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Teen accused of killing grandmother had ‘behavioral issues’ after witnessing Ukraine war, warrant says

A 14-year-old girl who is accused of killing her grandmother in Lauderdale Lakes had recently moved to South Florida from Ukraine, where she witnessed the ongoing war, and was experiencing “behavioral issues,” according to a warrant for her arrest.

Yevheniia Koval, 79, was found unresponsive by her son about 12:30 a.m. May 23 at a home in the 4100 block of Northwest 41st Street, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday. Koval’s son said he left his 14-year-old daughter with his mother when he went out to visit a friend.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel is not identifying the girl because she is a minor, and prosecutors have not decided whether she will be charged as an adult or a juvenile.

The name of the person who found Koval unresponsive and called 911 is redacted in the warrant, though it is clear in the document that he is the girl’s father and Koval’s son.

Koval was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 1 a.m., according to the arrest warrant. Detectives interviewed the girl’s father, who said she “had been giving him behavioral issues, which he believed are from the war she witnessed in Ukraine and her being separated from her mother,” the warrant said.

14-year-old girl accused of killing her grandmother in Lauderdale Lakes

He took the girl’s cellphone away that day to discipline her and left the apartment about 7 p.m. to visit a friend in Oakland Park, the warrant said. Koval was on the floor when he came back with “bruising all over her body” that wasn’t there earlier.

The girl told her father that Koval “scratched her” and that she “had to defend herself,” the warrant said. Koval’s body was examined at the hospital, and the nature of her injuries are redacted in the warrant. An autopsy by the Broward Medical Examiner determined that the manner of death was homicide.

The Sheriff’s Office said the girl was admitted to a hospital the same day for “medical clearance” and taken into custody Friday. She faces one count of second-degree murder.

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