Nine years after a 5-year-old boy was found dead in a suitcase near an interstate highway, a Massachusetts man has been charged in the death.
Alberto L. Sierra Jr., 32, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Thursday, NBC Boston reported.
The Fitchburg man is accused of killing Jeremiah Oliver, who also lived in the city of about 42,000 about 20 miles north of Worcester.
Sierra was the boyfriend of the boy’s mother.
Jeremiah was reported missing in late 2013, and his body was found in a suitcase on I-190 in Sterling on April 18, 2014, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office said.
The medical examiner’s office determined the manner of death as homicide and the cause as «homicidal violence of undetermined etiology,» the prosecution said.
Sierra was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder and exhumation of a body, according to nbc boston. He is being held in jail without bail, and it is not clear from records available online whether he has retained a lawyer.
The press release from the district attorney’s office did not detail what led to the arrest and recent charges.
In 2017, Sierra pleaded guilty to assault and battery charges against the mother and two of her three children, the district attorney’s office said. said at the time. He was sentenced to six or seven years in prison.
But at the time, he had not been charged in the boy’s death.
The boy’s mother, Elsa Oliver, also pleaded guilty in 2017 to assault and battery and two counts of recklessly endangering a child, and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.
Elsa Oliver and the children had been involved with the state Department of Children and Families before Jeremiah went missing.
A social worker who did not regularly visit Oliver and his children, and two supervisors were fired after the disappearance and death, according to a report by the state Children’s Advocate Office. The state made changes to things like home visits and case reviews, she said.