When Jeremiah Oliver, 5, went missing and was later k!lled, Ernest F. Martineau, a sergeant with the Fitchburg Police Department, was in charge of the first inquiry.
Martineau is the police chief at the moment and has been troubled by the Oliver case for ten years. But on Wednesday, Martineau got the news he had been looking for ever since the case began: a Worcester grand jury had indicted Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 32, who at the time was the boy’s mother’s boyfriend, for k!lling Jeremiah.
Speaking before a group of reporters in front of the Worcester Central Courthouse, Martineau stated, “Yesterday (Wednesday), I received a phone call that I’ve been waiting for 10 years.” “I was thrilled to receive that call yesterday,”
Martineau claimed that during those ten years, the Fitchburg Police Department committed to pursue the matter relentlessly until justice was done.
The below tweet features the boy who was found in a suitcase 10 years ago.
It’s been ten years since the remains of 5 year old Jeremiah Oliver were found in a suitcase on the side of a highway. Today his mother’s boyfriend is being arraigned for murder. #wbz pic.twitter.com/8g83SAkeKG
— Beth Germano (@BethWBZ) May 18, 2023
We promised ourselves ten years ago that we would never give up and that we would never forget, and yesterday that promise was fulfilled, according to Martineau. “Given how important this case was to our investigation, that phone call I got meant the world to me. And now that justice is finally being served, here we are.”
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In the latter part of 2013, Jeremiah, who shared a home with his mother in Fitchburg, was reported missing. Off Interstate 190 in Sterling, his body was discovered on April 18, 2014, stashed inside a suitcase.
Jeremiah’s de@th was ruled a homic*de by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who also recorded the cause of death as “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology.”
The details of the Oliver case, according to Martineau, are enough to trouble any parent.
Any incident involving a child “eats away at your soul. Additionally, in a situation like this when the body was on 190, something you pass by every day, it keeps coming to mind, said to Martineau. I passed that on the way to the courthouse today. It is constantly there.”
Mother Is Also Accused And Sentenced
In the days and years following the boy’s de@th, Sierra and the boy’s mother, Elsa Oliver, were charged with numerous offenses. Jeremiah and his siblings were the targets of some of the accusations. Both of them were accused of kidnapping and endangering a child. Both received prison terms.
But no one has been accused of the m*rder up until Wednesday. Authorities didn’t label the incident a homic*de until February 2016, or approximately two years after the body was discovered.
On September 14, 2013, Jeremiah was last observed by family members in his apartment at 276 Kimball St. in Fitchburg, where he shared a home with his mother. But the authorities didn’t get involved until December. The boy’s sister reported him missing to the school administration.
When it was discovered that the boy had not been seen for several months, the Fitchburg community reacted fast. Friends coordinated a neighborhood search and handed out posters with the boy’s photo on them.
Tracking dogs helped Fitchburg and state police search the area.
For failing to perform house inspections on the boy, a state Department of Child & Family Services employee assigned to the case and their supervisor were fired. A third DCF staffer received a warning.
Within days, Sierra and Else Oliver were accused of abusing children.
About 350 people attended the boy’s funer@l two weeks later at Rollstone Congregational Church in Fitchburg. Jose Oliver, Jeremiah’s father, who was at the time a resident of Connecticut, joined the mourners in honoring the young child who adored Spider-Man.
Martineau observed, “The case shook the city of Fitchburg’s conscience.” We, the 45,000 inhabitants of the city, used to be Jeremiah’s family, and now we are here, starting the healing process.
Sierra was charged with murder in connection with Oliver’s de@th on Thursday in Worcester Superior Court. He was also charged with disinterring a body in the indictment. To both counts, Sierra entered a not guilty plea in front of Superior Court Judge Karin M. Bell.
On May 25, Sierra was given the order to remain behind bars until her bail hearing.
The defense attorney Marissa Elkins and assistant district attorney Courtney Sans both attended the arraignment.
When questioned if Jeremiah now has a voice, Martineau responded, “We gave him a voice from the day this came to our attention.”
Martineau commended the state police, the office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., as well as active and former Fitchburg Police Department investigators, on behalf of the city of Fitchburg and its citizens, for never giving up and carrying out their investigation.
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