Prayer service held for missing Fitchburg, Mass. boy

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December 26, 2013, 6:01 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Fitchburg, Mass.) - A city-wide call for prayer and reflection was answered throughout the city of Fitchburg, Mass.

One location was at the New Creation Community Church downtown.

But still, there is no sign of this little boy.
There were moving, rousing moments at a time of sadness as Pastor Thomas Hughes led worshipers in hoping and praying for little Jeremiah Oliver.

He shared a quiet moment with the five-year-old's family.

"I had my five-year-old grandson and granddaughter bouncing on my knee yesterday and I had a moment of reflection," he said. "So it kind of took me to a place where I can't even imagine what they must be as a family dealing with right now."

Jeremiah has not been seen since September, and is feared dead, though investigators were not aware he was gone until earlier this month.

"It's not like I walk outside in my backyard and I notice my child's not there. This is a totally different investigation," said Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura.

The boy's mother Elsa Oliver and her boyfriend Alberto Luis Sierra are being held on felony charges.

"We're just concerned that that may be the kind of case, that's why we need to talk to people," said DeMoura when asked if someone had been keeping information from them.

According to DeMoura, investigators are not looking for additional suspects beyond Elsa Oliver and Sierra.

Authorities have said they refuse to cooperate and will not say where Jeremiah is.

It was revealed in court earlier in the week that Oliver had a long-standing pattern of neglect and abuse documented by the Department of Children and Families.

It was also revealed that that Sierra is a member of the Latin Kings gang.

There is also fallout at DCF, where a supervisor and case worker have been fired, a manager reassigned after a six-month lapse in required check-ins on the Oliver family, including Elsa, Jeremiah, and his brother and sister.

On the day after Christmas, time was set aside for creating paper Angels for Jeremiah.

And Mayor Lisa Wong asked her city not to give up hope.

"What happens the day after Christmas? Have we focused on the gifts that we've given our children? Or have we focused on looking at our children as our greatest gifts?" Mayor Wong asked.

Chief DeMoura said police have followed tips in Florida and two locations just today in Fitchburg.

Both Sierra and Oliver remain in custody and will be back in court next month.

Tags: massachusetts, Fitchburg, Josh Brogadir, Lisa Wong, Elsa Oliver, Alberto Sierra, Jeremiah Oliver, Alberto Luis Sierra
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