Woman remembers daughter who died on Business 80 trying to help her friend

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Michele Bryant said her daughter had so many dreams for her future. The 12-year-old wanted to be a fashion designer and a cardiologist -- before she put her life on the line to help a friend in need.

“She was so creative. She could turn anything into art,” Bryant told FOX40 on Friday.

Bryant said her daughter, Kendra Czekaj, loved to paint and sketch visions of her future in her notebook.

“This is a picture of her last year and how she seen this year coming,” her mother explained.

But those dreams never had the chance to come true after her life was cut short Wednesday night.

“There were two people pounding on my door. I didn’t answer it. They left a note on the door. That was the coroner’s office,” Bryant said.

The note left behind informed Bryant her 12-year-old daughter was hit by a truck while running across Business 80 near the Watt Avenue exit in Sacramento.

Investigators say Czekaj was chasing after a 16-year-old girl who ran away from the Children’s Receiving Home when she was killed.

“She had so much she went through, so much on her shoulders. So much she went through and she would still put herself on the side to be there for someone else,” Bryant said.

Bryant said her daughter had only been at the foster care facility for a week and a half.

Even through her struggles, Bryant said she was hopeful her daughter would be coming back home to live with her and her siblings in the upcoming days.

“She was ordered to come home at the last court date,” she explained. “She wanted to come home and that’s what we were fighting for.”

Now, Bryant said she wants answers from the foster care facility as to how her daughter’s death happened.

“The people who were supposed to keep her safe are held accountable for this,” she told FOX40. “Her death is on their hands.”

A Sacramento County spokesperson said the Department of Social Services is now investigating the situation to see if protocols were followed.

A vigil is planned for Czekaj Saturday night at 5 across from the children's home.

“I wanted to see her graduate high school and college, become the doctor she wanted to be, have kids and get married. We get none of that now,” Bryant said.

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