WORCESTER — Elsa M. Oliver, the mother of a 5-year-old boy whose remains were found last year in Sterling, has been deemed competent to stand trial on assault, kidnapping, and child endangerment charges.
Judge Janet Kenton-Walker made the finding after a hearing Wednesday in Worcester Superior Court. The competency ruling was based on a report by Hanya H. Bluestone, a court-designated psychologist who interviewed Oliver in the courthouse with the assistance of an American Sign Language interpreter.
The interpreter was used because Oliver’s mother is deaf and she grew up communicating with her mother through sign language, according to Bluestone. The psychologist said Oliver also speaks fluent English, but is more comfortable communicating in sign.
Bluestone, who twice interviewed Oliver in the past, testified that she was “acutely ill with psychotic symptoms” at the time of the first interview, but has since responded well to psychiatric treatment she has received both at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital and the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee, where she is now being held in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.
Bluestone told the judge that Oliver said she was no longer hearing voices or experiencing other psychotic symptoms. The psychologist said it was her opinion that Oliver is now competent to stand trial.
She said that Oliver understands the charges against her, the court process and the roles of the various players, and is able to assist her lawyer, James G. Reardon Jr., in her defense.
Any “gaps” in Oliver’s understanding of the court process could be explained to her by her lawyer using an American Sign Language interpreter, according to Bluestone.
The remains of Oliver’s son, Jeremiah Oliver, were discovered in April 2014 in a suitcase off Interstate 190 in Sterling. The boy had been missing for months. While investigators are treating the death as a homicide, no one has been charged.
Oliver is charged with abusing or neglecting Jeremiah and his two siblings. Her boyfriend, Alberto L. Sierra, is facing similar charges.
Judge Kenton-Walker continued Oliver’s case to Sept. 2, when a trial date is expected to be set.