WORCESTER, Mass. (TCD) -- Prosecutors charged a 32-year-old man this week with crimes related to the death of a 5-year-old boy whose body was found in a suitcase on the side of a highway almost 10 years ago.
In a statement, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office said Alberto Sierra appeared in court Thursday, May 18, for his arraignment on charges of murder and disinterring of a body in connection with the death of Jeremiah Oliver. He’s being held without bail.
Jeremiah was last seen alive Sept. 14, 2013, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Fitchburg Police and the Massachusetts State Police began investigating the boy’s disappearance, and in December 2013, Massachusetts State Police detectives arrested Jeremiah’s mother, Elsa Oliver, on two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of accessory after the fact of a felony for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Sierra, Oliver’s boyfriend at the time, was also arrested on two counts of assault and battery with a weapon and two counts of assault and battery on a child causing bodily injury.
Elsa Oliver’s two other children were put into custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Seven months after he went missing, Jeremiah’s body was found in a suitcase April 18, 2014, on Interstate 190 in Sterling. According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, officials located the body after receiving a tip from someone in jail.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined he died from "homicidal violence by undetermined etiology."
According to Mass Live, Elsa Oliver pleaded guilty in 2017 to reckless endangerment of a child and child assault and battery for abusing two of her children. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges connected to Jeremiah’s suspected abuse.
Sierra and Elsa Oliver reportedly forced the children to take freezing showers as a form of punishment and they often were not dressed warmly enough in the cold weather. Sierra was also accused of abusing Elsa Oliver.
Both adults served time behind bars.
Sierra Oliver’s next court date is scheduled for May 25.