BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The body of a small child was found Friday morning off Interstate 190 in Sterling and investigators believe it may be missing Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver.
Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early told reporters at an afternoon news conference the body was discovered “wrapped in a blanket-type object” in a “suitcase, duffle bag-type material” about 40 feet off the road around 9 a.m.
Related: Memorial Outside Fitchburg Home
He would not say who found the body or what led investigators to it, but the district attorney noted that someone would have to pull over to the side of the highway to see it.
Early said an autopsy will be performed on the deceased child, but the body is “consistent in height and weight with Jeremiah Oliver.”
“It appears to be a homicide,” the district attorney said, noting that the body was “somewhat concealed from the elements.”
Early would not speculate on how long the body was in the area off the southbound lanes near Exit 6, but he did say it was clothed and in a spot near “where grass cutting is conducted.”
Watch: DA Early News Conference
The 5-year-old hasn’t been seen since September 2013 and is feared dead, according to investigators.
A Worcester County grand jury indicted Oliver’s mother Elsa, 28, and her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, 23, last month on several charges in his disappearance, including kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and reckless endangerment.
Both are being held on high bail. Three other people are charged with interfering with a criminal investigation and misleading police.
The case led to scrutiny of the state Department of Children and families, which was handling the family’s case.
Three DCF workers were fired and a fourth was disciplined in connection with the boy’s disappearance.
An internal investigation found that staff missed multiple opportunities to engage with the family through home visits and sometimes went months between visits to the home.
Several outside reviews of the agency have found deep problems, which have led to reforms.
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