WORCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Candles were lit and balloons were released, all in honor of 5-year-old Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver.
The vigil was held in Worcester Friday night, where community members say they were moved to remember the little boy one week after his body was found.
Event organizer Monica Korzep said, “I don't know him, but you don't do that to a child."
Korzep said thousands responded to her Facebook invite a week after Jeremiah's body was found wrapped in a cloth and stuffed in a duffel bag. Friends, family and complete strangers gathered to release the balloons, which were blue for child abuse prevention and white for hope.
“It felt great. Great joy," Sandrino Oliver, Jeremiah's uncle said.
Jeremiah's half-brother Sexto Oliver was overcome with grief, but he was supported by Jeremiah's other half-brother and extended family.
“We can finally put him at peace and hopefully he's smiling down on us," Jeremiah’s half-brother Sexto Oliver said.
He went on to say, “For me, I thought he was still alive and when I heard it, I was in denial."
Sexto Oliver’s mother Michelle Silva said, “It's been the hardest thing. We're all taking it day by day. My boys are strong, strong boys so, I’m just speechless."
The funeral for the 5-year-old was delayed Wednesday after a judge gave defense attorneys until Monday to examine his body. Jeremiah's mother, Elsa Oliver, and her boyfriend Alberto Sierra are scheduled to appear in Superior Court next week on charges connected to Jeremiah's disappearance.
Jeremiah's father, Jose Oliver, said that there is no closure for him.
"How do you throw a little boy in a blanket, inside a suitcase and throw him on the side of a highway? How is that closure? How is that peace for me? It only brings me anger. Do you think there's any justice for you in the end of this? Can there be any justice? No. No, because it doesn't bring my son back,” he said.
Jeremiah's family is working to raise funds for the boy's funeral set for May 1. If you would like to contribute, checks with "Jeremiah Oliver" in the memo section can be made out to Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli Funeral Home, 243 Water St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.
Any money raised in excess of funeral costs will be donated to Jeremiah's siblings. Donations for his siblings can also be made directly to the Oliver Childrens' Trust Fund, IC Federal Credit Union, 300 Bemis Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420. For more information, call (978) 514-5828.