HOUSTON (AP) — A woman arrested in connection with the death of a 5-year-old Houston boy whose body authorities say was kept hidden in a storage unit before being discovered in an East Texas motel will likely face additional charges in the case, a prosecutor said Monday.
Theresa Raye Balboa has been charged with tampering with evidence, a human corpse, in the death of Samuel Olson. Balboa was the girlfriend of Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson.
During a court hearing on Monday, Andrea Beall, a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said that authorities planned to file additional charges against Balboa. Beall said a murder or a capital murder investigation is pending in the case.
Investigators were still waiting for a preliminary autopsy report, which could be ready by Monday afternoon. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston has not officially identified the body found last week by authorities as being Samuel. But police have said they believe the body found inside a plastic tote in a motel in Jasper, about 135 miles (215 kilometers) northeast of Houston, is the boy. A cause of death has also not been determined.
Police believe Samuel died weeks before he was reported missing on May 27, according to an arrest affidavit. He would have turned 6 years old on May 29.
Balboa, 29, did not speak during the brief court hearing. An attorney for Balboa did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Monday.
Court records show Balboa was charged with assault in November for allegedly choking Dalton Olson. Conditions of her bond in that case included that she have no contact with Olson or any member of his family.
During Monday’s court hearing, state District Judge DaSean Jones increased Balboa’s bond in the assault case from $5,000 to $100,000. She is also being held on a $500,000 bond for the tampering with evidence charge.
Samuel’s parents had been involved in a bitter custody battle over the boy after filing for divorce in January 2020.
Balboa initially accused Samuel’s mother and a man who presented himself as a police officer of taking the boy. Samuel had been living with Balboa since April 30, which was the last day he was seen at school. Authorities have not said why Samuel was staying with Balboa. Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson, lived at a different address.
Balboa’s roommate told investigators that Balboa called him May 10 and said the boy was dead, according to the arrest affidavit. The boy’s body was kept in the bathtub of the suburban Houston apartment where Balboa lived until she and her roommate placed it in a plastic tote and hid it in a storage unit on May 13, police said.
A tip from a friend of Balboa led police to the motel room in Jasper, where officers found her with the plastic tote with the boy’s body.
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