[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
The search for a missing 6-year-old boy in Houston, Texas, has ended in about the most horrifying way one could imagine.
Over a month after Samuel Olson was last seen, his father’s girlfriend was found in a motel room with a child’s corpse stuffed inside a tote bag.
According to reports, Theresa Balboa (pictured above) was arrested in Jasper County on Tuesday night after being found at the motel alongside the remains of a child who police believe to be the son of Theresa’s boyfriend, Dalton Olson. Authorities made the discovery thanks to an anonymous tip; officers reportedly made contact with Balboa when they arrived at the motel, before finding the corpse a short time after.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Houston Police Assistant Chief Heather Morris said officials believe the remains were those of Samuel, but are holding off on confirming this “until the medical examiner makes that determination.”
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Morris said Balboa currently faces only a charge of tampering with evidence but did not rule out additional counts. The Assistant Chief also noted the investigation is ongoing, as the suspect’s car and home are now being combed by forensic teams for potential evidence.
Police are working to try and confirm when Samuel was last seen alive, but as of now, the last confirmed sighting of the child was on April 30 at his school. His paternal grandmother, Tonya Olson, claimed Samuel was with her the following weekend, May 8 – 9, and that she heard his voice on the phone a little over a week ago. It was also reported that Samuel may have been seen at an apartment in southeast Houston where Balboa was said to have lived with a man.
Balboa reported Samuel missing on May 27 — a month after his last confirmed sighting — claiming the boy was taken by his biological mother, Sarah Olson, and a person dressed as a police officer. Balboa told ABC13 on Monday:
“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 because she does not have any legal rights to Samuel, she was forced to hand him over to his birth mother, who shares custody of the child with Dalton, and the person dressed in a full police uniform, complete with a gun, handcuffs, and a Harris County badge.
Sarah, however, said through her lawyer that Balboa’s story was a complete lie, and that she had not seen her son in a year. According to the mother’s attorney, despite having primary custody of her son, Sarah had been denied access to Samuel since the last time she saw him in January 2020.
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During the presser, Morris said Samuel’s father is not considered a person of interest in his death at this time, but investigators continue to speak with Dalton. On Tuesday, before the heartbreaking discovery was made, Dalton still expressed hope that his child would be found safe, telling press:
“’I’ve literally tried to do everything from the very beginning to do what’s best for my son. That is my whole world and I can’t imagine if anything happened to him and I believe he’s still out there.”
Per Jasper Police Chief Gerald Hall, the remains thought to be those of Samuel had been inside the motel room for some time.
Balboa — who was previously charged with assault of a family member in November 2020 — remains behind bars in Jasper County, but will be brought back to Houston, where she lives, to face charges. No motive has been revealed so far.
[Image via Houston Police Dept.]