Death of Fitchburg boy found near highway ruled a homicide

Jeremiah Oliver

The death of Jeremiah Oliver, the boy who was declared missing in 2013 and whose body was found in a suitcase near I-90 in Sterling in 2014, has been ruled a homicide, the Worcester District Attorney’s office said Thursday.

The autopsy report listed the boy’s death as “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology,’’ according to the DA’s office.

Elsa Oliver, Jeremiah’s mother, is facing nine charges, including kidnapping of a child, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment of a child, authorities said. Oliver’s boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, is facing 13 charges, including kidnapping of a child, indecent assault and battery of a child, and permitting injury to a child.

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Jeremiah was 4 years old when he was last seen by a relative. The Department of Children and Families were monitoring the boy’s family for two years in response to allegations of neglect. According to a Boston Globereport, Jeremiah and his siblings often went hungry and were “in harm’s way.’’

An investigation into his disappearance found the DCF social worker assigned to his case had skipped required monthly visits in the months before he disappeared, spurring investigations into the agency and the resignation of its commissioner.

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