Updated: May 16, 2012 2:49PM
Jordan Oliver was the baby of her family, a friendly girl who played on a traveling basketball team and loved to be outside.
Oliver, 11, died Tuesday night after slipping underwater in a pond near Pioneer Elementary School.
“We’re just taking it one step at a time,” said Jordan’s father, Jamal Oliver. He stood outside his home Wednesday morning talking with his oldest daughter, Jasmine, who has just finished her first year of college.
“Right now we’re trying to just deal with it,” Oliver said. “She was a very good girl. She liked to ride her bike and she liked to go outside every day.”
While he was outside, Oliver had a visit from Leroy Brown, the Valley View School District’s student and school safety coordinator. Brown declined to comment.
Oliver said he was getting ready to take Jordan to basketball practice when he heard that his fifth-grader had gone under in a pond near her school.
Bolingbrook police and fire crews first responded to the 1400 block of Raven Avenue about 5:30 p.m. Dive teams from Bolingbrook and Naperville found the girl and pulled her from the water about 6:30 p.m., police said.
Crews immediately began CPR and took her to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:08 p.m., police said.
Jackie Malonga, who lives next door to the Oliver family, spoke about Jordan with tears in her eyes.
“I will miss her,” she said. “She’s a sweet angel.”
She has lived next door to the family Jordan’s entire life, she said. Her 12-year-old girls played basketball with Jordan.
“I saw her grow,” Malonga said. “I called her Baby Jordan. She was a very nice girl, she knew how to make friends. I just saw her after school (Tuesday).”
Bolingbrook police say Oliver was part of a group of about six boys and girls who were going “bridge jumping” Tuesday. They climbed onto the side of the bridge, holding onto the iron side rails, then jumped off into the pond.
Oliver jumped in once and was able to swim to shore, police said. She jumped again and resurfaced, but sank again and did not come up.
Jen Chandler, who lives near the bridge, said the pond usually attracts the most kids in the winter.
“My husband and I are always yelling at kids, ‘Get off! It’s not frozen!’” she said, adding that she was not home Tuesday night when emergency crews were trying to help Jordan. “I’ve never seen them scale the side of the bridge. It’s just so sad.”
Flowers and stuffed animals were placed near the bridge Wednesday. Some flowers and petals floated in the water. Several “no swimming” signs were posted around the perimeter of the pond, but none faced the bridge.
Louise Covelli lives nearby and saw the ambulance and emergency crews at the pond Tuesday. She returned to the bridge Wednesday morning.
“It’s so sad. Can you imagine what those kids feel like that were with her? Her friends?” Covelli said. “Poor little girl. Eleven years old.”
The principal at Pioneer Elementary as well as Oliver’s teacher were too distraught to speak to the media Wednesday, a district spokesman said.
Crisis counseling teams were activated Wednesday at Pioneer Elementary School and at Bolingbrook High School, which two of Oliver’s siblings attend, a spokesman for the Valley View School District said.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected loss of Jordan Oliver. She was a very sweet, very responsible young lady and was an outstanding student. We have activated our crisis counseling team to work with any students or staff members who feel the need to talk with someone about what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family,” Pioneer Principal Carmen Killingsworth said in a statement released by the district.
An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, said Will County Coroner Pat O’Neil. Police said the death remains under investigation.