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We need answers, we cannot put pieces of puzzle together; Parents of river death boy make appeal for witnesses.

Byline: SARAH SCOTT

BY SARAH SCOTT THE heartbroken parents of Kayden Fleck have opened up about the "nightmare" they are living since the death of their son.

The five-year-old fell into the River Braid in Ballymena, Co Antrim, on February 10 and was swept downstream.

Emergency services sprang into action with police helicopters and vehicles joining a massive search operation within minutes.

The Harryville Primary School pupil was pulled from the water and flown by air ambulance to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where he tragically died later that day.

Parents Darrel and Leanne Fleck spoke to the BBC about what happened that day.

The couple, who married three weeks ago, were moving house and had returned to their former home in Ballykeel to collect their final belongings.

Mr Fleck said Kayden and twin brother Jayden had asked if they could go outside to the back yard.

He added: "We didn't think that was going to be the last time we were going to see the two boys as the two musketeers."

Mr Fleck said he turned his back for a few seconds and they were gone.

Within minutes the family were looking for them.

Mrs Fleck said: "I thought the boys were in the park. I ran to the park but they were not there so I started searching. But when Jayden then cried for help over at the Ecos Centre, that's when I knew something terrible had happened." Jayden was found running from the river, which is around half-a-mile from the family's former home, with his clothes soaked.

The couple said he has since told them he tried to help his twin out of the water but could not reach him.

A huge search and rescue operation was launched and Kayden was swept four miles along the river.

Mrs Fleck said: "Jayden has just told us Kayden wanted to go to the park, he wanted to see the ducks, so he is saying they went and were in the park and were playing. Kayden wanted to go home but wanted to take a path he thought would take him home. We can't understand how they got so far.

"Other than that he's been very quiet, he's playing but he's just lost."

Mr and Mrs Fleck appealed for anyone who saw the boys at around 1pm to come forward.

They said: "We need answers. We cannot put the pieces of this puzzle together. I just want to know if anyone saw them, what were they doing? "Were they with anyone? What directions did they take? We need to know what happened, and how it happened."

Paying tribute to her son, who had been born with a congenital heart defect and chronic lung disease, Mrs Fleck said he was her "ray of sunshine".

She added: "It's been a nightmare, it's been terrible. We just feel so empty and lost, he was the life and soul of the house.

"He was fun, he was bubbly. When things got bad he made them right.

"He was there to give you a hug and wipe away the pain but the pain is never going to go away."

Mr and Mrs Fleck are now appealing for greater safety measures to be put in place around rivers near built-up residential areas.

Mrs Fleck said: "I don't want another family to go through this. I don't want another child to be Kayden."

sarah.scott@trinitymirror.com

CAPTION(S):

TRAGIC Kayden Fleck and his funeral service last week

HEARTBROKEN Leanne and Darrel Fleck with photo of their twin boys
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 20, 2018
Words:594
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