Samuel Olson Case: Theresa Balboa Mugshot Released
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Police Believe Body of Child Found in Texas Motel Is 6-Year-Old Samuel Olson. His Father’s Girlfriend Now Faces Evidence Tampering Charge.

Samuel Olson, Theresa Balboa

Samuel Olson, Theresa Balboa

Police in Houston believe that the body of a child discovered stuffed inside a tote bag in a Texas motel room is likely that of 6-year-old boy Samuel Olson, who was reported missing last week. The girlfriend of the boy’s father was arrested and charged with evidence tampering, Houston Police Assistant Chief Heather Morris said during a Wednesday press conference.

According to Morris, 29-year-old Theresa Balboa filed the initial missing persons report for Olson on Thursday evening, but the story she told officers began to unravel as the investigation progressed. Balboa told officers that at approximately 7 a.m. on Thursday morning she saw the boy’s mother speaking to a police officer at the front of the residence. Balboa said the officer told her that she would “go to jail for kidnapping if she did not return Samuel to the mother.”

“I was going to take Sam to school when his mother showed up with the police officer, or who I was under the impression to be a police officer, and they demanded me to release Sam,” Balboa said just two days ago.

Watch what Balboa said around the 6:20-mark in the video below:

Morris further stated that Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson, then contacted Samuel’s mother, who told him that Samuel was not with her. Investigators later confirmed that Samuel’s mother was at her residence throughout the entirety of Thursday morning.

theresa balboa mugshot

Theresa Balboa, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office

“Missing persons investigators discovered inconsistencies in Ms. Balboa’s statements and consulted the homicide division,” Morris said. “From that point a collaborative effort was conducted by both the missing persons unit and homicide investigators.”

Marco Gonzalez, an attorney representing Samuel’s mother Sarah Olson, told KTRK that Balboa’s version of events was “completely untrue,” saying his client hadn’t seen her son in nearly a year.

“Our client has primary custody, but our client has been denied access for the child for many months,” Gonzalez told the local ABC affiliate. “Our client has not had any access to young Samuel in many, many months.”

Assistant Chief Morris said that the last time anyone other than a member of Samuel’s family confirmed seeing the child was on April 30 outside of his elementary school.

Police on Monday executed a search warrant on Balboa’s residence and towed her car, a Dodge Avenger, to be searched for forensic evidence.

The Jasper Police Department on Tuesday contacted investigators to inform them of an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip that led them to a motel hours away from Houston, reportedly a Best Western.

“Jasper Police Department officers initiated contact at the motel with Ms. Balboa and eventually discovered the body of a young child and Ms. Balboa was taken into custody,” Morris said. “At this time, we believe the child to be Samuel, but we cannot confirm it is him until the medical examiner makes that determination.”

Jasper Chief of Police Gerald Hall told local news outlet FOX4 that investigators believe the child’s body had been in the motel “for some time.”

While the Harris County District Attorney’s Office has only filed evidence tampering charges in the case at this time, Morris said that once the investigation is complete “investigators will be presenting the case to the DA’s office for additional charges, if appropriate.”

Morris additionally revealed that Balboa has a history of violent behavior, saying that she was arrested in November on the charge of assaulting a family member—impeding breathing. Court documents obtained by The Houston Chronicle show that she was released from jail on Nov. 30 on $5,000 bail.

Samuel Olson’s 6th birthday was Saturday.

“Just bring Sam home. Just bring Sam home,” the boy’s grandmother Tonya Olson recently said. “This can’t go on anymore. We need to know where he is. Where he is and that he’s safe and that he’s good. And that way he can have a birthday party.”

[Images via Houston Police Department, KTRK screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.