FARGO — For nearly five days, Robert Paulsen rarely left his daughter’s side as she struggled for life at Sanford Medical Center. His daughter, Jupiter, a Cheney Middle School student preparing for high school, died June 8 after being repeatedly stabbed in a random attack.
Jupiter was the name she chose for herself, Paulsen said. She was born Daisy Jade.
“I am very, very angry, and I have a lot of pain and heartbreak, a lot of frustration. I have all of that. But if I show that, then the evil won,” Paulsen said after raising a Donate Life flag at the hospital early Wednesday, June 9.
The 14-year-old's organs will be donated, he said.
“That’s why I keep trying to go in a positive direction, as hard as it is. I had a hard time even leaving her bedroom," Paulsen said. He left only to shower and stepped outside "for three seconds" when doctors told him to get some fresh air.
“It’s a dark feeling no parent should ever have to go through. I’m trying to find the light at the end of that tunnel, and I feel trying to push for a positive direction is the only way that’s going to overcome the evil that is in this world,” Paulsen said.
More than 50 people came to the flag-raising event where daisies were handed out and Paulsen raised the Donate Life flag. Sanford Medical Center chaplain Kirsten Frantsvog described the event as a tradition the hospital practices by working with LifeSource, an organization that specializes in organ donations.
“Within all of you, there is hope that there will be a day when your sadness has lightened and memories of Jupiter will bring with them a gentle comfort,” Frantsvog said during the ceremony.
The flag had final messages to Jupiter from friends and family written on the fabric. It will fly for 24 hours.
Tyler Zitzow, a friend of Jupiter who met her through her sister, Phoenix, said she was "one of the sweetest people you would ever meet."
The sisters were inseparable, he said.
“I can’t imagine the pain the family is going through. It is one of those things you wouldn’t wish on even the worst of people,” Zitzow said.
The community came together in support and with donations to a GoFundMe that raised more than $40,000 by Wednesday afternoon to help pay for medical costs.
“To see everyone coming together is amazing,” Zitzow said.
Phoenix said Jupiter was more than a sister — she was a mentor. Even though Phoenix was older, she said Jupiter was like an older sister.
“She was honest, always there to help people. She put others before herself. She was my other half, my best friend,” Phoenix said. “She always wanted to see others smile, even when she was hurting or sad. Family meant everything to her.”
Paulsen said he has five remaining children, adding Jupiter could be a jokester at times. She gave him the nickname "Hot Wheels" after he suffered an ankle injury and couldn’t catch up to his two-year-old child.
At birth, he named her Daisy because the name was supposed to be his, Paulsen said.
“I named her Daisy because my sister wanted (me to be) a girl. And back in the ‘80s ultrasound wasn’t that great, and so they thought I was going to be a girl and Daisy was going to be my name,” said Paulsen, an Army and Navy veteran.
One of Jupiter’s best friends, Makenzie Sutton, said she now feels a calling to help people more.
“We were the outcasts of the school, and we just came together,” said Sutton, who recently graduated from Cheney Middle School. “Jupiter was my best friend, and we were inseparable. I will be on a journey to get through this.”
Another friend and recent Cheney graduate, Lauren Czap, remembered playing on playground equipment, doing flips and tricks with Jupiter.
“Now I will always try to help people, because you never know what will happen,” Czap said.
Jupiter was a girl with many talents, her family said. She played viola in orchestra class. She learned how to play guitar. She was an artist, enjoyed poetry, loved nature and just started working at a nearby Arby’s restaurant when she was killed, allegedly by Arthur Prince Kollie, 22, who now faces a charge of murder.
At the time of the attack on Paulsen, Kollie was on probation for a 2017 conviction for simple assault on a peace officer.
Jupiter was skateboarding from her father’s house to visit her mother before going to work around 7 a.m. when she was randomly attacked, according to court documents. A memorial for Jupiter with flowers, cards, balloons, a teddy bear and a stuffed unicorn popped up near Party City on 13th Avenue.
Following the June 4 attack, Jupiter underwent surgery for her injuries. She was pronounced brain dead on June 8.
Although Paulsen is angry, seeing people come together is a part of the healing process.
“Once justice is done and he gets what he deserves in the long run, then the community will be even more healed,” he said.
As his daughter’s organs are sent to help others live, he hopes the donations will encourage people to do good.
“We have to come together as one. ... It’s supposed to be just like the military training: One team, one fight," Paulsen said. "And that’s the only way we can come together as a community to heal from something like this, so we don’t see this type of stuff ever again."