Girl at center of neighbor troubles dies

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — Kathleen Edward’s two-year battle reached its end Wednesday when the 9-year-old girl died from Huntington’s Disease.

Kathleen reportedly died at 10:07 p.m. in Wyandotte, after feeling ill in recent days. Kathleen’s mother, Laura Edward, died of Huntington’s in 2009.

The family’s long struggle was compounded by international attention when a Detroit Street neighbor of Kathleen and Laura, Jennifer Petkov, posted a picture of Laura superimposed with a skull and crossbones. Petkov was subject to several court appearances last year over charges that she attempted to run down a neighbor with her car and violated terms of her probation.

In response to Petkov’s online infamy, Kathleen received support from around the world. Facebook pages flooded the Internet with thoughts and prayers for the family. Last year, when online sentiments turned to anger against the Petkovs, Kathleen’s grandmother, Rebecca Rose, asked that people instead remember the little girl’s spirit.

“I know people mean well,” Rose said. “If you want to help, then help us find a cure.”

The family requested that donations or memorials in Kathleen’s name be made through Michigan Memorial Funeral Home in Flat Rock, where services were scheduled.

(James Mitchell can be reached at