Searchers look for missing boy
Posted in the Fitchburg Forum
Since: Feb 10
#1 Dec 22, 2013
FITCHBURG -- An hour into Saturday's search party for his missing 5-year-old nephew, Sandrino Oliver pushed his forehead against the chainlink fence on the railroad bridge and cried.
"I'm trying to keep it together," he said before walking back to his family.
More than 100 people showed up for the informal search party to scour the neighborhood for any sign of Jeremiah Oliver, who was last seen three months ago. The state police had previously searched the house for any sign of the boy, including a search with K-9 units at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning, but community members said they wanted to at least try.
It was an emotional day for members of the boy's family, especially Sandrino Oliver, who cried out in anguish right at the start and had to be led away by supporters. His brother, Jose Oliver of Worcester, Jeremiah's biological father, led volunteers as they searched along the railroad tracks, on the edges of factory buildings, in culverts and along the Nashua River.
Jose Oliver compared the outpouring of community support to what followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"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," he said.
He said he hasn't seen his son in two years because of a restraining order filed by the boy's mother, Elsa Oliver. She is in custody and has not answered questions from authorities about the boy's location. Also in custody is her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, who is suspected of being involved in the boy's disappearance and abusing her other two children.
"I know that they didn't have a car, and if they did do something to him, he'd be somewhere around here," said Jose Oliver.
Police had expressed concerns that members of the amateur search party could accidentally destroy or damage any evidence they find, but still allowed it to continue in the neighborhood surrounding the mother's home.
Online organizers had asked that participants be careful with anything they uncover and show it to police without disturbing it, but when asked what precautions they were taking to preserve anything they found, Jose Oliver said he hadn't heard about the concern from police.
"I don't know, I don't have an answer for that," he said.
Pastor Steve Mayo of Elm Street Community Church led the group in a prayer before they started at the meeting space on Kimball Street, across the street from Jeremiah's home. He also passed along a message from Mayor Lisa Wong, asking people to keep track of any young children they brought with them.
Catherine Norcross, 41, of Fitchburg, showed up more than an hour early with her daughter, Bianca Wright, 19, and searched under the railroad bridge.
"This is about a little boy," said Catherine Norcross. She said it's terrible that the boy's mother doesn't even seem upset about it. She was doubtful they would find anything.
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. Like most people there, he said he doesn't know the family but felt compelled to get involved.
"I've got a 6-year-old son and 2-year-old stepdaughter -- I know what this feels like," said Perez.
Since: Feb 10
#2 Dec 22, 2013
Kristy Stanley, of Fitchburg, lives up the road on Kimball Street and said the case is heartbreaking.
"I couldn't look out my window and see everyone here and not help," she said. "I can't even imagine it being one of my kids."
Her mother, Michelle Stanley, also of Fitchburg, said every member of Jeremiah Oliver's family has acted poorly.
"The father hadn't seen his son in two years. There's no excuse for that. People are saying the mother was abused, but she didn't live with her boyfriend. She had plenty of time to go to the police," she said. "This is about an innocent boy, and the rest of the family hadn't seen him in three months." She said she's afraid the court system will let them get away with it.
"He was just a baby, a little boy," she said.
Fitchburg police officers were on hand to observe but said they could not get involved in the search. At one point searchers found bones along the railroad tracks, but an officer said they came from an animal like a raccoon. Discarded clothing was also spotted, but officers said discarded clothes have always been found up and down the tracks. One officer informed searchers that the Dumpster they were digging through behind the FATV station had been dumped several times since September.
Edwin Hernnandez, a father of seven, said the government would have put more effort into searching for the boy and would have assisted them on Saturday if Jeremiah Oliver were white instead of Latino.
"Where's the cops today? If it was a white boy everyone would be looking for him," he said. "No one else cares."
Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early said they encourage the public to help, and in situations like Saturday's search party, it's always best to ask the police before they do anything that could effect the investigation.
"We certainly didn't want to turn down the public's help," said Early.
Police have searched the area numerous times with police dogs. Another search was conducted Saturday because it was the warmest day since the investigation started and therefore provided the best chance to find the boy's body if it was outside, according to Early. They looked in several areas but found nothing.
He said the 6:30 a.m. search on Saturday wasn't scheduled to swoop in before any amateur sleuths accidentally compromise evidence, but because the dogs work best with few disturbances, and the search party itself would have distracted them.
Follow Michael Hartwell at facebook.com/michaelhartwell
Since: Feb 10
#3 Dec 22, 2013
Father of missing Fitchburg boy pleads for his return
By George Barnes TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — Supported by his brother and choking back tears, the father of missing 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver pleaded Friday for the boy's return.
Mr. Oliver, 41, of New Britain, Conn., arrived at his brother Sandrino Oliver's home at 15½ Mendon St. Thursday night.
Friday afternoon, he said it was two years ago at the house on Mendon Street that he last saw 5-year-old Jeremiah and his two other young children. He said he has a hard time believing his son is missing and may be dead.
"I'm confused," he said. "I'm still thinking this must be a dream — that I'm going to wake up anytime soon and realize it's a dream."
Mr. Oliver, who does not drive, said he has been trying to get to Massachusetts since he learned earlier this week of his son's disappearance.
"I'm here to fight for my son. I'm here to find my son. I'm here to fight for the other children," he said. "I'm here to be a father."
Mr. Oliver's memories of his son are of a sweet boy, he said.
"He is a little wildcat. He's smart. He's funny. He's like a little teddy bear," he said. "What I miss most about him is his smile."
Mr. Oliver's other two children are in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families. He said he has already talked with state officials about the process he would need to follow to gain custody of the children.
Jeremiah Oliver has been missing since Sept. 14. The boy's mother Elsa Oliver, 28, and her boyfriend, Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 23, face child abuse charges. They are due back in Fitchburg District Court Dec. 24. Ms. Oliver was ordered Tuesday to undergo mental health evaluation. Mr. Sierra was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Monday.
As police continue to search for the missing 5-year-old boy, a third state employee has been disciplined in the case.
Mr. Oliver said he believes he and Ms. Oliver are still married and have been for 8 years. He said he has not received any legal papers indicating otherwise. He said his wife had a restraining order against him, but insisted it was not because of any abuse on his part. He said the reason he has not seen the children in two years is that Ms. Oliver prevented him from seeing them. He said he loves Jeremiah and wants him safe.
"I feel hopeless," he said. "I feel I should have been there to protect him, but she did not allow me to be there."
Mr. Oliver said he does not know Alberto Sierra or anything about him.
"I don't know how she met him," he said.
Still, he said, he hopes Mr. Sierra will let people know where Jeremiah is.
"Talk. Open your mouth," he said. "It's too late for you. At least let us know where he's at."
Mr. Oliver says he believes his wife knows where Jeremiah is, but finds it hard to believe she would have harmed him.
"She's not a mean person. She's not evil," he said. "I want people to stop saying nasty stuff about her. That's not her. She's sweet. She's kind."
Mr. Oliver said that if his wife is not talking it's because of abuse.
"I want to tell her,'He's in jail now. He can't hurt you.'"
Friends and relatives held a vigil for the missing child on Wednesday. About 75 people gathered for a second vigil Friday evening in front of 15 Mendon St., where Mr. Oliver lived with his wife and children until two years ago.
More than half of those at the event were Mr. Oliver's aunts, uncles and many cousins. They all echoed the message, posted on a sign propped up by snow on the sidewalk: "We miss you, we love you."
Since: Feb 10
#4 Dec 22, 2013
Beneath the sign, someone carved out several feet of snow for the dozens of lighted candles, teddy bears, and a blue water jug for donations.
Mr. Oliver's brother, Sandrino, said he remembers Jeremiah coming up the stairs to his family's apartment to ask his now 18-year-old daughter to read to him. He said his daughter, who recently became a mother herself, was too distraught to attend the vigil.
Mr. Oliver said he would be meeting with a representative from the Department of Children and Families on Monday afternoon in Leicester with the hopes that he could get his children back after being without them for two years.
Wearing a shirt with a picture of his son on the front and the word "Daddy" on the back, he urged his wife to cooperate with the investigation, and said that with permission of the judge, he would speak to her.
"I believe she will talk to me," he said. "If you're not gonna do it for me, do it for" our children.
Relatives and friends are also planning a search in Fitchburg on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the area near 276 Kimball St. where the child lived. The search is not being organized by the police, but by Mr. Oliver's brother and volunteers in Fitchburg.
Mr. Oliver said they expect to search a nearby brook and bridge that runs over it, around old factories, in dumpsters — anywhere the child might be found.
An announcement of the search was posted on the Facebook page Prayfor JeremiahOliver, Also posted on the page is a notice asking that if any tattoo artist created a butterfly tattoo on Elsa Oliver on Sept. 25, to call the Fitchburg Police Department.
Along with the firings of a state DCF social worker and the person who supervised that worker, an area program manager has been reassigned during the department's investigation into the case.
Alec Loftus, a spokesman for the state DCF, said the reassigning of the area program manager is customary in cases where an investigation is required. He said the area program manager who was reassigned was in charge of overseeing supervisors in Fitchburg.
"Any determination as to the future of this or any other employee will be made after the conclusion of the full and transparent investigation ordered by the governor," he said.
The social worker was fired for failing to make regular visits to the Oliver household to check on the welfare of the Oliver children. A DCF area program manager was also reassigned while the case is being investigated.
In announcing the firings of the supervisor and social worker on Wednesday, DCF Commissioner Olga Roche said the social worker failed to follow up a report from the child's day care. The day care reported Jeremiah's mother notified it in June that it was the boy's last day and he would be going to live with his grandmother in Florida.
Cayenne Isaksen, a spokesman for the DCF, confirmed Wednesday that not only did the social worker fail to make mandatory visits to the Oliver home when there were serious concerns about the fitness of the child's living situation, it was recommended that Ms. Oliver and her family be released from state oversight because they were doing so well.
Gov. Deval Patrick, speaking on WGBH-FM on Friday, said that oversight of the Oliver family went downhill after the case was transferred to a different office. He said a representation was made that the family was fine and in a new apartment with brand-new furniture even though no one from DCF had actually gone to see it.
Mr. Patrick also said that more senior officials at DCF may be disciplined in the case.
"I've asked the commissioner (of DCF) to look into the question of whether responsibility goes beyond those two, and I have some reason to believe that it does," he said.
#5 Dec 22, 2013
Hmmm I'm don't see felon Lynch's name mentioned anywhere.
#6 Dec 22, 2013
I'm not surprised. Even young reporters have the innate ability to detect a crazy person after a few minutes of conversation.
If Lynch tried to talk to any on them, he wouldn't have been able to restrain himself and, instead of talking about the search for a missing child, would have launched into a wild screaming tirade about the GOBN, and the Sentinel and Antonucci, wildly waving his arms about, face getting redder and redder, eyes getting wilder and wilder, spitting, and the Scalley cap almost spinning around on his head. You know, his usual mode.
And I can see some 25 year old recent graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism slowly backing up saying "Thaaaaaaaaanks. I think I'm all set" while looking for a cop thinking silently "Holy Christ! I don't know if I'll make it out of here alive!"
So, yeah. It's not surprising that there wasn't any Lynch ink.
#7 Dec 22, 2013
Lynch is once again caught in a lie. Every time Lynch opens his mouth it's either to swallow a load or tell a lie.
Since: Feb 10
#8 Dec 22, 2013
(CNN)-- Five-year-old Jeremiah Oliver was last seen by his Massachusetts relatives on September 14. But the investigation into his disappearance didn't begin until last week when the authorities were first alerted to it.
Now, the child is feared dead, his mother and her boyfriend are in custody, and everyone is left wondering how a child could simply vanish unnoticed for three months.
How could this happen, especially to a child who was supposed to be receiving monthly visits from a state-provided social worker?
Turns out, tragically, Jeremiah was not getting the visits, state officials say.
Who's to blame?
The finger pointing, demands for accountability and calls for investigations are reverberating throughout the state.
"This is a deeply concerning case of neglect and abuse," said Olga Roche, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. The state agency was charged with the responsibility of protecting children from child abuse.
Roche called the situation "a serious failure" and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the boy's social worker and supervisor, both of whom were quickly fired.
"The social worker assigned to this case did not conduct the required in-person, monthly checks on the family," Roche said in a statement. "And the supervisor failed to enforce that policy."
Neither the social worker nor the supervisor have been named, but their union spokesman says they have been made "convenient scapegoats" at an overwhelmed agency.
"We are disappointed that Commissioner Roche is more interested in finger-pointing than accepting responsibility for yet another tragedy on her watch," said Jason Stephany of the Service Employees International Union Local 509, which represents caseworkers at the Department of Children and Families. "Instead, the Commissioner has chosen a convenient scapegoat to deflect blame from department administrators."
More blame to go around
But Gov. Deval Patrick hinted Friday that they might not be the only two held accountable.
"I've asked the Commissioner to look into the question about whether responsibility goes beyond those two," he said in an appearance on Boston Public Radio. "I have some reason to believe it does."
The last documentation of an interaction with Jeremiah was in May, according to Department of Children and Families spokesman Alec Loftus.
In June, Loftus says the social worker was told that Jeremiah had moved to Florida to live with his grandmother, but never bothered to follow up or verify whether that was the case.
The last time a visit to the home occurred was in November, at which Loftus says the social worker left behind a business card indicating that this would be DCF's final visit.
Just days later, on December 2, Jeremiah's 8-year-old sister disclosed to counselors at her elementary school that her mom's boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, 22, had abused her, according to a police affidavit.
Multiple calls to Sierra's attorney have gone unreturned.
"As a result of those statements" the affidavit continues, "[she] and [another brother that isn't Jeremiah] were removed from the home and taken into protective custody."
When cops asked Elsa Oliver, 28, where her third child Jeremiah was, she told them that he had moved to Florida, a law enforcement source involved in the investigation told CNN.
This time, however, she was going to have to prove it.
Since: Feb 10
#9 Dec 22, 2013
Where is Jeremiah?
Oliver went before a state juvenile judge at a hearing on December 13, where she was "observed to have bruises, disheveled hair, and appeared to have been assaulted," according to court documents.
She refused to divulge Jeremiah's whereabouts, according to the source.
The judge ordered her to produce the child within 72 hours. The time passed with no sign of Jeremiah.
Oliver was arrested.
The mother has been charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of accessory after the fact of a felony (assault and battery with a dangerous weapon), according to a statement from Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early. A plea of not guilty was entered on her behalf.
Those charges may not necessarily pertain to Jeremiah and more details could emerge at a December 24 hearing, a spokesman for the district attorney's office said.
Elsa Oliver's attorney, James Gavin Reardon, wasn't able to elaborate either.
"I met with her for 10 hours and was unable to obtain any significant information" Reardon said, prompting him to seek a mental health evaluation to determine whether she was even competent enough to stand charges.
He says that evaluation is currently underway.
Sierra, meanwhile, is charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault and battery on a child causing bodily injury, according to the district attorney's office said.
A plea of not guilty was also entered on his behalf.
He also has a hearing scheduled for December 24.
For now, authorities are holding out hope that Jeremiah might be out there somewhere, and they're asking anyone who might know anything to call the Massachusetts State Police.
#10 Dec 22, 2013
in the first article someone should point out to edwin hernandez,#1 THAT THE LITTLE BOY HAS BEEN GONE FOR A LONG TIME AND NO ONE IN THE FAMILY NOTICED....AND I BELIEVE THEY ARE HISPANIC NOT WHITE....AND ALSO THAT THIS IS ABOUT A CHILD....ALSO THERE IS A GIRL WITH HIS LAST NAME IN NORTH CONWAY MISSING ABIGAIL HERNANDEZ WERE IS HE LOOKING FOR HER.. AND HOW MANY WHITE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR HER A LOT... SO TELL HIM HIS REMARKS DON'T HELP THE SITUATION . IN ABIGAIL HERNANDEZ there is a single mother of two who cares and is loving .in this case you have people after the fact that show they care that's not good enough for a defenseless little kid... but behind the scene you EDWIN HERNANDEZ u do not know what is happening to find this little boy from all colors..so keep your racist remarks to yourself its offensive not only to me and i am white but also to all who are trying to help
#12 Dec 22, 2013
Sick of hearing about this case,thousands of veterans blown away in Vietnam and nobody cares. Get it topix.
#13 Dec 22, 2013
And if you were missing no one would shed a tear or lift a finger to did you. It would be no great loss.
#14 Dec 22, 2013
I was there when he yelled what he did, it was a very frustrating moment for everyone .A woman immediately stated OK, lets not get to winded up and lets pay and this is when we made a circle. Emotions are running high. What he was attempting to state is a "connected" child would receive at least dogs and acknowledgement from the Mayor and Chief which wasn't the case here in Fitchburg.
And I will tell you that there wasn't ANY footprints nor dog prints in that snow before we began to track through the snow so the K-9 claim is not true. Yes they were in the house with k-9 and in a couple areas around Fitchburg but they didn't search around the neighborhood. If this couple did not have a car then they had an accomplice ad/or have placed the boy in the local area.
They know this just by statistics alone. And let it be known tat there hasn't been a person freed for mental incompetence in Massachusetts in a very long time as it is extremely rare. If the guy knows something or the mother they should tell all now.
There was two police officers at the search site and they were working with the people but when Mac showed up they just stayed with him in the middle of Kimball street. Mac stated ,"that is Lynch" and the officer immediately changed his look to me before that he came down the snowy hill to check on the bones that Dave found.
I heard one searcher state, "all they want to do is talk about a new Camaro that one of them bought". This is when the crowd began to get frustrated. So, yes there are a few bad apples within the FPD that completely create a sour taste concerning the trust of the police.
From that moment it was then a focus on the crowd instead of helping the searchers.
Since: Feb 10
#15 Dec 22, 2013
The cops probably heard about your boyfriends brother's girlfriend accusing you of trying to kidnap the kid she had custody of and thought you could possibly be a suspect in the case. Lynch, are you that guy in the last picture here up in the middle top side just off the railroad tracks holding a stick and wearing the scaly cap? If it is, you look bewildered.
#16 Dec 22, 2013
Lynch they took the money to buy the car with drug bust money they'd have some more money too
#17 Dec 22, 2013
I was at the search and you have stated lies FACT
#18 Dec 22, 2013
Are you sure it was a stick and not a golf club? And I heard the cops talking about psycho boy. As usual, he left out part of the conversation. What the cop actually said was "See that guy with the Scally cap and the binoculars? That's Lynch. He's got a criminal record for assaulting a lot of cops, so be careful."
#19 Dec 22, 2013
You are a coward who states lies and attempts to have other criminals fight your battle FACT
Court records indicate you are a dangerous convicted murderer who should be sent back to a cage FACT
You are a coward FACT
You never organized a protest like you claimed you would, you lie FACT
#20 Dec 22, 2013
I think they sold the kid for drug money maybe to Renee
#21 Dec 22, 2013
Wow, I hit a note with you,huh? Sorry, but you are the coward and corrupt cop! FACT!
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