Mother and Grandmother Charged With Murder After 9-Year-Old Girl Dies of Head Lice Infestation

An Arizona mother and grandmother have been charged with murder after a 9-year-old girl died from an infestation of head lice.

Sandra Kraykovich, 38, and Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, had been facing child abuse charges following the suspicious death in March; now prosecutors have upgraded the charges to first-degree murder.

On the morning of March 22, Tucson Fire Department responded to a call reporting an unresponsive child at a home in a gated community on Golf Links Road.

Medics attempted life-saving measures but were unable to resuscitate her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. That’s when, according to court documents obtained by KGUN “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.”

Police said that during interviews, Sandra admitted her daughter had been ill since March 14, suffering from anemia, headache, sore throat, fever, and had difficulty breathing and keeping her balance.

They also said that texts from the women’s phones showed they knew the girl was sick, but did not seek any medical help — because they didn’t want to take her due to her head lice.

One of the deceased’s older siblings reportedly told police that the mother had attempted to treat the lice using mouthwash.

According to KOLD, phone records show Sandra texted her boyfriend on March 14 and 15 stating that she knew the girl needed to go to the ER.

On March 21, the day before the girl died, she allegedly wrote “OMG babe. Listen I’m in my room and my mom called me. [Redacted] was asking if I could check on her to make sure she isn’t dying.”

In another text, the grandmother reportedly complained about having to watch all the kids while her daughter was spending time with her boyfriend, and threatened to call 911 — but did not.

“… can’t go to the ER with her hair but that’s left to me because your (sic) not home,” she texted Sandra, per the docs.

Both women were arrested in March on charges stemming from abuse of the older two siblings, aged 11 and 13, who were also infested with head lice.

The two were taken from the home — described as “dirty” and in a “general state of disarray” — and placed in the care of other family members.

In May, medical examiners finally concluded the cause of the 9-year-old girl’s death: anemia due to acute and chronic pediculosis — AKA lice infestation.

Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Gregory L. Hess also found fluid buildup in her lung tissue, pale skin and organs, liver necrosis, and an iron deficiency.

“There is a cause of death. The manner is undetermined,” Dr. Hess said at the time. “She died from anemia from untreated lice infestation with malnutrition as a contributing factor. That’s the cause.”

Prosecutors now believe that manner is homicide — and the charges have been upgraded accordingly.

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