JEREMIAH OLIVER – BODY RECOVERED, JEREMIAH LAID TO REST – USMCC000493LTWH – UPDATED 05.06.2014
Jeremiah’s funeral was held last Saturday, May 3, 2014, at the Rollstone Congregational Church, 199 Main Street, Fitchburg. Jeremiah was laid to rest at the Hope Cemetery, next to his brother who died in 1998 at the age of 5 months old from natural causes.
Saturday was a day to grieve the life of a little man who loved Spiderman, being outdoors in the dirt, playing and collecting bugs at the park and ‘souped-up cars’.
More importantly though, is that we can now begin healing, and begin celebrating Jeremiah’s life. If there is anything Jeremiah has taught us, it would be to live life fully in every moment, and always smile, because a smile is something no one else can ever take from you.
Jeremiah’s father did what every parent fears most, he gave the eulogy at his 5 year old son’s funeral. Jose spoke to the hundreds of mourners saying “I wish that this was a celebration of the return of Jeremiah and not the death of Jeremiah. A lot of people have told me that, now that we’ve found him, I would have peace and closure. Well, that’s not true.”
Jose then spoke to Jeremiah’s small white coffin asking Jeremiah to forgive him. “I am sorry, as a father and as a man, that I could not be there to protect you.”
Jeremiah – you fly high baby, there is no place where our love can’t reach you. Good Bye my sweet boy, one day we will meet again.
Date of Birth: December 8, 2008
Height: 3’4” Weight: 45 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
Missing: September 14, 2013 From: Fitchburg, MA
**JEREMIAH OLIVER CASE UPDATE BELOW**
March 27, 2014
Jeremiah Oliver is another child who the world seemed to forget. This beautiful little boy is missing, and has been missing since September of 2013. Although we now know just how long Jeremiah has been gone for, it wasn’t until December 2, 2013 when the missing child report was made. How did no one notice that this little man had disappeared for months? I am really tired of saying this, but Jeremiah was failed by many, including DCF.
Jeremiah’s disappearance was only brought to light when his 8 year old sister told school counselors that her mother’s boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, had physically hurt both her, and Jeremiah’s older brother, 9. She detailed how she had seen Sierra punch and whip Jeremiah and his brother with a black belt on previous occasions, and during one of these beatings, she thinks Jeremiah’s pinky finger was actually cut off. As the little girl continued to talk, the easier it was to see just how much Sierra was terrorizing this family. Jeremiah’s sister bravely continued to share the horror she and her brothers had been living in speaking of the beatings she received shortly after Sierra moved in with the family. On one occasion, Sierra hit one of the boys with so much force that he sent the little boy flying off the toilet onto the floor. Not only did the children suffer the abuse, they also witnessed their mother being beaten. The little girl saw Sierra punch and slapping her mother, leaving bruises. She also saw Sierra hold a knife to her mother’s face on numerous occasions. The little girl told authorities that she had not seen Jeremiah in weeks. Jeremiah’s siblings were taken from their mother, Elsa Oliver, and placed in protective custody, and rightfully so.
Evidence goes so far as to suggest that not only did Elsa allow the abuse of her children to happen, but she also attempted to cover it up and hide it to prevent Sierra from being held accountable for the monumental abuse he forced these children to survive. When questioned regarding Jeremiah’s whereabouts, Elsa claimed that he was living in Florida. Elsa was ordered to court, and she arrived however refused to answer any questions. When she arrived at court, she was sporting bruises and her hair was a mess leading authorities to believe she had been assaulted. After refusing to answer any questions or cooperate in any way she fled the court house. She was given three days to produce Jeremiah, and after she failed to do so, she was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment of a child and accessory after the fact. Authorities were immediately concerned for Jeremiah’s safety considering no one would speak of what happened to him.
Now, sadly, authorities do believe that Jeremiah has been murdered, and the person responsible for his murder is Sierra. I need to take a moment to say that while I am very sorry and empathetic to the abuse Elsa faced, and while I do understand what mental illness can do to a person, I do not think it is an excuse to condone the beating of your children. There is not a thing any person on this planet could ever do to me to stop me from protecting my sons. I would give my life for them without question, and should anyone ever attempt to hurt them, I will do things to them that make Charles Manson look like Mother Theresa. That’s a promise. So anyone who wants to allow Elsa’s abuse to nullify her failure to protect her children, may want to double think what you are about to say.
After Jeremiah was finally reported missing, friends and family gathered for a vigil in the cold snow, on a dark night, holding candles with hope that soon Jeremiah will be home. About 75 people attended Jeremiah’s vigil, and most of these people were Jeremiah’s relatives on his father’s side of the family. The Olivers have pulled together and are dedicated to not stopping their efforts until Jeremiah is home. Signs posted at the memorial site read “We miss you, we love you.” Countless stuffed animals and lighted candles covered the ground, left for Jeremiah. A shrine to a little man that the world seemed to have forgotten. However now, I can say with confidence, that Jeremiah Oliver, will never be forgotten again.
Elsa’s bail was set at $100,000 with conditions, including wearing a monitoring bracelet. Elsa’s attorney, James G. Reardon Jr., has stated that she doesn’t seem to understand what is happening and he is having difficulties getting any useful information from her, and in fact cannot even have a conversation with her. “I am unable to effectively communicate with her. I can’t get any information from her.” He told the judge that Elsa was mentally unable to assist in her defense. Elsa has undergone a court ordered psychiatric evaluation to determine her mental competency with psychologist Hanya Bluestone.
Bluestone stated that Elsa had a history of psychiatric treatment and substance abuse and had recently taken a turn for the worse, becoming more irritable and paranoid. She also stated that Elsa believed that she was being poisoned. As Elsa was led into the Fitchburg District Court, she looked panicked and distraught, crying out “I can’t” to the court officers holding her arms. Bluestone spoke to the judge saying “I am concerned about her rational understanding today.” Wracked with emotion and desperation, Sandrino Oliver – Jeremiah’s uncle – also in the court room, shouted at Elsa, calling her a “child killer” and screaming “Where is my nephew?”, as she was led out.
Law enforcement is now looking for the tattoo parlor where Elsa received a tattoo recently of a butterfly and the date September 25, 2013. They are hoping to find out if the tattoo artist was told why that date was so significant. So far they have been unable to turn up anything.
After Elsa’s arrest, Sierra was also arrested and charged with two counts of assault and battery on a child causing bodily injury and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (knife). Not surprisingly, Sierra has a long history with the law, a long violent history. The judge ordered that Sierra be held without bail based on Sierra’s “dangerousness”. Documents containing information which led not only the judge and the prosecution to believe this was appropriate, but Sierra’s attorney as well who did not contest the ruling.
The documents have not been released but it has been stated that they contain information regarding a previous domestic violence charge which supports the concern that Sierra is a danger to the public. It is being alleged that on one occasion Sierra made violent threats against the family of an ex-girlfriend. The person making these allegations has asked to remain unnamed for fear of reprisals in the community, but did say that Sierra was violent in previous relationships and that he had previously violated a restraining order. This person described Sierra as a bully who intimidated those around him, routinely became irate and made many death threats against others. Interestingly enough this individual also made a point of stating that Sierra is NOT known to have been a heavy drinker or drug user.
Jeremiah’s extended family have told authorities that the last time they ever saw this little man was on September 14, 2013, that’s FOUR months before police were even aware of Jeremiah’s disappearance. The disgusting thing about this, is that had the DCF being doing their jobs, Jeremiah and siblings could have been saved from a life of abuse, and Jeremiah would not thought to be deceased right now. He could have been playing with his brother and sister in a safe home (because yes, most foster homes are incredible, and I would like to thank all foster parents out there that are providing our children with a safe, and nurturing home).
Jeremiah and his siblings were supposed to be receiving monthly visits from a DCF case worker. The last time the unnamed case work actually made a visit to the home was in May of 2013. In June she was told that Jeremiah went to live with family in Florida, however she never even checked into the validity of these claims. This case worker along with 2 other case workers, have been fired, which I applaud DCF for, however being fired should be the least of their worries – I would be looking to press charges for negligence resulting in Jeremiah’s presumed death. Another DCF employee has been demoted and suspended for the atrocious way in which Jeremiah’s case was handled. Law enforcement has stated that the family’s social workers consistently skipped the required monthly visits, and their supervisor chose not to investigate after multiple reports of abuse and neglect in the Oliver family. In fact, these very case workers and supervisor were actually recommending that’s DCF close the case on the family. Jeremiah and his siblings were utterly alone and isolated with the horrors playing out in the place where they were supposed to feel safest, their home.
Representative Kay Khan, a Newton Democrat who is House chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities has stated that lawmakers are planning on holding hearings surrounding DCF’s handling of Jeremiah’s family’s case. “It’s a very serious case, and I feel that’s important for us to dig deeper here and find out what is going on.” Khan stated.
Jeremiah’s father, Jose Oliver, had not seen his son in years, claiming the reason for that was because of a restraining order taken out against him by Elsa.
He says that the restraining order is not in relation to any violence whatsoever, and was instead used as a way for Elsa to keep the children from Jose. Jose stated “I feel hopeless. I feel I should have been there to protect him, but she (Elsa) did not allow me to be there.” While this might be heart breaking, I just don’t think that that is a good excuse. The courts would have addressed custodial issues had Jose brought them to the courts’ attention. When questioned about Sierra, Jose shares that he knows nothing about the man, but has a message for him, “Talk. Open your mouth. It’s too late for you. At least let us know where he’s at.”
Jose went on to say that he believes Elsa knows where Jeremiah is and what may have happened to him, however he also states that he does not believe Elsa would have harmed him. “She’s not a mean person. She’s not evil. I want people to stop saying nasty stuff about her. That’s not her. She’s sweet. She’s kind.” Jose shared that at the time he and Elsa separated, he was using and drugs and stated “I guess she just got tired of it all. I don’t blame her for leaving.” Considering the disconnect and lack of communication between Jose and Elsa in over 2 years, I’m not so sure that Jose has a right to speak to her personality and what she would or would not do. Elsa clearly has problems, and from what we have learnt so far – she is erratic and unpredictable with her actions. I am not sure that anyone truly knows to just what extent Elsa would go. Jose went to further say that he believes the only reason Elsa is not talking, is due to abuse, “I want to tell her, ‘He’s in jail now. He can’t hurt you.’”
Now, Jose Oliver is not exactly what you would call an upstanding citizen. He has a criminal record and he is not proud of some of the things he has done in his life. So let’s not step around the issue – Jose Oliver was arrested in December on drug charges, after he allegedly set up a meeting to sell heroin to an undercover police officer on a street corner near an elementary school. Jose was caught with 30 bags of heroin on his person, which has resulted in charges including possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school or day care, and criminal intent to sell narcotics.
When Jose spoke to reporters about the charges, he did have a few comments. “I did a stupid mistake, that’s it. It was a mistake. I wasn’t in a state of mind, I wasn’t thinking. I was just desperate.” Jose himself acknowledged that he did have a history of drug abuse, and insisted that he is now clean. “Don’t judge me on my past; people do change. Everybody makes mistakes, man. There’s nobody perfect in this world. The past is the past, let’s leave it there. I’m a new person. I’m older, I’m wiser.” **Sigh** I’m sorry, but when you have been caught with 30 bags of heroin only months before making this statement, let’s be honest – it is disingenuous and arrogant. He also went on to say that he felt too much attention was being directed at him, which should be on Jeremiah.
So here is the thing folks, Jose isn’t a guy I would want to spend any time with. I don’t like him, I think he should be charged to the fullest extent of the law, and I think he should spend time in prison. Having said that, what happened to Jeremiah has nothing to do with Jose’s poor life choices. Jose is still a father that is desperate to find his son, and while I don’t like the man, I respect the tragedy he is dealing with right now, and I support any efforts to find out what has happened to Jeremiah. I also agree that the focus needs to be on Jeremiah.
Jose will face his charges whether we focus on him or not – so I am asking each of you to please remember this is about finding Jeremiah. Jose is clearly heartbroken and wants more than anything else, to see his son again. “I’m confused. I’m still thinking this must be a dream – that I’m going to wake up anytime soon and realize it’s a dream.” He went on to say “I am here to fight for my son. I’m here to find my son. I’m here to fight for my other children. I’m here to be a father.” Jose spoke of what a sweet little boy Jeremiah truly was. “He is a little wildcat. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s like a little teddy bear. What I miss the most about him, is his smile.”
Jose is attempting to gain custody of his two older children who were placed in foster care after Jeremiah was discovered missing. He has already been to court and is speaking to state officials about the process of getting his children out of state care. Honestly – I don’t know how any court would give a man custody of an 8 year old, and a 9 year old, only months after being arrested for selling heroin to an undercover cop. While I do not support Jose receiving custody of the older children at this point in time, I need to remember that this is about Jeremiah. Jeremiah is who we should be talking about, it is him that we need to focus on in this moment. When the time comes to address custody of Jeremiah’s siblings, you can bet we will be all over that speaking out in the children’s best interests, but for now, let’s find Jeremiah.
Jose has commended law enforcement for the job they are doing with handling Jeremiah’s case, although police have not officially launched any extensive searches themselves. Authorities did express concern about the searchers destroying or contaminating any evidence that may be out there. Although officers were on scene, they stated that they could not take part in the search. Edwin Hernandez, a father of seven, had his take on the lack of official involvement in the search for Jeremiah, and said that had Jeremiah been a white child instead of a Latino, the government would have put more effort into searching for Jeremiah. “Where are the cops today? If it was a white boy everyone would be looking for him,” he stated. “No one else cares.”
Despite all of this, Jose remains very active in the unofficial search for his son, combing through the wooded areas near Jeremiah’s home, doing whatever it takes to find some answers. Also joining in the search is Jose’s family. Edward Valvourt, Jose’s cousin, told reporters “He was a wonderful little boy, happy as could be. It’s just awful thinking of him lying somewhere.” According to Sandrino Oliver, Jose’s brother, “Jose is a concerned and loving father who wants a resolution to the search and finding Jeremiah..” Family friends have also been showing their support for Jeremiah. “The first question that should have been asked is where is that little boy. If they don’t want to give up the kid they should be tried for murder.” Said one friend.
Another friend, Jackie Serrano, has a son who was in Jeremiah’s class. Jackie stated “We’re going to keep doing the search until we find him. That boy doesn’t deserve to be like this.” Jeremiah’s family all donning shirts with the little man’s picture on the front and their relation to Jeremiah printed on the back, fanned out hoping to find something, anything, that would lead them to Jeremiah. Emotions run high as the search for Jeremiah continues with supporters coming from all around the area, willing and ready to help in any way they can.
Miguel Perez, 25, of Worcester gave his sneakers to his cousin so she could help in the search. He wore her sandals and wool socks as he dutifully trudged through the snow, into a Dumpster and up and down the steep embankment to the railroad tracks. As is the case with many of the searchers, Miguel does not know the family. He said that he was compelled to get involved. “I’ve got a 6 year old son and 2 year old stepdaughter, I know what this feels like.” he stated. Kristy Stanley, who lives on the street where Jeremiah’s family lived called the case heart breaking.
She spoke saying “I couldn’t look out my window and see everyone here and not help. I can’t even imagine it being one of my kids.” Although it is believed that Jeremiah is no longer alive, the search to bring him home remains a priority, and supporters of the Olivers are ready to continue for as long as it takes.
When Jose spoke of the outpouring of support from the community, he said “Together we stand. There’s people out here that have heart. I’m sure most of these people have kids, so I’m sure that they feel my pain. I know that they (Elsa and Sierra) did not have a car, and if they did do something to him he’d be somewhere around here.”
Although Jeremiah is likely deceased, especially considering investigators are now investigating Jeremiah’s disappearance as a homicide, we still need to bring him home and lay him to rest with peace and dignity. Despite Jose’s arrest on drug charges, the organizers of the many search teams that have been looking for any sign of Jeremiah have stated they will continue the searches. “I’m not here to pass judgment as to Jose,” said Miguel Fleitas, a 46-year-old naval reservist with training in search and rescue, who has organized searches in cooperation with the family. “I’ll still give my services to the Olivers to help them find this boy.”
It only takes one look at that sweet smile and Jeremiah Oliver wiggles his way into your heart. This incredible little boy deserves so much better than what he got. He deserved to be a little boy, a little boy who trusted without reservation, who knew nothing but love and hugs, who was running around the backyard playing some modified form of tag with his siblings. He was denied a childhood that was happy, care free and encouraging. To take this from a child, to expose this child to such lethal dysfunction – you have to be nothing but evil. As difficult as this is, and as difficult it is to understand, we must stay strong. We need to make a promise to Jeremiah. A promise that we will never give up on home, that we will search and fight until he is brought home. A promise that Jeremiah will never have to be alone and afraid again.
So my beautiful family, it’s time to do what we do best. Let’s light those candles and
Light Jeremiah’s Way Home
NEW CHARGES LAID AGAINST OLIVER AND SIERRA FOLLOWED BY THREE MORE ARRESTS IN JEREMIAH’S CASE
As the investigation into Jeremiah’s disappearance and presumed death continues, authorities are uncovering more and more disturbing evidence of DCF’s complete mishandling of Jeremiah’s case. An abuse/neglect report was filed in May, and it did confirm physical abuse by the mother of the oldest child. In June, 3 more reports of abuse were filed, however not a single one was followed up one. DCF tried to use the lame excuse that “Because an investigation had just been completed those reports were not assigned for investigation.” SERIOUSLY?? So now we are giving these abusers an allotted time of no accountability for victimizing children immediately after they have been confirmed to be abusing a child??!! Double jeopardy doesn’t apply to child abuse – every time you abuse a child counts, it’s not a do it once and never be charged with it again. I almost feel that DCF would have been better off not even attempting to explain this over saying what they did – I can’t decide which makes them look more incompetent. Guess what else was discovered as DCF was investigated … they failed another child in the home only a year before Jeremiah’s disappearance. A social worker failed and passed over numerous intervention opportunities to save a 2 year old in the home from being seriously injured by Sierra. How, HOW, was this case allowed to progress until a child was murdered before anyone cared?? What will it take to have DCF take children’s safety seriously, and begin to DO THEIR JOBS? Not only did DCF fail to intervene and save Jeremiah, they forged reports saying that everything was well and the children were safe.
Now, there are social workers that work for DCF who need to be commended on their passion and drive to help these children, and fight for what is in their best interests. These are folks that are ready and willing to be completely involved, take the appropriate actions to keep these children safe. However, as wonderful and well intentioned as these people are, nothing happens, and the reason nothing happens is management. Social Worker Joseph Manna, who works in the same office that ‘lost track of’ Jeremiah, alleges that two serious sexual abuse reports made by mandated reporters went uninvestigated, leaving the children in an abusive situation. This is where my head feels like it is going to explode. We raise awareness and advocate to ensure that people report child abuse when they believe a child is in danger, and we need our mandatory reporters to be watching out for these children, acting quickly to get the child help. In these cases, everything was done right and the reports were given to DCF, who I thought were supposed to actively remove children from a dangerous situation. Too bad supervisors at DCF doesn’t know how to do their jobs with any competency, and these two children’s reports were stalled and pushed to the side. In the case of the 9 year old girl, her pediatrician was the one to report that the little girl was being sexually abuse. Manna states that this type of report, coming from a medical professional, should take top priority and be immediately reported to the district attorney’s office to have the child removed. This little girl’s case was not passed on for two weeks after her pediatrician voiced his extreme concern for the little girl.
Social Worker Sara A. Vasquez who also works in the DCF office that so miserably failed Jeremiah, aired her frustration at her superiors making her job to help these children next to impossible. The Leominster office is clearly in the need of new management and supervision. DCF Director Marcia Roddy needs to be fired, and in my opinion, criminally charged for allowing children to remain in abusive homes simply because she did not like the worker who was asking for help. She has no redeeming qualities and no business working with ANY child EVER. This bitch pisses me off because she was being stuck up, conceited, narcissistic and arrogant, and because of her pettiness, children were further victimized and murdered. Sara speaks of two particular cases, the sexual abuse of a 9 year old girl, and the sexual abuse of a 16 year old boy, Roddy refused to investigate the reports of sexual abuse despite Sara pleading with her for weeks to investigate and help these children. Sara is not only a social worker, she is also a DCF emergency response worker and has been with DCF for 12 years.
Sara spoke about the entire situation saying “On my caseload, I had two major 51As on sexual abuse filed by mandated reporters – one by the child’s pediatrician who stated in his medical opinion sexual abuse occurred, but it didn’t get referred to the DA. With such a significant statement and evidence of sexual abuse, it is a requirement. Based on that alone, not only should we have investigated, but also supported it. It was screened out and she (Roddy) refused to investigate. I met with her daily and emailed my very specific concerns as an investigator that it should be supported, but she refused to investigate.” Sara says that after a month of “constant begging” and trying to keep the little girl safe, her supervisor finally re-filed the 51A and after an investigation, the report was supported. Unfortunately that means little. “It was supported after all that time, but it was too late – then the child wouldn’t talk about it anymore. I continue to work with the family.” Now why the hell would Roddy allow this to happen you ask, well it turns out that Sara had filed a complaint for bullying in April of 2013 with the Commission Against Discrimination and Roddy was retaliating against Sara.
In October the commission began an investigation of the Leominster office, and with that, Sara was suddenly surrounded by people refusing to help her, which means they refused to help the children Sara was advocating for. “The management team found out I filed it and I was fired off of the hotline team afterwards. They scrutinize my travel and every case I handed in.” Sara says that the second case she voiced concerns about, also went without investigation despite several reports of abuse. “The other case was also screened out – it was a sexual abuse report for a child in foster care. I begged them to investigate because it happened in our care and they refused.” Eventually a special investigative team for foster parents was called in and the report was supported, allowing the child to be removed from the home. Sara believes that both of these children suffered due to Roddy vindictiveness. “In those two instances it was purely retaliation against me. I was told ‘You can do your own work’ when I wanted them to investigate. It is so frustrating because I still have these cases and still work with these families and the system failed them. DCF is a huge agency with many systematic problems. To this day, no one has talked to me about it. No one did anything. I emailed everybody – The Child Advocate, chief legal counsel – not one time has someone talked to me in DCF. Not even through the top-down investigation. When I tried to email the chief legal counsel, I was told not to email her directly.”
It turns out that another social worker in the Leominster office ALSO filed a discrimination case a month after Sara did, against the same management team for bullying. Employees in the office consider it to be a hostile work environment, and I think that’s downplaying what this office really is. It gets worse, a worker in the Leominster office say that they are forced to “STRIP SEARCH” children receiving DCF services. Yeah you read that right, STRIP SEARCH. Social workers have left due to this policy which was instituted a year ago by Roddy. Manna has very publicly voiced his stance and concerns on this shockingly invasive policy saying “The NCAO (North Central Area Office) management has created a policy independent of the department. The new policy has been referred to as ‘viewing bodies’. The viewing bodies policy requires social worker in the NCAO to view children’s bodies routinely, without the authority of the 51B (investigation) and without probable cause or evidence. The policy continues despite the DCF Western regional chief legal counsels’ decision not to declare the viewing bodies policy as legal.”
Manna’s continued investigation just turned up more and more deplorable behaviour on Roddy’s part. Roddy had also arranged for one of the managers to supervise his wife, despite the very obvious conflict of interest. Manager Jaques Carl’s disclosure to the State Ethics Commission admitted that he had benefited financially from managing his wife. Manna stated “I believe this conflict of interest could have corrupted the integrity of the state’s investigations of child abuse.” Manna is someone I can get behind and support, he seems to be the only one speaking out against everything that is occurring in this office. He continued saying “This conflict of interest corruption required many hours and much effort by the department and others in order to establish the corrupt activity, maintain the corrupt activity, retaliate against those that worked to expose the corruption and to cover up the corrupt ethical violations. Many believe the retaliation included the NCAO management ‘screening out’ two very serious 51A reports of sexual abuse.”
In the effort to find Jeremiah and understand just what has happened to this little boy, more chaos, lies and deception have been unveiled leaving three more people in jail on charges of interfering with a criminal investigation and misleading police under the intimidation of a witness statute. Three friends and family of Oliver and Sierra lied to the grand jury investigating the case, making phone calls and setting up a clandestine meeting with Oliver and Sierra. The meeting however, was caught on surveillance videos. Christian Sierra, Sierra’s brother, Cailey Thibeault, Christian Sierra’s girlfriend and Ashley Cormier, a friend of the family, are the three sad excuses for humans that lied and plotted to mislead police, never once caring for a moment about Jeremiah, or what has happened to him, instead more concerned with covering for the person responsible for his death. During the grand jury investigation, Thibeault testified that she and Cormier took Oliver to court for a care and protection hearing for her children and then brought her directly back to her home. The two also testified that no phone calls were made during or after the hearing. That wasn’t even close to the truth. After the hearing the women took Oliver to meet with the Sierra brothers. Also, throughout the day the two women made numerous calls to the Sierra brothers. Thibeault was the first to be confronted and admitted to investigators that she lied to the grand jury about the phone calls, and about taking Oliver straight home. She also did not tell the grand jury that she had a second cell phone (belonging to her deceased father) which was used to call the Sierra brothers. Earlier in March, Mark Sierra testified to the grand jury that Thibeault had threatened Oliver with violence to get Oliver to attend the care and protection hearing.
Oliver and Sierra are now facing additional charges piled on top of the initial charges they were arrested on. Oliver is facing new charges from permitting bodily injury to a child, three counts of reckless endangerment of a child, kidnapping a child, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of assault and battery. Sierra is facing charges of indecent assault and battery of a child four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, along with the same charges Oliver is facing.
There are so many things to say about how our DCF Services are failing miserably, and there is much change needed. I know that together, we will make the needed changes. I would like to share an article with you written by Wendy Murphy, a teacher at New England Law, Boston, addressing the circumstances in cases such as Jeremiah’s. Her theory is actually really simple, and I could not agree more with her. Everything she has written is spot on, it is exactly what we need to do and what exact changes we need to fight for. Here is what Wendy wrote:
“In the aftermath of the disappearance of a five year-old Massachusetts boy named Jeremiah Oliver, followed by DCF’s inexplicable inability to explain why nobody there even knew a child in their care had been missing for months, countless news stories and editorials have proposed ideas for reform. From adding new layers of oversight to increasing DCF’s budget, lawmakers and “experts” have droned on about fixing the “systemic problems” that enable children to “fall through the cracks,” blah, blah, blah. It’s all nonsense. Even a well-funded perfectly managed DCF system won’t keep kids safe so long as serious child abuse is not treated, first and foremost, as a crime.
Massachusetts, as in many other states, DCF officials work under an unwritten presumption that the physical or sexual abuse of a child, if it occurs within a family, should be handled by social workers instead of cops and prosecutors. Sending only a social worker to investigate serious child abuse allegations is like sending a gardener to put out a house fire. Maybe the gardener really cares about fire prevention, but a gentle lawn sprinkler has no hope against a raging inferno. Social “services” should be reserved for parents who sincerely love their children, but need help with life skills. A mother who feels overwhelmed, for example, can benefit greatly from a social worker’s helping hand. But a father who molests or beats the hell out of his child doesn’t deserve DCF’s benevolence. Guys like that laugh at social workers who show up once a month to talk about “how life is going.” They play along and act like good fathers for an hour, then when the social worker leaves, they do whatever they want, knowing full well that with an open DCF case, cops’ hands are basically tied. On a very basic level, treating child abusers like they need parenting classes is a gift from the crime gods. It’s time to stop wasting precious resources providing “services” to perpetrators of family violence. Jeremiah Oliver and his siblings were repeatedly abused, yet not a single arrest was ever made. Not surprisingly, the abuse reportedly escalated and Jeremiah disappeared. When family troubles constitute criminal activity, the presumption that families can be fixed should tip heavily in the other direction. At a minimum, bringing law enforcement to the table expands the plate of available resources and reduces the strain on DCF’s budget. Better yet, a presumption of prosecution means perpetrators are more likely to refrain from abuse for fear it might land them in jail, and on the front page of their local paper. Some argue that family violence is different from other types of crime, and is not always worthy of criminal justice intervention. The fact that a child is victimized by a parent should never be enough to presume the violence deserves decriminalization, as if being beaten by a loved one is somehow less harmful than being beaten by a stranger. To the contrary, abuse by a trusted caregiver causes even more damage to a child because of the betrayal involved when someone a child depends on for life’s basic needs exploits that dependency to commit crimes behind closed doors. Studies show that intervention without prosecution is rarely successful because perpetrators become emboldened by the lack of sanctions, and they learn to manipulate the DCF system. Police officers often talk about the frustration they feel when they file reports describing crimes against children, only to be told that no criminal charges will be filed because the case has been sent to social services and family court instead of prosecutors. Suggestions for DCF reforms that do not include reversing the presumption against criminal prosecution are silly. Things like better oversight and more money will only benefit harmdoers by adding layers of obfuscation to an already cumbersome boondoggle. The reason Jeremiah Oliver is gone is not complicated. Had his first report of abuse been handled as a criminal case, the boy would probably still be around because lots of research shows that swift and tough justice is the best form of child protection. No, prosecution is not a panacea, but Massachusetts’ current antipathetic attitude toward criminal justice intervention in family violence cases was a death knell for little Jeremiah, and remains a life-threatening policy for thousands of other kids whose perpetrators enjoy immunity from prosecution simply because they live with their victims.”
Stay tuned folks, coming up we will begin addressing what needs to be done to finally have these monsters criminally charged for victimizing children. This fight is far from over, and it will not end until Jeremiah has been found and laid to rest with dignity and grace, and his murders are held accountable, and I mean really accountable, for snatching the life of a helpless child who was unable to defend himself.
JEREMIAH OLIVER’S BODY RECOVERED – THIS LITTLE MAN HAS NOW BEEN LAID TO REST WITH PEACE AND DIGNITY
UPDATE: MAY 6, 2014
As all of you know, the search for 5 year old Jeremiah Oliver has come to a tragic end, as the little man’s body has now be recovered. It has taken me a little while to write this update simply because I am still trying to process the reality that he is gone. Jeremiah’s case is personal for me, and his loss has taken its toll. However, although I still shed tears when thinking of Jeremiah, I am ready to start fighting for justice on his behalf. I am ready to stand up for Jeremiah and fight for as long as it takes – and I am ready to ensure that this incredible little man is never forgotten in death, as he was forgotten in life.
Jeremiah’s tiny little body was found in a ditch on the side of Interstate 190 in Sterling, just south of Exit 6, an area that is regularly mowed and attended to. He had been wrapped in cloth and shoved into a suitcase, then dumped in the ditch like a piece of garbage. Authorities stated that Jeremiah’s body was found in “a wrapped condition, somewhat concealed from the elements.” Authorities also announced that Jeremiah’s death is a homicide. Jose has said that Jeremiah’s siblings, do not know that their brother’s body has been recovered. I can’t imagine how hard that conversation is going to be. Jose is waiting to speak with them because, “I have to wait for their doctors to tell me if it’s best for me to tell them now. They’re in therapy now, and I don’t want to give them that bad news right now.”
Miguel Fleitas is the man who organized many searches for Jeremiah has stated that he has received many anonymous tips from members of the community. He says that in January someone told him that Jeremiah was removed from his home in a black suitcase. Fleitas immediately notified authorities who then all kept the information confidential until the discovery of Jeremiah’s body. Fleitas also believes that Jeremiah’s body was dumped in that ditch recently.
Jose Oliver has very publicly stated that he believes there were numerous people involved in his son’s death, and I couldn’t agree with him more. At the very least, there have been people who have helped to cover up Jeremiah’s death, and as far as I am concerned, that is just as bad as murdering this little man. Jose believes that Jeremiah’s body was recently dumped in that ditch and has not been there for the 7 months in which Jeremiah has been missing.
Again, I absolutely agree with Jose. Hundreds of drivers go past that very spot every day and the area it was located is an area that is mowed often, so there is no way that a suitcase in the ditch would go unnoticed for that long. Just as most of us are feeling, Jose wants answers, saying “There’s more people involved in this besides my wife and Alberto Sierra. A couple of people know what happened. My question is now who did it and why they did it. I want answers. Why did he get thrown here? When did he get thrown here? Why all of sudden the body just appears from nowhere?”
Jose has said that his 7 year old daughter told him that she witnessed a black suitcase being removed from the home and was told to go to her room when she saw it. Standing on the side of the road where his son’s body was found, Jose was heartbroken and angry saying, “I just can’t believe that he was thrown here like that, like he was an animal or something. How you going to have a heart to take a 5 year old boy and wrap him up in a blanket and put him in a suitcase? That’s a monster.”
Jeremiah’s uncle, Sandrino Oliver, has been very active in searching for his nephew and attending court hearings since Jeremiah was reported missing. He in fact as had several public emotional break downs showing just how much pain he is in. When he heard the news that the body was confirmed to be Jeremiah’s, he was so overcome with grief that he collapsed and went into convulsions at Jeremiah’s memorial. Sandrino was placed on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance where he repeatedly screamed Jeremiah’s name over and over.
As friends and family told Sandrino to stay strong for his neice and nephew, Juliana and Romeo, he broke down further crying out that state officials would not let him see Jeremiah’s siblings. Sandrino’s mother in law, Helen Valcourt, was stricken and became ill watching her son in law’s break down and was also placed on a stretcher. She did decline the ambulance taking her to the hospital. Miguel Fleitas, one of the residents who organized searches for Jeremiah, hugged Sandrino and tried to calm him saying “It’s better he’s found now. You can say goodbye now.” Miguel Fleitas has since announced that he had established a trust fund at IC Federal Credit Union in Fitchburg in Juliana and Romeo’s name. The siblings will be able to access the trust when they turn 18 years old.
Jeremiah’s dad, Jose Oliver, is also questioning how DCF employees should be handled publicly stating that he also doesn’t just want to see DCF officials fired, but face prison time for failing to protect Jeremiah from a known threat. Jose said “I don’t believe that just firing them is good enough. My son is dead. … I believe they all should be put in jail – the DCF people who should have gone to the house. If they would have gone to the house, my son would probably be alive today.” Jose also says Gov. Deval Patrick shares in the blame, “He’s sticking up for them (DCF), saying they did a good job. How did they do a good job when my son is dead?”
So here is something that makes me sick and disgusted. Jeremiah was failed by DCF and as a result he was brutally tortured and murdered. He suffered the entire time he was on this planet, and DCF laziness ensured that he was forgotten, left defenceless against these monsters. Now we have Jeremiah’s siblings who were taken from the home as a result of their brother’s disappearance and murder and placed into protective custody with DCF – WTF?? Does anyone else see the problem here, the irony???!
The very same agency that murdered Jeremiah is the same agency claiming to be protecting his siblings! This just makes my head spin, and I know that this is so wrong, so very very wrong, and it is something that needs to be changed. DCF should not be allowed to fail these children once, let alone given the opportunity to fail them twice. Olga Roche, the DCF commissioner who needs to be fired and charged, actually has the audacity to comment on this entire situation as though it could not have been prevented, that it somehow was not DCF’s fault. “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jeremiah Oliver. DCF continue to focus on caring for Jeremiah’s siblings to ensure they are receiving the support they need during this very difficult time.” I want to slam my head into a brick wall repeatedly – why is this allowed to continue on as it has?
In the wake of Jeremiah’s case and beginning to voice concerns over DCF’s actions, or rather inactions, a shining ray of hope has shined through, and her name is Shaunna O’Connell, a member of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. She has been very vocal about what needs to be done, and I couldn’t agree more with or her or support her more. O’Connell has called on Gov.. Deval Patrick to fire DCF Commissioner Olga Roche, saying the move is already months overdue. “I don’t think we would be missing anything at all if Olga Roche was fired tomorrow. If it doesn’t take one little boy missing, what does it take? She tried to minimize the case. She came out immediately and said it was not a systemic problem when she really had no idea what she was talking about. She hasn’t been a leader, she’s been an obstructionist and a hindrance. My heart goes out the that little boy’s family. God bless his soul. It brings you to tears to think what this poor little boy’s life was like under the watch of DCF. His life was torture and torment and now he’s dead.”
The out pouring of grief and shock brought many people out to the memorial set up for Jeremiah to pay their respects and honor the little boy that received his wings too soon. One little girl especially touched my heart. Aracelia Torres’ 8 year old daughter, Gia Alcantara, had seen Jeremiah’s case on the news. She asked her Mom if they could go to the memorial and Aracelia brought her daughter there. Once there, Gia placed her favorite stuffed animal, a bear named Teddy, with the other stuffed animals at the memorial. Gia’s compassion is something I wish all people had, this little girl is an angel – Gia, if your Mom and you read this, I just want to say thank you, and I want you to know that loving Jeremiah so much to give him Teddy, only shows the incredible young lady you will become. Mom – Your daughter is an inspiring miracle. She makes this world a better place, and you have raised her to be what she already is, you also are incredible.
Jeremiah’s memorial was set up with a plastic table to hold all of the candles being lit in his honor. Stuffed animals piled high, and notes left to a perfect little boy that deserved better. Unfortunately there was a bit of a scare at the memorial site when mourners failed to extinguish their candles before leaving which ended up in the table catching fire. The fire was a small one and did little damage thankfully. Volunteers who have helped put the memorial together are asking that the public doesn’t leave candles at the memorial site, a sign reading ‘no candles please’ has been placed next to the memorial.
I can’t imagine what Jose is going through, and God forbid I were to ever be in his position, I don’t know what would be better, knowing my son was no longer with us, or having a sliver of hope that he is out there and ok.
Jose shared that he would have rather Jeremiah’s body never been found, keeping hope that he was alive, than to have found him discarded by the side of the highway. “It hurts more now, now that I know that he’s dead. I would have preferred not finding him at all and have that hope alive than finding him dead. Just the thought of putting a child in a suitcase, carrying the suitcase down the stairs, putting the suitcase in the car and driving down the highway to leave it on the side of the road – how do you do that and sleep at night?” Jose went on to call Sierra “a punk and a coward” for laying his hands on Elsa and the children – I think Jose was being nice saying that, because I would have used a whole lot of other words that shouldn’t be in a lady’s vocabulary (clearly I am not a lady!).
Jose has spoken to his plans to honor his son’s life by speaking publicly against child abuse, advocating for programs for single mothers, fighting to get his other children back, and bringing attention to keep the state DCF on track. I sincerely hope that he is able to clean his life up, get away from the drugs, and do all of the things he has said he will do. Jose could be a great advocate in the fight against child abuse, after all, no one feels it more than the parent who has lost their child to abuse. More importantly though, I hope he can gain custody of his two older children, and give them the life they deserve, the life Jeremiah never had.
Jeremiah’s life is being honored in many ways, and Michelle Silva, Jose Oliver’s ex-wife has also paid her tribute to Jeremiah. Michelle’s sons, Sixto, 19, and Brandon, 13, are Jeremiah’s half brothers, and they are taking the loss of their brother pretty hard. Together she, her sons and members of the community honored Jeremiah by releasing balloons for him, blue balloons for child abuse, and white balloons for peace. “What child doesn’t like balloons? We want to remember him as a happy little boy, laughing and lovable. We’re going to raise our balloons, have a prayer for him and set him free.” Michelle stated.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver, please immediately contact the Massachusetts State Police at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: