Valdosta Daily Times

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December 19, 2013

Mass. gov keeps rage in check on missing-boy case

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he’s trying to “keep my own rage in check” as he presses the commissioner of his child protection agency about the case of a 5-year-old boy who has been missing for months and is feared dead.

Patrick said he met with Department of Children & Families Commissioner Olga Roche and asked her “some very specific questions” following the disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver and expects to hear back from her within 10 days. He said he supports Roche’s decision to fire a caseworker and a supervisor assigned to Jeremiah and his family in Fitchburg, 45 miles northwest of Boston.

“I’m confident that we know enough to have taken that action, but the question is are there other similar cases and is there someone else further up the chain who should have caught this and didn’t,” Patrick said.

The governor, who just returned from a trade mission to Asia, called the case “devastating” and said the first order of business is to find Jeremiah.

Investigators say the boy was last seen by relatives in September but police learned only recently that he was missing and are treating the case as a possible homicide.

Patrick, a Democrat, said he doesn’t believe the case represents a “system-wide breakdown.”

“There are hundreds of triumphs every day in the lives of children thanks to the people who work at DCF,” he said.

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