“He was dead when we got there,” Father mourning after son, nephew die in ATV accident

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PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) - It was common to see 3-year-old Jayden Secrest and 5-year-old Blake Cronkite together, playing on their motorbikes and ATVs.

"I can't even put into words how much my son loved him. And how much he loved my son," Billy Secrest, Jayden's dad, told KTXL.

Tragically, those lives were claimed when they had an accident with Cronkite's ATV.

About an hour before the crash, Jayden's dad rode alongside the boys.

After playing, Secrest told the boys to stop riding because he had to go back to building a fence.

He says the boys always knew they could only ride when adults were with them.

Before walking away, Secrest heard three little words, which would be for the very last time.

"My baby says, 'I love you,' and I always tell my baby I love him, man... always," Secrest said.

Secrest says he thought the kids were playing in a nearby sandbox, but they had apparently decided to get back on the ATV.

That's when he heard screams.

In an instant, Blake's father was at Jayden's side.

"He was trying to give him CPR. That's when I noticed there was water. He was dead, man. He was dead when we got there. That's my baby," he said.

After 10 minutes of CPR, Brandon Cronkite realized Blake was also missing and the ATV was under water.

"Eventually he found him, he handed him out to me. He was dead," said Secrest.

In the past, tragedies have reminded Secrest of how lucky he is to have his kids by his side.

"Where it's happened, all I can do is hug my kids and just thank God it wasn't my kid. And this time, I don't get to do that, man," he said.

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