Dad of dead boy, 5, apologizes for not saving him - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Dad of dead boy, 5, apologizes for not saving him

Posted: Updated:
FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) - The father of a 5-year-old boy who was missing for months before his body was found by the side of a highway apologized at his funeral Saturday, saying he wished he could have saved his son.

Jose Oliver, of New Britain, Connecticut, gave a tearful eulogy in front of hundreds of mourners at the funeral for Jeremiah Oliver at the Rollstone Congregational Church in Fitchburg.

Addressing his son's small white coffin, Jose Oliver asked the boy for forgiveness, saying "I am sorry, as a father and as a man, that I could not be there to protect you."

Jeremiah was last seen in September but wasn't reported missing until December. His remains were found wrapped in a blanket and packed in a suitcase by the side of Interstate 190 in Sterling last month. His mother, Elsa Oliver, 28, and her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, 23, are being held on charges including kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment. They have pleaded not guilty.

The family had been monitored by the Department of Children and Families since 2011. Three DCF employees were fired and a fourth disciplined after an investigation revealed missed social worker visits and other failed opportunities to engage with the family. DCF Commissioner Olga Roche resigned Tuesday under mounting pressure following the deaths of Jeremiah and two other children who were being monitored by state child welfare officials

Jeremiah's case rocked the working-class city of Fitchburg, and many who attended the funeral said they hadn't known the boy but were touched by his plight. Among them were volunteers who helped search for Jeremiah through the winter, including Cyleste Johnson, who told the congregation, "As a community, we all felt the loss of this little boy."

Mariah O'Neill, a fourth-grader at the city's Crocker Elementary School, recited lyrics from a song she had written and recorded to raise money - more than $1,000 at last count - for Jeremiah's funeral.

Pastor Thomas Hughes, who officiated at the funeral, praised the city for coming together for "a beautiful little boy, born into an imperfect world." But he urged mourners to channel their energy to ensure that other children are safe from abuse.

"Let's be more diligent in making sure those that have no voice... have a voice," he said.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Fremont community mourns loss of missing man

    Fremont community mourns loss of missing man

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:00:01 GMT
    Those who knew Cory Barron in Fremont called him sweet, kind and a good man from a good family. Most in the tight-knit community were stunned to hear about his death."Deep down you pray that good will come out of it," says Timberly Kidwell, who coached Cory's sister. "You hate to hear that something like this is the outcome. I can't reiterate how great of a family this is, my heart is broken for them."Friends and family first reported the 22-year-old missing after they couldn't find him follo...
    Those who knew Cory Barron in Fremont called him sweet, kind and a good man from a good family. Most in the tight-knit community were stunned to hear about his death."Deep down you pray that good will come out of it," says Timberly Kidwell, who coached Cory's sister. "You hate to hear that something like this is the outcome. I can't reiterate how great of a family this is, my heart is broken for them."Friends and family first reported the 22-year-old missing after they couldn't find him follo...
  • Company issues nationwide fruit recall

    Company issues nationwide fruit recall

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:07 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:07:17 GMT
    A national recall is affecting customers who picked up fruit at Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger or Walmart. Central California company Wawona Packing is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines and plums because of a possible listeria contamination. The affected fruit was packaged and shipped to retailers between June 1 and July 12. The company has since shut down its packing lines and sanitized the facility. They are urging anyone who has the fruit to throw it away. More information, i...
    A national recall is affecting customers who picked up fruit at Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger or Walmart. Central California company Wawona Packing is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines and plums because of a possible listeria contamination. The affected fruit was packaged and shipped to retailers between June 1 and July 12. The company has since shut down its packing lines and sanitized the facility. They are urging anyone who has the fruit to throw it away. More information, i...
  • TPD looking for suspects who robbed 2 teenage boys

    TPD looking for suspects who robbed 2 teenage boys

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:13:17 GMT
    Toledo police are looking for the suspects who robbed two teens."As soon as we can get those pictures out for the public to view. We'll have those out. I'm confident we'll be able to catch and i-I the suspects after that's released," said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan. Toledo police say they were able to pull photo's of several suspects who followed two teenage boys on the University of Toledo trail and robbed them. "They felt that they were being followed by a group of other juveniles so ...
    Toledo police are looking for the suspects who robbed two teens."As soon as we can get those pictures out for the public to view. We'll have those out. I'm confident we'll be able to catch and i-I the suspects after that's released," said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan. Toledo police say they were able to pull photo's of several suspects who followed two teenage boys on the University of Toledo trail and robbed them. "They felt that they were being followed by a group of other juveniles so ...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!