Fitchburg police chief: Family's searches for missing boy not disruptive
Posted in the Fitchburg Forum
Since: Feb 10
#1 Jan 15, 2014
FITCHBURG -- Police Chief Robert DeMoura praised the work of concerned citizens in planning and executing community searches to find clues surrounding the disappearance of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver.
Oliver was last seen by his family in September and is feared dead. His mother, Elsa Oliver, is being held on contempt-of-court charges because she has not told a juvenile court judge where her son is.
Her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, is being held without bail for allegedly abusing Oliver and her children over a period of several months.
Dozens of comments have surfaced on social-media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, criticizing the searches, saying they aren't being conducted professionally and could taint any evidence that may be found.
Posts have also claimed the volunteers will not likely find anything and that the searches should be left to the proper authorities.
But DeMoura defended the searches.
"Any time a group of people, especially relatives and family members search, it's good for them," he said. "We do have officers at most of the locations they're searching. Overall, people want to take part in something like this. Really, there is no way I would even consider saying we shouldn't be doing this."
He said officers stationed at the search areas are not active participants, but are there in case evidence is found so the area can be contained appropriately.
Also, no volunteers have gone on any private property, DeMoura said, and as far as he knows, they do not intend to do so without permission from the property owner.
As a parent, he said, if it was one of his children he would want to do whatever he could to help speed the process along.
"All of us -- including myself if I put myself in this situation -- I would want to be doing something myself while I waited for something from the police," he said. "If you look at the other side, if we said they couldn't do the searches because they're our job, they aren't. It's a human's job to help in times of need, especially if someone has intuition or expertise."
Fitchburg resident Miguel Fleitas, a self-described Navy reservist with training in search-and-rescue missions, has been organizing the searches, and he has said from day one that if a searcher happens upon a potential crime scene, the search is immediately stopped, and police are called.
DeMoura said that as far as he knows, the department has not received any complaints from residents about the searches.
"If we had calls complaining, we would be very cautious about everything," he said. "Right now, everything is working well. It's a community need and a community involvement. They know what line they can't cross."
He said the investigation into Jeremiah's disappearance is still ongoing, and he feels for the family and what they are going through.
"It's been beneficial to the family and relatives for closure," he said. "It makes them get up every morning, and that's so important to them. This is very important to us."
Jennifer Unitas, a volunteer with the Southern New England Search and Rescue group, has also volunteered with the search efforts and said things are very structured.
"Everyone knows if they come across something, nobody goes near it except for team leaders to evaluate it," she said.
Every time she or another volunteer goes out, it's with small yellow flag markers that are stuck in the ground to mark evidence, she said. If evidence is found, the coordinates are marked in a GPS unit and then given to law enforcement to make it easier to find.
#2 Jan 15, 2014
"Dozens of comments have surfaced on social-media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, criticizing the searches, saying they aren't being conducted professionally and could taint any evidence that may be found.
Posts have also claimed the volunteers will not likely find anything and that the searches should be left to the proper authorities."
Gee, guess who the social media blowhards are!! No doubt it's some of the haters here!!
But what do you know, the searchers are doing a good job all around and the blow hards are just blowhards and always will be.
#3 Jan 15, 2014
My personal experience proved that it makes sense to perform your own search and not to rely on the police to actually perform their jobs.
I had a car that was parked on the side of the road in Fitchburg and it was slammed into by a passing car (no, I had not parked like Officer Perry Pappas of the FPD sometimes parks on the side of Route 190). The car that struck my car left the scene of the accident; but there was a witness who gave me a good description of the perps car. So, being the lawful person that I am; I called the FPD to report the accident. A disinterested cop soon showed up and he gave me the standard response "there is really nothing we can do but we will fill out a report". I reminded him that we had the description of a fairly unique vehicle that had sustained severe front end damage. Again, I was told "there is really nothing that we can do".
I quickly realized that the FPD planned on putting zero effort into solving this caper. So, I simply drove around a few neighborhoods in Fitchburg. Within a couple of hours I had found the damaged vehicle. I called the FPD to let them know that I had done their jobs for them and that the whole thing should be a slam dunk from here. Alas, a day later I was told that there was nothing that the FPD could do...case closed...
Based on my personal experience, I would highly recommend that ANYONE who is the victim of a un unsolved crime makes the effort to solve things for themselves. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the police have any motivation whatsover to actually do their jobs. Unless, of course, they themselves or their friends or family members are the victims...
#4 Jan 15, 2014
You are my hero. Do you have much experience with finding missing boys?
#5 Jan 15, 2014
I always suspected that you held me in high regard. I am glad that you have finally admitted it for the Readers of Leominster Topix Forum ....it has got to feel liberating for you.
#6 Jan 15, 2014
How about finding boys that are not missing... can you find them too???
#7 Jan 15, 2014
They are doing their jobs. They have two people in custody that know where the boy is. Now you can search for decades and waste your time finding nothing or you can concentrate on the mother and boyfriend and get them to talk.
So are the police suppose to abandon their jobs and just search the 33% of the area that is city property because they would need a search order to enter private property.
So go and tell the police where they should be searching because you must have some leads and tips so they won't waste their time.
#8 Jan 15, 2014
Thank you and may God bless your kind soul. I hope you are willing to donate your extensive detective skills to the search of the lost boy.
#9 Jan 15, 2014
Quite a bit of unique information provided in your text...
#10 Jan 15, 2014
I M sick of all you jerkoffs on topix,this is my last post. Goodby fir ever Mikey !shurley!Pauling Joanne !buck wheat. Good luck with your lives,I'm on go bigger and better pastures,may run god selectman or enter the porn industry.
#11 Jan 18, 2014
Be careful, they are using police computers to hunt you down. They will get caught researching and the Chief with cover it up for them. Be careful as they are a gang themselves.
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