The five-year-old boy whose decomposing body was found in a plastic bin in an East Texas motel room died of blunt force trauma to the head, the autopsy revealed, and his death has been officially classified as murder.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Science in Houston, which performed the autopsy, confirmed the boy’s identity to be Samuel Olson, who would have been on May 6.
Theresa Raye Balboa, 29, who was the girlfriend of Samuel’s father Dalton, is the prime suspect in Olson’s death and has already been charged with tampering with evidence, a human corpse.
Balboa was arrested on June 1 when police found her at a Best Western motel in Jasper, Texas, with Olson’s body packed into a plastic carrier bag. Police believe the boy has been dead since May 10.
Balboa had reported Olson missing from her home in suburban Houston on May 27, and officials said they believed she was on her way to Louisiana when she was found at the motel 235 miles away.
The death of Samuel Olson has been decided with a blunt trauma to the head, according to an autopsy
Balboa pictured with Samuel’s father Dalton Olson before the boy’s body was found and she was arrested in connection with his death
Samuel Olson was last seen by a relative on May 8, when his grandmother was out for the weekend
Theresa Balboa (in mug) will be charged again for the death of her boyfriend’s five-year-old son
During Monday’s court hearing in Balboa, prosecutors said more charges will be added, but not which charges, when and how many more.
Balboa’s bail was also increased to a total of $600,000 due to Samuel’s death and a separate alleged assault six months prior to the child’s disappearance.
Andrea Beall, a district attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said a murder or capital murder investigation is ongoing in the case.
TIMELINE OF SAMUEL OLSON CASE:
30th of April: Samuel Olson, 5, last seen by anyone outside his family
May 8-9: Samuel’s paternal grandmother, Tonya Olson, says she spent the weekend with her grandson
May 10th: Theresa Balboa, girlfriend of Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson, is reportedly calling a roommate to tell him that Samuel had died. The two would have placed the body in their bathtub
13 May: The roommate and Balboa reportedly wrap the body in duct tape and place it in a plastic container before taking it to a storage facility in Webster.
27th of May: Balboa reports that Samuel is missing in Houston
1 June: Police in Jasper, Texas, receive anonymous tip that leads them to Best Western motel, where they find Balboa and later the body of a child in a plastic bin
June 2nd: Houston police announce discovery of body, arrest of Balboa and tampering with evidence, identity of remains pending.
June 3: Details of Balboa’s meeting with a man at Walmart are emerging, as he is alleged to have helped transport a child’s body. Balboa also appears to have lost custody of her own young daughters in 2019.
June 4: Balboa is transferred from Jasper County to Harris County Jail and must be held on $500,000 bail
Balboa did not speak during Monday’s brief court hearing.
The last time Olson was seen alive by his paternal grandmother, Tonya Olson, was May 8, when she said she was spending the weekend with him.
His last verified sighting by anyone outside his family was at his school on April 30.
Balboa would not report the boy missing until May 27.
After her arrest, Balboa’s roommate told investigators she called him on May 10 and said the boy was dead, according to court documents.
Roommate Benjamin Rivera reportedly rushed home from work to find the boy, bruised and unresponsive in bed, and the two allegedly moved the body to their bathtub where it remained for two days.
The next day, May 13, Rivera told police he had bought duct tape and a plastic bin from Walmart, and he and Balboa allegedly wrapped the boy’s body and put it in the bin before taking it to a nearby filing cabinet.
The net fell on Balboa after a tip from a friend.
The 29-year-old reportedly called a friend on May 31 and asked him to pick her up at a Walmart parking lot in Cleveland.
Then they drove nearly 70 miles south to the storage facility in Webster where she picked up the trash.
Then they reportedly drove another 160 miles northeast to the Best Western motel.
Once there, they carried the trash can to room 106, with the man so shocked by the smell coming out that he anonymously called CrimeStoppers’ tipline to report it.
Officers who arrived at the scene found her with the plastic carrier bag containing the boy’s body.
Balboa’s neighbor Tiffany Schultz, 25, told police she heard loud scratches coming from the apartment a day after the boy was said to have died.
Schultz, 25, had moved into their new apartment in Webster along with her fiancé and newborn son on May 11 — the day after neighbor Balboa reportedly told her roommate that Samuel Olson, 5, had died, according to court documents.
“The second day we were here, it was probably about 3 or 4 in the morning. We heard loud scratching noises, really, really loud,” she said. The sun. “It took a good ten or fifteen minutes.”
Her fiancé, she said, started banging against the wall to stop the noises.
“I’ve heard loud scratching from animals before and it wasn’t. I don’t believe they had animals,” Schultz recalls. “We didn’t hear any other noises, it was strange.”
The map above shows the four locations linked to the search for the missing Samuel Olson
Olson’s body was found in a tote bag at a Texas motel on June 1, but police believe he died on May 10
Samuel’s parents were engaged in a bitter custody battle over the boy after they filed for divorce in January 2020.
His mother, Sarah Olson, had primary custody, but she hadn’t seen Samuel since the summer of 2020, her attorney, Marco Gonzalez, told reporters this week.
Gonzalez accused Dalton Olson of keeping Samuel away from his mother and avoiding getting court paperwork that would have ordered him to return the boy to her.
After reporting Samuel missing, Balboa initially accused Gonzalez and a man posing as a police officer of taking the boy.
Police had been unable to verify Balboa’s claim.
Samuel had lived with Balboa since April 30, the last day he was seen at school.
Authorities have not said why Samuel stayed with Balboa. Dalton lived at a different address.
On Wednesday night, it emerged that Balboa previously lost custody of her two young daughters in 2019 because she claimed she was a bad mother.
Court records obtained by: Click2Houston revealed that the girls – now aged six and eight – were removed from their mother’s care after she failed to appear in court for a custody hearing.
Sarah Olson Samuel’s birth mother is pictured with him on the left and Samuel on the right. Balboa allegedly hid his body for two weeks, including in a bathtub in her apartment
Balboa previously lost custody of her two young daughters in 2019 over claims she was a bad mother