Ben Rivera, 27, has been charged with tampering/fabricating evidence

By Steve Helling
June 23, 2021 03:30 PM
samuel olson
Samuel Olson
| Credit: Houston Police/Twitter

A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the case of Samuel Olson, the 5-year-old boy whose body was found in a Texas hotel room.

Samuel's body was found in Jasper, Tx., on June 1 after authorities received an anonymous tip from CrimeStoppers. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a plastic container containing Samuel's decomposed remains. He had been wrapped with black plastic bags and secured with duct tape.

PEOPLE confirms that Ben Rivera, 27, has been charged with tampering/fabricating evidence in connection with the case. Rivera's roommate, Theresa Balboa, was the girlfriend of Samuel's biological father. She has also been charged with tampering with evidence. At the time of her arrest, she was out of jail on bond over an unrelated assault charge.

According to an arrest report obtained by ABC-13, Rivera gave an interview to police investigators when he was arrested. According to the report, he alleged that he received a call from Balboa on May 10 during which she said Samuel was not breathing.

When Rivera came home, he allegedly said he saw the child bruised and unconscious. He allegedly said he and Balboa placed Samuel's body into a bathtub where he remained for two days. Rivera also allegedly told police that he bought a plastic tote bin and helped transfer the boy's body to a storage unit, according to the arrest report.

The boy's body was later taken to the motel where he was found.

Balboa, who previously claimed that Samuel had been taken from her Houston apartment, was arrested on a charge of tampering with evidence after she was also found at the motel, Houston's assistant police chief, Heather Morris, told reporters in a press conference earlier this month.

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Samuel Olson
Samuel Olson
| Credit: Courtesy Sarah Olson

Samuel's father, Dalton Olson, has not been charged, but is continuing to face questions from police, according to Morris. Police previously said that Samuel's biological parents have shared custody of the child.

Samuel's mother, Sarah Olson, told PEOPLE earlier this month that that she was "heartbroken" by the boy's death. "All I want is justice for Samuel, my baby," Sarah said, according to her attorney. "I do not want people to forget Samuel's name."

Theresa Balboa is being held on $600,000 bond. She has not yet entered a plea, and court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on her behalf. She will return to court in July.

Rivera has also not entered a plea, and bond has not yet been set. His attorney did not immediately return a call for comment, but told ABC News that "no one would be discussing the case with anyone."