WORCESTER, Mass. — A Fitchburg man charged in the death of a 5-year-old boy whose body was found in a suitcase along a highway in Sterling has been ordered held without bail.
Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 32, was indicted and arraigned Thursday in Worcester Superior Court on a charge of murder and disinterring of a body in the death of Jeremiah Oliver, according to the Worcester District Attorney’s Office.
Jeremiah, who lived with his mother in Fitchburg, was discovered missing in late 2013. Investigators say his body was found on April 18, 2014, in a suitcase off Interstate 190 in Sterling.
Jeremiah was reported missing after his sister told Fitchburg school officials that Sierra was abusing the children and she had not seen her brother for weeks.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Jeremiah’s death to be a homicide and listed the cause of death as “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology.”
Prosecutors, Fitchburg police, and state police detectives assigned to the DA’s office continued working the case, and on Wednesday, announced the additional murder charge against Sierra.
Sierra was not in custody Wednesday when he was arrested on the murder charge, the DA’s office said.
In 2017, Sierra pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery, and two counts of reckless endangerment of a child. The seven charges stemmed from incidents involving his girlfriend, Elsa Oliver, and two of her three kids. He was sentenced to six to seven years in state prison with three years of probation.
Elsa pleaded guilty to assault and battery and two counts of reckless endangerment of a child in August 2017.
Jeremiah’s death led to intense scrutiny of the Department of Children and Families. A caseworker had been assigned to the Oliver family and the worker hadn’t noticed Jeremiah was missing for several months.
An investigation into Jeremiah’s death remains ongoing.
Sierra is due back in court on May 25.
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