The body found in a suitcase on the side of a Massachusetts highway last week is that of Jeremiah Oliver, the 5-year-old boy who went missing seven months ago, officials announced over the weekend.
The child's body was discovered off Interstate 190 near Sterling, Mass., Friday, wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a suitcase-like duffel bag, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. told reporters Saturday, according to CNN
Oliver was reportedly last seen by relatives in September, but wasn't reported missing until December. His mother, 28-year-old Elsa Oliver, and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Alberto Sierra, have both since been indicted on child abuse charges in connection to Oliver's disappearance.
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Allegations of neglect and abuse in the Oliver household first surfaced in 2011 and, after that, a representative from the state Department of Children and Families was supposed to conduct in-person, monthly check-ups at the home.
But the last documented sighting of Jeremiah Oliver was back in May 2013, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette
. At the following month's check-up, Elsa Oliver reportedly told the social worker her son had gone to live with his grandmother in Florida — something the DCF should have confirmed, but didn't.
Authorities finally became aware of the child's disappearance in December, when Oliver's 8-year-old sister told a counselor at her school that her mother's boyfriend, Sierra, was abusing her and her little brother was missing.
The social worker and supervisor assigned to Jeremiah Oliver's case have since been fired, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jeremiah Oliver," DCF Commissioner Olga Roche said in a statement. "The Department is grateful for the dedication of the District Attorney and law enforcement partners leading this investigation and will continue to assist in any way we can. DCF continues to focus on caring for Jeremiah’s siblings to ensure they are receiving the support they need during this very difficult time."
An autopsy for Oliver, which will reveal a cause of death and a rough timetable of when he died, is not yet complete.
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