1:10 PM PDT, July 9, 2021
Some of the most conflicting information supplied to investigators searching for missing 5-year-old Samuel Olson came from his father’s girlfriend, authorities said.
On June 8, an autopsy report confirmed Samuel Olson was a homicide victim. His death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, the report said.
Who Is Theresa Balboa?
Theresa Balboa, 29, was arrested June 1 in connection with the death of little Samuel, police said. She was taken into custody after Jasper County Sheriff’s deputies in Texas found the boy’s remains stuffed inside a plastic container at a Best Western motel room, authorities said.
She was being held at the Houston County Jail. On July 8, prosecutors charged her with capital murder in Samuel’s death, and recommended she be held without bail. According to the criminal complaint, Balboa hit the child with a blunt object, which was not identified. He died on or around May 12, the complaint said.
Her initial arrest — and the discovery of his remains in that motel room — came days after an investigation was launched into Samuel’s disappearance from southwest Houston.
Balboa was at the scene, according to Heather Morris, assistant chief of the Houston Police Department, which had been looking for the child since his father, Dalton Olson, and Balboa told officers on May 27 that Samuel’s mother had picked up the young boy that morning, at around 7:30, accompanied by a uniformed officer.
“I was going to take Sam to school when his mother showed up with a police officer, or what I was under the impression to be a police officer, and they demanded me to release Sam,” Balboa told reporters on Monday at a site where searchers were looking for Sam.
“They had a full police uniform. They had a gun, handcuffs, everything. I thought it was a Harris County police officer because on the badge it said Harris County,” she said. “I had no choice but to hand him over,” she said.
Standing with her was Dalton Olson. “I just want to bring my son home safely. I can’t even think. I can’t sleep. I can’t hold down any food. I’m just concerned, because it’s the most important thing in my whole life,” the father said.
By the next night, Balboa had been arrested at the Texas motel. Morris said at a news conference that Balboa’s “inconsistencies” resulted in homicide detectives joining the investigation.
Court documents obtained by KTRK-TV say Balboa left the search site on May 31 and met a friend, who accompanied her to a storage unit. The pair picked up a black-and-yellow plastic container that had a foul odor, the court records said. The friend then drove Balboa to the Best Western motel in Jasper and left her there, the documents said.
He called police the next day, which led police to room 106, where Balboa and the remains were found, according to authorities.
Detectives found no evidence to support Balboa’s comments to reporters, Morris said. There is no evidence that Samuel’s mother left her home on the morning of May 27, or that she spoke to Balboa, authorities said.
Investigators also determined that Samuel had not attended school since April 30, the last time he was seen by anyone not related to him, authorities said.
Theresa Balboa and Dalton Olson’s Relationship
Balboa was charged with assault in November 2020 for allegedly choking Dalton Olson, who reported the incident to police and obtained a restraining order against her, court records show.
She was released in lieu of $15,000 bail, according to the records. Under the terms of the court’s protective order, she was to have no contact with Olson and was to stay away from his residence.
In 2019, Balboa lost custody of her two daughters, now aged 8 and 6, during a legal battle with the children’s father, KPRC-TV reported. The girls now live with another family member, the station said.
The couple told reporters on Monday they had since reconciled and the pending case had nothing to do with Samuel.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” the father told the station. Asked what he would say to Balboa, the dad replied, “Why? He loved you so much. I do not understand what happened. Why did you, why did you do this?”
What Happened to Samuel Olson?
Autopsy results released June 8 positively identified the decomposed remains as belong to Samuel. His death was ruled a violent homicide, caused by blunt force trauma to his skull.
Few details of the case have been released because the investigation is ongoing and several people, including Dalton Olson, are still being questioned, officials said.
Samuel’s mother, Sarah Olson, was in a custody battle with the boy’s father, authorities said.
Texas attorney Marco González, said Sarah Olson hasn’t seen her son in months, and that Balboa’s story was not true.
González said Samuel’s father took him and didn’t bring him back to his mother. He did not return her calls, the lawyer said. When Sarah and Dalton divorced, the 2019 custody agreement established joint custody, with Samuel living at his mother’s home, he said.