3 arraigned in disappearance of Mass. boy

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Three Massachusetts residents charged with hindering the investigation into the disappearance and death of a 5-year-old boy have been arraigned in Superior Court.

Christian Sierra, Ashley Cormier and Caily Thibault pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of perjury and intimidating a witness.

Prosecutors sought $25,000 bail for each suspect, but the judge released them on the same conditions previously set in District Court — $2,500 cash each for Cormier and Thibault, and $2,000 cash for Sierra.

The three are charged with misleading police searching for Jeremiah Oliver.

The boy was last seen alive in September 2013, 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 in April.

The boy's mother, Elsa Oliver, and her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, were indicted on child abuse charges related to the case, but no one has been charged with the boy's death. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Christian Sierra and Alberto Sierra are brothers.

Thibault's attorney, Patrick Burke, said his client has insisted that she never knew where Jeremiah was before his body was found.

"This woman has told me repeatedly she had no knowledge of the whereabouts of that little boy, and if she did, she would have told police and prosecutors when asked about it, given the nature of what was alleged on a child," Burke said.

Cormier's attorney, Sean Gallagher, also said the case against his client is without merit.

"I think at the end of the day, she will be exonerated," he said.

Sierra's lawyer said he had no comment.

Jeremiah's case led to an overhaul of the state child welfare agency, the resignation of its commissioner, and the firing of three agency employees.

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