A significant development has occurred in a long-standing cold case in Massachusetts, as a man has been indicted for the alleged murder of a young boy whose body was found inside a suitcase by the roadside nearly a decade ago.
Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 32, has been formally charged with murder and disinterring of a body in connection with the tragic death of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, according to an official press release from the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
Following his indictment, Sierra was ordered to be held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on May 25. It remains unclear whether he has entered a plea or sought legal representation to provide comment on his behalf.
Jeremiah, who resided with his mother and siblings in Fitchburg, was reported missing in late 2013, as disclosed by the prosecutor’s office.
His remains were discovered the following April, approximately seven months after his disappearance, inside a suitcase located on the side of Interstate 190 in Sterling, which was around 10 to 15 miles away from his home, according to previous reports by PEOPLE.
After extensive examination, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner officially classified Jeremiah’s death as a homicide, citing “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology” as the cause of death, as stated in the press release.
During the period of the boy’s disappearance, Sierra was in a relationship with Jeremiah’s mother, Elsa Oliver. The boy’s older sister expressed concerns about his well-being to a teacher, prompting the report of his disappearance two months later, as noted by CBS News.
In the aftermath of Jeremiah’s remains being found, three employees of the state’s Department of Children and Families were terminated for negligence, and the commissioner of the department resigned, as reported by the Boston Globe.
According to MassLive, Jeremiah’s mother and Sierra were convicted of assaulting his two surviving siblings prior to their placement in state custody. Prosecutors revealed that the siblings had been subjected to punitive measures such as kneeling in a cold shower.
In 2017, Sierra received a sentence of six to seven years in prison for assaulting Elsa Oliver and Jeremiah’s two surviving siblings, as per the district attorney.
Elsa Oliver pleaded guilty in 2017 to two counts of reckless child endangerment and one count of assault and battery related to the abuse of her two surviving children. She was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
Regarding the investigation into Jeremiah’s death and disappearance, Oliver has not yet been charged, and authorities are committed to thoroughly examining the circumstances before determining the appropriate charges, according to a spokesman for the prosecutor.
At present, prosecutors have not disclosed the specific information or evidence that led to the murder charge against Sierra.