As investigators searched for 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg, who disappeared in September and is now feared dead, his mother and her boyfriend met with three other people at a Cumberland Farms convenience store, a meeting that two of those people allegedly later lied to prosecutors about.
Those three people — Cailey Thibault, 23; Ashley M. Cormier, 24; and Christian Sierra, 21 — were charged under the witness intimidation statute Monday and pleaded not guilty in Fitchburg District Court.
Documents in the case reviewed Tuesday shed little light on the charges and how they might be related to the case against Jeremiah’s mother, Elsa Oliver, and her boyfriend, Alberto L. Sierra, who have been charged in Jeremiah’s disappearance.
Christian Sierra and Alberto L. Sierra are brothers; Thibault and Cormier are friends of Alberto Sierra and Elsa Oliver, according to court documents.
The documents do not disclose what the Dec. 13 meeting at the convenience store was about, but both Thibault and Christian Sierra, who are dating, allegedly lied to authorities about the meeting taking place, according to the documents, which say the meeting occurred after Oliver left a hearing at Fitchburg District Court.
Thibault is also accused of threatening Oliver in an effort to get Oliver to go to a court appearance, but documents did not say why Thibault allegedly made the threat.
Thibault also allegedly lied to investigators about having a cellphone she used that belonged to her deceased father, according to the documents.
But Thibault’s attorney, John Bosk, said that his client had nothing to do with Jeremiah Oliver’s disappearance and that she was bullied by police desperate to make headway in a case that has stalled.
Jeremiah Oliver was last seen by relatives on Sept. 14, but prosecutors did not learn that the little boy was missing until Dec. 2, when his 7-year-old sister told counselors at her Fitchburg school that she and her siblings were being abused by her mother’s boyfriend and that she had not seen Jeremiah for weeks.
The sister also said that when she last saw Jeremiah, his mother had been worried that he might die of a bleeding wound on his hand.
Oliver and Sierra were arrested in December and remain in custody, but no trace of Jeremiah Oliver has been found, and authorities fear he is dead. Neither Elsa Oliver nor Alberto Sierra are charged in Jeremiah’s death.
“They can’t solve a murder case, so they have to produce something, so this is what they’re producing,” Bosk said of the allegations against Thibault, which he said concern only allegations of lies told months after the little boy disappeared.
“They have nothing to do with the loss of a child or where the body is,” he said. Bosk added that he does not understand how threatening someone to get them to go to court could be construed as “intimidating a witness.”
Bosk described his client as a sweet woman who has had a tragic life, living in 12 different foster homes between the ages of 9 and 17. Both her parents are dead, he said, and she has emotional disabilities that prevent her from working. Bosk said that as far as he knows, Thibault never met Jeremiah.
All three charged Monday also allegedly lied to investigators about making and receiving phone calls, including calls to and from Alberto Sierra, in the days leading up to his arrest.
Cormier is also accused of becoming confrontational with Department of Children and Families workers who attempted to speak with Oliver on Dec. 13.
Attorneys for Sierra and Cormier did not respond to requests for comment.