MARLBOROUGH - Marilyn Olivera doesn't believe her sister was murdered by the serial killer authorities say may be responsible for three unsolved murders in central Massachusetts.
Marilyn Olivera doesn't believe her sister was murdered by the serial killer authorities say may be responsible for three unsolved murders in the Marlborough-Hudson area.
At her Marlborough home, Marilyn spoke of her formerly older sister Lineida Olivera, who died at age 35 leaving 11 children behind, and whose remains were found early this month in Rutland.
``Whoever did it, it was someone she knew,'' said Marilyn, 34.
Lineida's death is being investigated by the Worcester District Attorney's Office, which is treating it as a separate case despite the similarities between the four cases, three of which have been linked to a serial murderer.
The other three victims were Dinelia Torres, 33, whose remains were found in 2004 in Hudson; Carmen Rudy, 28, and Betzaida Montalvo, 29, whose remains were found in 2003 in Marlborough. Former Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, now the state's attorney general, believed Torres, Rudy and Montalvo's deaths were the work of a serial killer.
According to authorities, all four victims were Hispanic and petite and shared a past of prostitution and drug addiction. All lived in Worcester and all had children.
Lineida was reported missing in May. She disappeared in late January, a couple of weeks after she gave birth to twin girls, and the family thought she was at a detox center where she was not allowed to call them.
Lineida, said Marilyn, was cautious in her dealings with people. If she was going out with someone she didn't know, she'd call Marilyn and leave the license plate of the person she was going to see, just in case.
``She'd give me a clue,'' said Marilyn. ``But before she disappeared, she didn't call me. That's why I think she went out with someone she knew.''
Despite the similarities with the other victims, Lineida's death is being investigated as a single murder, said Tim Connolly, spokesman for the Worcester County District Attorney's Office.
``We don't think the evidence we found in this particular case is the work of a serial killer,'' he said.
Lineida's family held a funeral service in her memory 10 days ago and they're trying to make sense of her death. Until the last day, Marilyn never lost hope her sister would change her lifestyle. The oldest of four siblings, Lineida, who came here from Puerto Rico at age 16, struggled during the past 10 years to overcome drug addiction.
``She tried to quit so many times,'' Marilyn said while a television showed a video with pictures of a happy Lineida surrounded by her children and relatives. ``She said she wanted to be somebody, recover her kids and see her grandchildren grow up. But she would be clean for some time and relapse. She was a victim of society.''
Despite her troubled life, Lineida had a kind heart, said Marilyn. Lineida would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it and she was always smiling and feeling optimistic about the future, Marilyn said.
The last time she saw Lineida was in January, at her apartment in Worcester, where she went to visit her and the twin girls. ``She was happy,'' said Marilyn. ``She was going to start rehabilitation. She has promised to do that after the twins' birth.''
Lineida dreamed of recovering her children, said Marilyn, who has custody of two of Lineida's children. Since the state took away six of her children in 1999, life was very hard for Lineida, she said.
Five years ago, Marilyn, who keeps in touch with all of Lineida's children, invited all of them and Lineida to her Marlborough home for a family reunion. All of Lineida's children but the twins were there and they celebrated with music, jokes, and pernil (roast pork shoulder) and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) - Lineida's favorite dishes - their being together.
Said Marilyn, ``It was the best day of her life.''