Vigil For JROTC Teen Who Died Helping A Friend In Cliff Jumping Accident

(FOX 11) "Attention," yelled Junior ROTC Master Sergeant Denmark as she began a Last Roll Call with a group of privates.

"Jesse Yuth," she called out knowing there would be no answer.

"Private Jesse Yuth," she yelled again. Sniffles and sobs sounded through the crowd as taps started to play, a final farewell to a promising young recruit.

The Signal Hill teen most like hit a rock while jumping 50 feet from a cliff into to a pool of water with friends at Hermit Falls in Angeles National Forest around 8:45 am Wednesday.

Loved ones say he was trying to help someone who couldn't swim before he passed away.

Julio Navarro was of of the five friends who had gone cliff jumping with Yuth.

"He was one of the greatest human beings, I've ever known. I'm going to miss him so much because he was such a beautiful person," Navarro said.

Noah Roman was also at Hermit Falls. He says he tried to get to Jesse after he came to the surface with blood coming out his nose.

"Yesterday Jesse was being Jesse. We were having fun. The only thing I would change is I wish I could have got there faster," Roman said.

"He had a heart to help others. It's the reason he drown. He helped a drown girl,"

Yuth's father Matthew Soth said.

Soth says he always worried about his son joining the military. Soth tells FOX11 he escaped the killing fields in Cambodia in the 1970's. He says he came to the U.S. to raise a family and that his son loved his country.

"One day I say, son, you know how dangerous it is. A bullet hits you and you just disappear in a second. He said dad, I'd rather die for my country than die alone on my bed," Soth said remember a conversation he had with this son. "I have no word for him. He dies a hero."

Yuth's mother Sambo Yuth says her son wouldn't want her to cry remembering how he was such a positive young man.

"I'm so proud of my son. In one part it's healing my heart. A lot of people love him and care about him. I know he wants me to smile. He'd say you should be proud of me. Be happy don't be sad. 53:54. I always used to sing to him you are my sunshine," Yuth said.

Services are planned for Saturday. A GoFundMe account had been set up to help pay for expenses.

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