WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Three people accused of misleading police officers investigating the disappearance of a 5-year-old boy who later was found dead were indicted by a grand jury on Friday.
The indictments against Cailey Thibault, Ashley Cormier and Christian Sierra move their case to Superior Court, the Worcester district attorney’s office said.
Thibault, Cormier and Sierra face charges of intimidation of a witness and perjury. They previously pleaded not guilty in District Court.
The boy, Jeremiah Oliver, was last seen alive in September 2013, but he wasn’t reported missing from his home in Fitchburg, 45 miles northwest of Boston, until December. His remains were found wrapped in a blanket and packed in a suitcase by the side of Interstate 190 in nearby Sterling in April.
His mother, Elsa Oliver, and her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, were jailed on charges including kidnapping, reckless endangerment and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. They pleaded not guilty.
Christian Sierra is Alberto Sierra’s brother, and Cormier and Thibault are friends of Oliver.
Jeremiah’s case led to a review of the Department of Children and Families and to major changes there.
Jeremiah’s family had been monitored by the department since 2011. Three department employees were fired and a fourth was disciplined after an investigation revealed missed social worker visits and other failed opportunities to engage with the family. The department’s commissioner resigned under mounting pressure following the deaths of Jeremiah and two other children who were being monitored by state child welfare officials.
Many people who attended Jeremiah’s funeral said they hadn’t known him but were touched by his plight.
His father, Jose Oliver, of New Britain, Connecticut, apologized at the funeral, saying he wished he could have saved him. Addressing his son’s small white coffin, he asked for forgiveness, saying, “I am sorry, as a father and as a man, that I could not be there to protect you.”