The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office announced the new charges against Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 32, who was previously in a relationship with the boy’s mother, Elsa Oliver.
A man from Massachusetts has been charged with murder and disinterring a body in connection with the death of a 5-year-old boy whose remains were discovered in a suitcase
Jeremiah Oliver, who lived with his mother in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, went missing in September 2013 and was last seen by family members. The authorities became aware of his disappearance three months later after his 8-year-old sister reported being abused by Sierra to her school counselors. This led to the protective custody of the sister and her other brother, and it was during this time that the investigators realized Jeremiah was missing.
In April 2014, Jeremiah’s remains were discovered wrapped in a blanket and placed in a bag near Interstate 190 in Sterling, Massachusetts. The medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide. Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau expressed the deep impact such a case has on parents, stating that it “eats at your soul.”
Sierra, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, appeared in court and was held without bail
The trial is set to resume on May 25. In 2017, Sierra and Oliver were previously indicted on charges related to Jeremiah’s disappearance and alleged abuse. Sierra received a prison sentence of up to seven years for multiple charges, while Oliver was sentenced to over seven years.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families faced criticism in 2013 when it was revealed that two workers had failed to conduct regular checks on Jeremiah’s family. The department’s commissioner resigned the following year. The previous charges against Sierra and Oliver were dropped in 2017 to avoid potential double-jeopardy claims.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to provide details about what led to Sierra’s recent arrest. Sierra’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment. The case continues to haunt the community and serves as a reminder of the tragic consequences that can befall vulnerable children.