CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Friends of 12-year-old Kendra Czekaj say they’re talking now because they want justice. They’re worried Kendra’s death on January 15th means her father, Carewin “Glenn” Czekaj, will not receive the punishment they say he deserves.
Czekaj was arrested on March 5, 2019 and charged with seven felony counts of rape and sexual abuse of a minor. In May 2019, prosecutors added five additional felony charges of rape and sexual abuse of a minor.
Court documents refer to the victim as Kendra Doe. At a hearing for Glenn Czekaj on January 24, Deputy District Attorney Sydne Jones confirmed the victim was, indeed, Kendra Czekaj.
Amber Hutton knew Kendra from the time she was just six-years-old. Her 14-year-old daughter, Sabrina, and her 13-year-old niece, Isabella, had been friends with Kendra most of their lives.
“I asked her, 'When did it start?’” said Hutton recalling a conversation she had with Kendra. “She said, ’I think I was about seven or eight years old when it first started.’ And I said, 'Why did you wait so long to say something?' And she said, 'I didn't want to lose my dad.’”
Isabella and Sabrina fondly remembered their friend.
“A heart-warming person,” said Isabella. “Very energetic. “She was an amazing person. She had an amazing personality.”
“She always was always laughing,” added Sabrina. “She always kept a smile on her face, full-time.”
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Kendra was struck and killed by a truck on I-80 on January 15 as she chased after a friend. The two had been staying at the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento at the time.
“She couldn't even breathe because she was crying so hard,” explained Amber, gesturing to her daughter Sabrina. “It's just...that little girl. Her life was just cut way too short. And sure enough, you know, she left this world saving somebody else.”
Amber, Sabrina and Isabella said Kendra had begun telling them what happened to her before she died.
"When I talked to her about it, I believed her right away,” said Hutton. “You can see the hurt in her eyes when she first started talking about it. I asked her how she was doing and she just started to tear up and I just told her, ‘Kendra honey, none of this is your fault.' And she felt so guilty for breaking up her family. And I just told her, ‘This is not your fault. This is your dad's fault.' And to have to say that to a child is just heartbreaking.
Isabella said Kendra admitted a heavy secret to her before her death.
“When she told me what happened, she also told me that two other girls got...raped,” said Isabella. “She had told me two other girls got raped.”
Isabella said the alleged victims were raped by Glenn Czekaj.
“I was at my aunt Amber's and me and Sabrina were on Facetime with her for like about three hours,” said Isabella. “And then when Sabrina walked away, I said, 'Was it you or more girls?' And she said it was two other girls and they were my friends. And we were really close.”
Hutton said she’s concerned about the other kids Glenn Czekaj may have come into contact with.
“She always had friends going to spend the night,” explained Hutton. “And I'm just so happy that I'm such a strict mom that Sabrina never really got to go there to spend a night or nothing.”
Hutton said this is why they are speaking out, because they believe there could be other victims.
Citrus Heights Police said they are unaware of additional alleged victims but they encourage anyone with information to call them.
Hutton also expressed her concern about Czekaj’s position as a coach and a member of the board of the Junior Mavericks youth football league. Czekaj held these positions for years.
“It was our Maverick family,” said Sabrina.
“We were always close,” admitted Isabella. “We would always work in the snack bars together.”
“He was a coach,” said Hutton. “He was a regular dad. I mean, we all looked up to them as far as with our children.”
Hutton said she wants justice for Kendra.
“I hope that he has to pay for what he's done,” explained Hutton. “And I hope that if there are more victims they come forward because that would make a world of difference, especially because [Kendra's] not here to speak for herself anymore.”
ABC10 reached out to Czekaj’s attorney, Charles Luckman, but did not receive a response.
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