Samuel Olsen, 6, was reported missing on Thursday, but police say the boy's last independent sighting by others was at his Houston school on April 30

By Vanessa Etienne and Jeff Truesdell
Updated June 02, 2021 03:41 PM
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samuel olson
Samuel Olson
| Credit: Houston Police/Twitter

A body believed to be that of 6-year-old Samuel Olson, who allegedly went missing from an apartment in southwest Houston, was found on Tuesday night in a motel room in Jasper, Tx., police say.

On Wednesday, authorities announced they'd arrested and filed a charge of tampering with evidence against the girlfriend of the boy's biological father, after finding her in the motel room with the body.

The boy's father is not a person of interest at this time, but is continuing to face questions from police, Houston's Assistant Police Chief Heather Morris said at a news conference.

Samuel, who turned 6 on Saturday, was reported missing Thursday night, prompting a search that led investigators to the motel more than 100 miles away. Authorities previously acknowledged that the child may have gone missing as far back as April 30, when he was last seen at his school.

Police said that both the father and his girlfriend, Theresa Balboa, were at their Houston apartment when an officer showed up Thursday in response to a report of a missing child. Balboa said she'd seen the boy's biological mother with an unknown officer at 7 a.m. that morning outside of the apartment. She allegedly claimed the officer told Balboa she would go to jail if she did not return the boy to his mother, according to Morris.

Police previously said that Samuel's biological parents have shared custody of the child.

According to police, Balboa said the officer and the boy's mother left in separate vehicles. After the boy's father heard this story from Balboa, he contacted the boy's mother, who said she did not have the missing child, said Morris.

Investigators later determined that Samuel's mother was at her own residence that entire morning, and discovered other "inconsistencies" in Balboa's statements, said Morris.

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After carrying out search warrants and then towing a vehicle from the apartment complex where Balboa was living, Houston police learned of an anonymous tip to CrimeStoppers that led officers to the Jasper motel.

"At this time we believe the child to be Samuel, but we cannot confirm that it is him until the medical examiner makes that determination" Morris said.

No motive or manner of death was released, and additional charges are under review, she said.

"This is an absolute tragic event, and our prayers go out to the family," Morris said.

In a tweet Tuesday night, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner first confirmed the discovery of the body, writing: "It is with great sadness that I share with you that a body —  of who we believe to be 6-year-old Samuel Olson — was recovered in a motel room in Jasper, Texas, earlier this evening."

During a press conference on Tuesday, Larry Satterwhite, executive assistant chief of the Houston police, said Samuel was reported missing around 6 p.m. Thursday after a caller claimed he had been "taken by another individual" from the apartment of a female caretaker.

However, Satterwhite said police had not found anyone outside of the boy's immediate inner circle who claimed to have seen him since his last independent sighting by others on April 30 at Samuel's school in Houston.

Balboa was being held in the Jasper jail. No information on an attorney or a plea was immediately available.