Boy who died in pond identified

Teen jumped from pier into the pond while at party

Boats and divers from many fire departments search for a person under the age of 18 in a pond that is in back of a house on Haligus Road in unincorporated area near Lakewood.  Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com
Boats and divers from many fire departments search for a person under the age of 18 in a pond that is in back of a house on Haligus Road in unincorporated area near Lakewood. Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com

CRYSTAL LAKE – A 15-year-old Crystal Lake boy who died Thursday night after being rescued from a pond was identified by the McHenry County Coroner Friday as Jose A. Esquivel.

An autopsy determined the preliminary cause of death was drowning, according to a news release from the coroner.

Esquivel was pulled from the water by emergency responders Thursday night after about an hour and a half of searching a pond located behind a home at 6100 Haligus Road in unincorporated Crystal Lake. He was taken to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock, where he was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m.

Emergency crews arrived at the scene just after 9 p.m. and located the boy at 10:37 p.m.

No suspicious circumstances or foul play is suspected, according to the coroner’s release.
Esquivel was a freshman at Crystal Lake Central High School, where he ran track and field and cross country for the school.

Bill Eschman, head coach of cross country and an assistant track coach, said he would remember Esquivel as an energetic kid with an infectious smile that made him a favorite among his teammates.

“I’d see him every day through the whole year,” Eschman said. “I’ve probably seen him upset or down maybe twice. That’s what the guys loved about him. He was just a great kid that was always upbeat and happy, always willing to goof around.”

It didn’t take long for Esquivel, whose brother ran for the school before graduating last year, to fit in with his teammates, Eschman said.

“The cross country, track guys are a tight bunch,” he said. “We preach family, and that’s how we treat everybody. He was a part of our family. He was the type of kid that everybody gravitated to. He fit in right from the start.”

Esquivel was attending a party for another teen at a residence on Haligus Road Thursday night when the incident occurred, according to a press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses at the scene said the boy stripped off some of his clothes and jumped in the pond from a pier, the release said. The Crystal Lake Fire Department was called after he failed to surface.

No information obtained at this time indicates that alcohol or drugs were a factor, the release said. There is no indication of any other criminal activity.

The sheriff’s office does not anticipate any arrests or criminal charges as a result of the incident.

“He was unconscious when he was pulled out of the water,” Crystal Lake Deputy Fire Chief Paul DeRaedt said Thursday night. “We treated this as a cold water drowning so we handled this as a rescue. Based on the temperature of the water and his age, the viability of surviving is much greater.”

The Crystal Lake Fire Department was dispatched at 9:05 p.m. Thursday for a subject in the water, arriving on the scene at 9:11 p.m., DeRaedt said. A mutual aid request for divers was made when crews were en route and a subsequent second alarm called for additional aid.

Firefighters wore water suits that allowed them to search the pond and along the shore until the divers arrived.

At 10:37 p.m., divers located the victim in about eight feet of water and removed him to waiting paramedics for treatment, according to a press release from the Crystal Lake Fire Department.

Crystal Lake was assisted by fire departments from McHenry, Lake and Kane counties. Also assisting was the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the McHenry County Crisis Team.

On Friday, classmates, friends and teachers of Esquivel expressed their condolences for him on Twitter and Facebook.

Although classes were out for the holiday weekend, a crisis team assembled at Crystal Lake Central to plan for Monday. Some caught wind of the group and came in for counseling on their off day, District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma said.

“I understand that some students stopped by as well as some family members,” Puma said.

He said the team will assemble before students arrive on Monday – a scheduled late start – to get settled and make themselves available to staff members.

“They need support as well,” Puma said. “We want to make sure we’re supporting everybody.”

• Emily K. Coleman and Joseph Bustos contributed to this report.

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