Two Arizona women face murder charges after 9-year-old child dies of lice

Sandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich have been charged with first degree murder following the death of Sandra’s daughter Kelcye from anemia brought on by an untreated case of head lice.

Sandra et Elizabeth KraykovitchSandra et Elizabeth Kraykovitch

Tucson Police DepartmentSandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich have both been charged with first degree murder.

Two Arizona women are facing first-degree murder charges after the nine-year-old girl they were caring for died from a massive lice infestation.

Sandra Kraykovich, 38, and her mother Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, were both charged after Sandra’s daughter Kelcye was found dead in their Tucson home on March 22, according to the state. Documents from the Department of Child Safety.


The local fire department was called at around 2.30am to an unresponsive child at the women’s flat on East Golf Links Road and were unable to revive the nine-year-old girl. Police were called when it became apparent that living conditions at the house were unsafe – and rescuers found “a large amount of insects on his face”.

Two other children, aged 11 and 13, were also in the house which investigators described as dirty.

Sandra told police her daughter was anemic and had been sick for days, suffering from fever, vomiting, headache, difficulty breathing and even difficulty walking, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

The women also told investigators they decided not to take the girl to the emergency room – and instead tried to treat her symptoms with Motrin. In a series of messages, Elizabeth told her daughter that Kelcye couldn’t walk without falling, wouldn’t answer questions and had trouble breathing. In another, Elizabeth accused Sandra of wanting to spend time with her boyfriend instead of caring for her sick child.

The women apparently decided not to take the nine-year-old to the emergency room because of the lice infestation – the very thing that killed her.

According to StarSandra said Kelcye “can’t go to the ER with her hair, but that’s up to me because [you’re] not at home.”


Wikimedia CommonsUntreated head lice infestations can lead to iron deficiencies and anemia, and even death.

One of the other children – who both also had head lice – told police Sandra Kraykovich tried to treat the nine-year-old’s severe infestation with mouthwash. And the day before Kelcye died, Sandra texted her boyfriend, saying, “OMG baby. Look, I’m in my room and my mom called me. [Redacted] asked if I could watch her to make sure she wasn’t dying,” by Law and crime.

Sandra and Elizabeth were quickly arrested and charged with child abuse due to the condition of the other two children. But when the medical examiner’s report on Kelcye came back, the Kraykoviches were both charged with murder.

The autopsy was performed by the Pima County Medical Examiner, who said the cause of the girl’s death was neglect.

“She died of anemia due to an untreated lice infestation with malnutrition as a contributing factor.” said Dr. Gregory L. Hess in May. “It’s the reason.”

Kelcye also suffered from fluid buildup in her lungs and liver necrosis, according to Law & Crime.

Tucson police say Sandra admitted her daughter likely died of neglect, telling them that “if she sought medical attention, [her daughter] would probably still be alive.

Sandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich have been charged with first degree murder and are being held at the Pima County Adult Detention Center. The other two children were placed with relatives.

And as gruesome as the case is, it’s not the first time an adult has faced murder charges due to an untreated infant lice infestation. The New York Times reported In October 2020, 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak of Georgia died of cardiac arrest and severe anemia from repeated lice bites. Her parents were arrested and charged with second degree murder and child cruelty.

After reading the story of the young girl who died of a lice infestation, learn about the shocking case of the mother from Ohio who confessed to prostituting her 11-year-old daughter for heroin. Then, discover the heartbreaking story of Robert Turner, the boy whose mother died because 911 failed him.

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