FITCHBURG, Mass. —He’s been missing for 3 months, but authorities said whatever happened to 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver is news to them only now.
“We are treating this as a potential homicide,” said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early.
The boy’s mother, Elsa Oliver, 28, was held without bail on charges of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of accessory after the fact of assault. She was held pending further mental evaluation.
The boy’s relatives said she is “acting” as if she has mental issues to avoid revealing what happened to her son.
Her boyfriend, Albert Sierra, 22, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a child causing bodily injury.
Sierra pleaded not guilty Monday and is being held without bail until a dangerousness hearing.
Early said Oliver was last seen by other relatives Sept. 14. Those relatives do not live in the Fitchburg area.
Early said police got a report Friday he might be missing, leading to the charges against the boy’s mother and her boyfriend.
Early said he believes both Jeremiah and his sister are victims of abuse.
Early said the boy’s 7-year-old-sister told her teacher Jeremiah was missing just last Friday.
The boy’s family is gravely concerned about the boy.
“He’s been missing three months. We just want him back. Can somebody please help us find him. We just want him back, that’s what we want,” uncle Santrino Oliver said.
Police search their Fitchburg home on Kimball Street, where neighbors said they have noticed an odor for months.
“It’s very upsetting, it’s very upsetting. It’s kids. Who would want to harm a child?” said Ada Santos.
According to court documents, Sierra was arrested for assault on a former girlfriend. In a restraining order application the woman wrote: “He has punched me, hit me. I’m terrified of him and afraid to lose my life and my son.”
Two state workers have been fired since the boy was reported missing.
When Jeremiah didn’t show up for daycare, his mother told the Department of Families and Youth Services that the boy had moved to Florida to live with his grandmother. The social worker who was supposed to be checking on the family and the supervisor checking on the social worker have both been fired because they never checked out her story, according to the Department of Families and Youth Services.