A Houston boy who is believed to have been found dead in a motel room Tuesday may have died more than two weeks before he was reported missing, according to court documents.
Police believe the body of a child found in Jasper, more than 130 miles away, is that of Samuel Olson, who would have been 6 years old.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will confirm the identity and cause and manner of death, Houston police said.
The body was found in a Best Western in Jasper on Tuesday, and Theresa Balboa, 29, the girlfriend of Olson’s father, is charged with tampering with evidence, police said.
She is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, and online court records did not appear to show an attorney for her.
Balboa was in the motel room where a child’s body was found inside a tote and told police that Samuel’s body was in that box, according to a police affidavit filed in the case.
Authorities believe Samuel died May 10 and had been kept in a storage unit in Webster, a city southwest of Houston, from May 13 until it was moved Tuesday, according to court documents.
He was reported missing May 27.
Balboa allegedly claimed that the child’s mother and someone posing as a police officer showed up that morning and demanded custody of Samuel. But the mother denied that account, and surveillance video showed she was at her home the whole time, according to court documents.
Balboa had the child May 10 when she called and told her roommate that Samuel was dead, the roommate told police, according to court documents.
The roommate said that he went home and saw the child unresponsive on a bed and that the body was kept in a bathtub before it was moved in the plastic tote to a storage unit, the police affidavit says.
Another man told investigators he took Balboa and the tote to the motel after she called him Monday and said she needed help, according to the affidavit.
The box had a foul odor, and after the friend checked Balboa into the motel, he called police and said where they were, the document says.
The boy’s parents are divorced, and he had been the subject of a custody dispute. An attorney for the child’s mother, Sarah Olson, said this week that she had primary custody and had been denied her child for months.
“Her utmost priority is to make sure that justice is done for her baby, Samuel,” the attorney, Marco Gonzalez, told reporters after the discovery at the motel. “This is a tragedy that has happened, and she’s hurting very deeply,” he said.
Dalton Olson had nothing to do with his son’s death and is shocked and in disbelief, his attorney said this week.
Dalton Olson told NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston that he was devastated and “can barely breathe.” He said he doesn’t understand what happened and that the boy loved Balboa.