her blood iron levels, which likely caused the anemia, and may have triggered the cardiac attack.

Her mother also told investigators Kaitlyn had not bathed within the last week and half before she died.

Hilton said 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.

Neighbors told agents they hadn't seen Kaitlyn playing around the house for the last month and half to two months before her death.

Both Horton and Joey Yozviak were charged within days after she died.


'We never imagined it would end like this': Couple who planned to adopt Kaitlyn Yozviak speaks after her death

DFCS documents show case history of 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak

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