Warning: Article contains mentions of harm to a child. reader discretion is advised.
Five-year-old Samuel Olson had been staying with his father’s girlfriend, 29-year-old Teresa Balboa, at her apartment in Webster, Houston since April 30, 2021.
Balboa lived at the apartment with a roommate, Benjamin Rivera. She called him on May 10, telling him that Samuel was dead. Rivera made an excuse to leave work and returned to the apartment to find Samuel’s body in Teresa’s bed. He noted that the child’s skin was covered with bruises and abrasions.
A new neighbor who moved into the apartment next door to Balboa and Rivera would later say in an interview: “The second day we were here, it was probably about 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, we heard loud scratching noises, really, really loud, it lasted for a good ten or fifteen minutes.”
Balboa and Rivera moved the child’s body to the bathtub where he lay for two days. Three days after Samuel’s death, Benjamin Rivera went out to Walmart to buy a bag, a large plastic container and a roll of duct tape from a nearby store so they could tape up the child’s body and move it to a local storage unit.
Samuel Olson was officially reported missing May 27. Balboa concocted a story to cover up the child’s death and told the victim’s father, Dalton Olson, as well as local news stations, that Samuel had been taken from her against her will while she was at her mother’s home in South West Houston. Police officers and local volunteers began to search for the child, Teresa Balboa joined the search party and provided quotes to local TV stations.
“I can’t say where he could be, where he might be” she said in an interview, shaking her head and furrowing her brow as Samuel’s father stood alongside her, holding back tears.
Teresa Balboa claimed that early morning on May 27, Sarah Olson, along with a man she could not identify, came to Teresa's mother's home in Southwest Houston and took Samuel away. Sarah and Dalton Olson had filed for divorce at the start of 2020 and were in an ongoing custody battle for their son. Although Sarah Olson had primary custody of Samuel, she said she had not seen her son since the summer of 2020 and accused Dalton of withholding the child from her. Dalton and Balboa lived in separate homes. Footage from outside Balboa’s mother’s home to corroborate Balboa’s story, there was no sign of Sarah Olsen on the tape.
Worried that the net was closing in, Balboa made a phone call to a male friend on May 31, asking for help in transporting something from her storage unit in Webster to Jasper, Texas. The friend obliged and Balboa drove to a Walmart parking lot in Cleveland, TX where he picked her up. They then drove around 70miles back to Jasper, to the storage unit, where they retrieved Samuel’s body. Despite her best efforts to wrap the evidence in plastic and shut it in an air-tight container, the scent of decay was an assault on the senses and Balboa’s friend became suspicious. The pair drove around 160 miles from Houston to Jasper that night and Teresa checked into a Best Western Hotel. Once checked in, Balboa’s friend stepped out of the hotel, got back in his truck and drove back to Cleveland. Some hours later he made a call to Jasper police, tipping them off to the suspects whereabouts and the location of the victim’s body.
Jasper Police showed up to the hotel room at approximately 5:34pm. Balboa had checked in under an assumed name. When they entered the room, officers found the suspect hiding in the bathroom along with the box containing Samuel Olson's decomposing body in a black plastic container with a yellow lid. According to reports Balboa was out on bond from an assault case in late 2020. Dalton Olson was the complainant and the charges against Teresa Balboa were assault with intent impeding breath.
Balboa was arrested and taken to a Jasper jail where she was told she would remain, awaiting transportation back to Harris County. She was later transported to Harris County where she was held on a bond of $600,000.
On June 3, The Harris County medical examiner’s office officially ruled Samuel Olson's death as a homicide. The cause of death was determined to be homicidal violence with blunt force trauma to the head. Teresa Balboa was charged with one count of tampering with evidence of a human corpse.
Samuel Olsen’s grandparents last saw him alive on May 1 when they went out to eat dinner.
Teresa Balboa is a mother to two of her own children. The children's grandmother on their father’s side gained custody of the children in 2019. Balboa reportedly did not show up to court that day. Articles pertaining to the case indicate that she lost custody of her own children and was dubbed a “bad mother”.
Samuel Olsen’s parents and grandparents have said very little since the discovery of Samuel’s body. His mother put out a simple statement through her attorney asking that people keep her son in their prayers and to remember his name.
Dalton Olson said he was not yet ready to comment and was in the process of making funeral arrangements for his son. Dalton Olson's attorney, Samuel Veenstra, said in a statement:” He had nothing to do with the death of his son. The family is in mourning, shocked and in disbelief.”