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Teens who died helping to rescue 5-year-old in Texas river remembered as selfless, hardworking

"They didn't even think, they just jumped to try to help."

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas — Loved ones are mourning after two Beaumont teens drowned while trying to save a 5-year-old girl in the Trinity River over the weekend.

One thing is clear: the two young men were hardworking and selfless. 

Their loved ones say Jaerson Alvarez and Wilmer Rodriguez will be remembered as two of the most caring boys they knew.

A fishing trip ended with loved ones mourning the loss of two teenagers from Beaumont.

Erik Frausto is 17-year-old Wilmer's friend. 

"Can you imagine, they didn't even know how to swim, they didn't even think, they just jumped to try to help," Frausto said. 

On Sunday, he and his cousin, 18-year-old Jaerson jumped into the Trinity River to help a 5-year-old girl. 

Jaerson jumped in first, but never came back up. His brother-in-law Ariel Osman Nieto says Wilmer was trying to help.

"Wilmer -- went in and wanted to help, but neither of them came back up," Nieto said.    

He and other witnesses told 12News many of the people at the river that night had been drinking. The sheriff's office can't say if that was a factor, because it wasn't part of the drowning investigation.

Nieto says the boys gave everything they could.

"All to save a little girl who they didn't even know and wasn't part of their lives," Nieto said. 

MORE | GoFundMe page

But loved ones say that's just who they were, hardworking and selfless.

Both boys did what they had to do to take care of their families. 

Nieto said Jaerson's child is only a few days old. 

Wilmer is the oldest of five siblings from Honduras. Frausto remembers Wilmer talking about how much he loved his brother and wanted to see him succeed.

"He had a lot of plans. He wanted to send him money so he could continue going to school," Frausto said.

Now friends and family are doing everything they can to help get the boys back home.

"God only knows what the mother is feeling right now, not knowing if she's going to be able to see her baby for the last time," Frausto said. 

"One way or another we're going to get them back home," Nieto said.

There aren't any funeral plans yet, but there are two GoFundMe pages set up to help with expenses to send both boys back to Honduras.