- In May, 2013, five-year-old Fitchburg, MA preschooler Jeremiah Oliver’s mother begins a relationship with Alberto Sierra
- May 20, 2013 was the last time a court ordered social worker visited with the troubled and abused little boy. The social worker assigned to Jeremiah’s case failed to conduct the required in-person, monthly checks on the family from this point forward
- In June, Jeremiah’s mother informs his daycare that the family is moving to Florida.
- September 14, is the last time Jeremiah is seen alive by a relative
- On December 2, Jeremiah’s eight-year-old sister tells a school counselor that her mother’s boyfriend abused her and that she hasn’t seen her brother in a very long time
- After the statements Jeremiah’s sister and another brother were placed in protective custody
- At a December 13 hearing Jeremiah’s mother and boyfriend were arrested when they could not explain Jeremiah’s disappearance
- On April 18, 2014 a tip from a jailhouse informant led authorities to the remains of a young boy wrapped in a blanket and placed inside of a duffel bag near a central Massachusetts Interstate Highway about 13-miles from Jeremiah’s house
- According to a Washington State study 76% of abducted/murdered children were found within a 12 mile radius of their last known location
- On April 20, 2014 the remains were positively identified as being little Jeremiah Oliver.
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said the body was found at about 9 a.m. Friday by a police search team about 40 feet off I-190 near Sterling, which is about 12 miles from Fitchburg. He said it was wrapped in blanket-like material and packed in material that resembled a suitcase. He said the site is near an area that is regularly mowed on the side of the highway but would not have been visible to passing cars. Jeremiah’s father Jose Oliver, who has been cleared from suspicion, believes that his son’s remains were recently placed at that location. The medical examiner should be able to determine whether or not Jeremiah Oliver’s body has been in the location where it was found for the long term or short term based on decomposition fluid leakage. Body fluid would have leaked through the blanket & duffel bag and left an imprint in the ground that would likely appear as a burned area.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families had been monitoring the Oliver family for two years after allegations of neglect, but an investigation into Jeremiah’s disappearance found that the assigned social worker had missed mandatory monthly visits between last April and his sister’s December report that Jeremiah was missing. The governor asked the Child Welfare League of America to review DCF but resisted calls from some lawmakers to fire Olga Roche, the agency’s commissioner. The decision to commission an incident report from an agency not affiliated with MA Govt. makes sense, but given that this child fell through the cracks on DCF Commissioner Roche’s watch provides ample justification for firing her. We have the technological means to monitor abused children, but have failed as a society to prioritize the need.