DUNSEITH, N.D. — While she was out of town Saturday, April 17, Paige Counts saw news of an accident spreading fast on social media. She commented on the post and offered her prayers.
Minutes later, she was told her cousin, 8-year-old Jaylynn Belgarde, was killed in the accident.
The little girl is being remembered for her love of dancing, along with her curly hair, big smile and selfies with mom.
"(She was) a big-hearted little girl, and way too tiny for this to happen," Counts said.
The second grader loved TikTok and dreamed to one day get famous on the social media platform, but her voice went silent, the screen dark on Saturday afternoon.
She was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she hesitated while crossing Highway 281. Jaylynn was with two other cousins, walking to buy some candy at the nearby T&M Convenience Store.
Joshua Forschen, 25, of Dunseith, is charged with felony manslaughter and felony hit-and-run involving the death of a victim. He drove into the east ditch and fled the scene, according to the Rolette County State's Attorney.
According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, he tried to ditch the car, but someone spotted him coming out of the woods. Forschen was arrested two days after the incident.
Jaylynn's family is trying to hold in its anger at the thought of someone leaving the scene of the crash.
"A baby. A little, tiny, petite, little girl," said Counts, wondering how someone could leave the girl behind to die.
Cars lined the street to welcome Jaylynn when her body was taken to the funeral home, proof of just how much she was loved by the community.
The family is seeking justice for Jaylynn while grieving their sudden loss.
"It probably will never heal the wound, probably just be better that we never see him again," Counts said.
Jaylynn's TikTok videos have now become more important than ever to the grieving family.
"It's an empty feeling, but we will always have her TikToks," her cousin said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money for a butterfly headstone for Jaylynn, who will be laid to rest on Monday, April 26.