TRENTON (WWJ) – The Downriver girl who attracted worldwide attention for a neighbor’s taunting during her battle with Huntington’s Disease has died.

Nine-year-old Kathleen Edward, of Trenton, died Wednesday night after a long bout with pneumonia, which is especially tough for Huntington’s patients to beat.

“Kathleen far exceeded our expectations of survival. She’s the strongest little girl I ever met in my entire life, and she didn’t quit fighting. Now she gets to go into the arms of her mother, Laura,” said family friend Michelle Yerigian.

Kathleen was diagnosed with the disease when she was about 3 years old. She was just 6 years old when her mother died of Huntington’s disease at the age of 24.

Kathleen attracted attention from around the world when they learned she was the subject of online taunting by her neighbor, Jennifer Petkov. Petkov published a photo of the terminally ill schoolgirl on Facebook above a set of skull and crossed bones. Petkov also allegedly attached a coffin to her truck, labeled it “Death Machine” and drove it down the street honking the horn.

The girl’s plight sparked cards and letters of support from around the world, and Yerigian’s job was to field the truckloads of mail that came weekly for the girl.

“This little girl touched a lot of people’s lives and not just in Michigan, but across the world. She has friends from Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, people all over the world have reached out to this little girl and the world is now a sadder place without her in it. But, I think she taught us a very strong lesson in that faith, hope and love can just do amazing things,” said Yerigian.

The family is currently making funeral plans.  Meantime, Yerigian said Petkov is due in court next week.

Comments (42)
  1. wilder125 says:

    I wonder if Jennifer Petkov realizes that unless she sets aside money for her own funeral, or her son contributes to the cost, she’ll probably wind up with a courtesy grave somewhere due to someone feeling sorry for her. Of course, if other family have decided to side with her then I guess she’s covered.

    1. steve wilson says:

      And hopefully that will be real soon.

    2. sjyhg says:

      wow thats so sad i bet she was a really sweet girl:)

  2. arm66 says:

    Too bad the petkov loser wasn’t the topic of this story instead.

  3. Skipdallas says:

    Rest in Peace you beautiful girl.
    As for the cold-hearted twisted woman and her sick taunts of this girl: There is a special place waiting for you in Hell. GOD ! what an evil thing to do!

  4. Spike Spiegel says:

    God is looking after Kathleen, same as he’s looking after Jennifer. In this life or the next, God will take care of you.

    1. Skipdallas says:

      Yes, God can exact vengeance, especially when you mess with his Angels, and certainly, Kathleen is one of HIS Angels

    2. Jl says:

      Yeah, God is looking after her, the same God that lets a little girl lose her mom to a genetic disease she has no control over and then smites the daughter too.

      1. bones says:

        Wow at least one poster here is awake!

  5. Skipdallas says:

    Really, it beggars the imagination how this woman can even show her face in public. This is one of those stories that just angers and confuses me as to WHY !

    My heart goes out to the surviving family of this young girl and her Mother.

  6. Deborah Henderson says:

    Jennifer Petkov has a special place in HELL for her! This a sick woman and I hope she doesn’t have any children! She would not qualify to be a mother!!

    1. Edward Schramek says:


  7. SA says:

    Godspeed sweet angel.

    1. Tristin says:

      My son Gabriel is 6 yrs old, he has been displaying symptons since the age of 2, I pray he does not suffer. If anyone has any information on this disease please do not hesitate to contact me. Im finding it difficult to find anything on Huntingtons in young children.

  8. marje says:

    Satan will be looking for this excuse for a human being, not God. Good luck in hell.

  9. marje says:

    God bless you Kathleen. Rest well among the angels. They will take care of you .
    Condolences to the family. The loss of a child is the hardest loss to face.

  10. jeandarc says:

    The Petkov “person” must already live in her own hell. How else to explain her behavior?

    I wish that sweet little child had lived. We sure could use more of her kind here.

  11. Toni says:

    How can ANYONE look at that sweet angel’s face and that smile and NOT get emotional is beyond me. My husband is a 6’4″ (not that it matters) muscular black man and he looked at Kathleen’s picture, read the story and started crying. As for that MAGGOT Jennifer Petkov, you’re a pathetic, insecure, disgusting, low life who my husband and I wish eternal damnation! YOU ARE SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. tammy says:

    Petkov may you live forever,never get sick or old oz there is a hell set aside for you!! A grown ass womwn taunting a kid and joyful about the passing of her mother can only be something from the pits of hell where you belong1 rest in peace little angel!!

    1. sh says:

      Well said! What kind of woman actually taunts a little girl? Much less, a little precious girl dying??????

  13. sh says:

    Mother and daughter are reunited in a place where there are no souls like the Petkovs. Meanwhile, Satan is laughing at the work the Petkovs have done for him. He’ll be sure to reward them with a special place in hell. One can only hope that their remaining years on Earth will be hell, also.

  14. Daniela Osnaya says:

    this is actually crazy !!!!!!!! like evryone had said that lady has a speacial place for her shes a low life ignorant,selfish bastrad!.and R.I P.Kathleen.!!!Condolcense for the family!

  15. MB says:

    Petkov better watch her back. That Karma is a sure b!tch…

  16. SoFlaNow says:

    Sweet Kathleen, r.i.p. And Mr. Edward, my best wishes and sympathy to you. It has been many rough years and you are a strong man.

    Kathleen’s age touches me a little more since I moved to Trenton long ago when I was 9 years old. So I spent my childhood there and am familiar with the city streets, the Detroit River, the park (and Elizabeth Park as well), although I live in another state now. I’m sure that your daughter was able to enjoy many things in the brief time that she had. Of course she looks happy, she had excellent parents.

    1. SoFlaNow says:

      Just read more about this child’s life. So I don’t forget: wonderful grandparent(s) as well.

  17. Shirley Lechowicz says:

    Why would any human taunt a 9 yr old girl? I don’t understand what Kathleen ever did to Petkov to deserve this kind of treatment. My prayrs are with Kathleen’s family.

  18. Shirley Lechowicz says:

    Why would any human taunt a 9 yr old girl? I don’t understand what Kathleen ever did to Petkov to deserve this kind of treatment. My prayers are with Kathleen’s family.

  19. Sean Gerrity says:

    On January 11, 2012, little Kathleen passed away. Below is a very old message from One who loves children dearly, meant for people like Ms. Petkov. God bless you Kathleen; your angels are with you…

    “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

    ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

    ‘If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

    ‘Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.’”

  20. Julie Hinson says:

    It is so sad may Kathleen rest in peace and the Edwards family have comfort and love in thier time of mourning , am so very sorry for your lost know that the lil angel she was here on earth so she shall be in Heaven and know that she is now in the loving arms of her mom, Prayers for the Edward Family!

  21. Nanc says:

    I never heard about this story until tonight. I will not repeat the womans name who taunted this sweet angel for she is not worth rememberance. My Love and Prayers only go to the family of Kathleen. I am so sorry that you have had to endure such pain in your lives yet so grateful for the time you were able to share wonderful memories with Kathleen and her Mother. You are now blessed with two angels who will watch over you and will always be there when you call for them. Trust that one day you will unite and see the beauty that they are witness to now. Try to find piece in your heart for they have gone to a place where there is no pain, only joy, love, where the lion lays with the lamb. May Your God Bless You and help you find piece in your heart… Nanc

  22. Jonathan Torry says:

    There is so much EVIL in this world unfortunetly their children the Petkov”s will most likely be just like their parents being that are raised with all of that hate in their lives. RIP Kathleen may God Blees you and deliver you into the hands of your Mother.

  23. David D. says:

    They messed up, saying she has friends all over the world she can’t “have” friends if she is dead, she “had” them.

  24. creeper00 says:

    I suspect we have not heard the last of Jennifer Petkov.

  25. cheychey says:

    Rip sweet lil. angel, for the worstless Petkov’s the creator has a place for people like you..

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