Mass. Mom Pleads Guilty to Abusing 2 Other Kids Years After Missing Son Was Found Dead in Suitcase

The mother of a missing Massachusetts boy whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase on the side of the highway in 2014 pleaded guilty on Tuesday to abusing her other children but is no longer facing charges in connection with his disappearance and death, prosecutors said.

Such a move preserves the possibility the mother, Elsa Oliver, could face other charges as the homicide investigation continues in her son Jeremiah’s killing.

Oliver was sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison on two counts of reckless child endangerment and one count of assault and battery — two-and-a-half-years for each charge — prosecutors in Massachusetts’ Worcester County said in a news release.

Those charges are in connection with her two surviving children, the district attorney’s office said.

Last week, Oliver’s ex-boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, pleaded guilty to seven charges — including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and reckless endangerment of a child — for assaulting Oliver and Jeremiah’s two surviving siblings, according to the district attorney.

He was sentenced to six-to-seven years in prison.

As with Oliver, charges against Sierra in connection to Jeremiah’s case have been dropped to allow for possible future counts and to “eliminate any possible double jeopardy claim” as the homicide investigation continues, the district attorney’s office said.

“We need to investigate the death of Jeremiah Oliver to determine what happened and then file the appropriate charges,” a prosecutor’s spokesman tells PEOPLE, noting there was no comment on the boy’s cause of death.

Both Oliver and Sierra had faced charges of kidnapping of a child and reckless endangerment of a child, among other counts, in connection with Jeremiah’s case.

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Jeremiah was last seen alive in September 2013 but was not reported missing until December of that year, according to the Associated Press and CBS News.

His body was found the following April — seven months after he vanished — in a suitcase on the side of Interstate 190 in Sterling, Massachusetts, some 10 to 15 miles from his home.

His death was ruled a homicide and both state and local police continue to investigate.

According to MassLive.com, Jeremiah’s two other siblings were abused by both their mother and Sierra, her then-boyfriend, before being placed in state custody. In one instance, MassLive reports, the siblings were forced to kneel in a cold shower as a punishment.

Following the discovery of Jeremiah’s body, three employees with the state’s Department of Children and Families were fired for negligence and the department’s commissioner at the time resigned, the Boston Globe reports.

Oliver and Sierra’s attorneys could be reached for comment. Prosecutors have alleged Sierra was the “principal actor” in Jeremiah’s death, according to the Globe.

Oliver’s children reportedly remain in state custody.

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/massachusetts-mom-elsa-oliver-pleads-abuse-son-dead-suitcase/

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