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Mom and grandma charged with murder after girl, 9, killed by head lice infestation

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A nine-year-old girl was found dead on March 22 with “an enormous amount of lice in her hair” and text messages show her mother and grandmother knew she needed medical attention

The mother and grandmother of a nine-year-old girl have been charged with first-degree murder after she was killed by a severe lice infestation.

Sandra Kraykovich, 38, and Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, were initially arrested on child molestation charges.

According to court documents obtained by KOLD-TV, paramedics who were called to the unidentified girl’s home in Tuscon, Ariz. on March 22 found her unresponsive “with a large amount of bugs on her face.”

“On closer inspection, it was discovered that there was an enormous amount of lice in her hair,” first responders told police after they were unable to revive her.

Sandra told police her daughter suffered from anemia and had been ill since around March 15 with symptoms including fever, headache, difficulty breathing, sore throat and difficulty balancing, reports Der Spiegel.

According to an autopsy, the young girl died of anemia related to infection from a lice infestation. Malnutrition also contributed to her death.

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 showed they had chosen not to seek medical treatment for the child’s symptoms.

Sandra texted her boyfriend on March 14 and 15 saying she knew she had to take her daughter to the hospital.

A week later on March 21, she 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.

The girl’s grandmother also knew the child was critically ill and threatened to call 911 while she watched her and her daughter’s other children.

However, she decided against it, texting Sandra that the girl “can’t go to the ER with her hair, but that’s up to me because you [sic] not at home”.

Police said Sandra admitted her negligence led to the death of her youngest child and told an officer that “if she had sought medical attention,[her daughter]would probably still be alive,” one said affidavit.

Sandra and Elizabeth were both arrested in March and initially charged with child molestation in connection with their treatment of the child’s siblings, aged 11 and 13.

Police reportedly said both children also suffered from severe infestations of lice.

The children are believed to have been placed in the care of other family members.

Sandra is being held at the Pima County Adult Detention Center on $55,000 (£44,600) bail.

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