The father of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, whose body was found Friday off a Massachusetts highway, is seeking justice for his murder.
Jose Oliver, Jeremiah’s father, is sad, angry and demanding answers as to how his young son ended up wrapped in a blanket, stuffed in a suitcase on the side of the road.
“I want answers,” said Oliver, outside his New Britain, Conn., home just hours after receiving the news from the medical examiner. “It brings some kind of peace but not no closure because he’s dead. I didn’t get to enjoy him.”
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The Worcester County District Attorney confirmed Saturday that the body found along Interstate 190 in Sterling, Mass., was that of the missing boy.
The active, happy-go-lucky kid lived with his mother, two siblings and his mother’s boyfriend. His father says it’s been two years since he last saw his children.
“He was always happy. He had that puppy dog look in his eyes and that smile. Just innocent. An innocent kid.”
Jeremiah was last seen by relatives in September but wasn't reported missing until December after his 7-year old sister told school counselors she hadn’t seen him in weeks. Authorities have said they feared he was dead.
Jeremiah's mother, Elsa Oliver, 28, pleaded not guilty in March to charges including kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment, according to The Associated Press. Her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, 23, pleaded not guilty to similar charges.
The fallout from Jeremiah’s disappearance got three Massachusetts Department of Children and Families employees fired.
According to police, Jeremiah’s demeanor hid an allegedly tumultuous home life. The family was being monitored by state social workers for two years after allegations of abuse and neglect first surfaced in 2011.
An investigation following the disappearance found that the assigned social worker missed mandatory monthly visits for months leading up to the disappearance.
The grieving father places a lot of blame on the state.
“The three people from DCF that got fired? I don’t think that’s enough. I believe they should go to jail too for neglect on my son,” says Oliver, who refused to discuss the potential of any future lawsuit against the state.
Olga Roche, DCF Commissioner, released a statement saying they’re deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jeremiah and their focus is now on his two remaining siblings.
However, with the shock still settling in, Jose is left to only wonder what could have been.
“I asked him once, ‘what do you wanna be when you grow up?’ He said, “I wanna be a police officer,” Oliver said, holding back tears. “They took that away from him.”
Oliver says he’s heading to Fitchburg, Mass., on Sunday. No funeral arrangements have been made at this point.