Samuel Olson death: 3rd person charged with tampering in connection with death of 5-year-old

Friday, June 25, 2021
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Authorities have charged a third person in connection to the death of 5-year-old Samuel Olson. The newly charged suspect's mother, though, says he was key in tracking down the child.

JASPER, Texas (KTRK) -- A third suspect was arrested in connection to the death of 5-year-old Samuel Olson.

Twenty-seven-year-old Dylan Ray Walker was booked into the Jasper County Jail on Thursday.

Eyewitness News learned a Jasper County grand jury indicted Walker on a tampering charge with an intent to impair. He's accused of helping Theresa Balboa, also charged in connection to Samuel's death, move the 5-year-old's body. Balboa and the child's body were discovered inside a Jasper motel room.

It was not immediately clear how Walker knows Balboa.

However, Walker's mom told ABC13 Friday morning that her son was the one who reported Balboa's location at the motel to authorities through a Crime Stoppers tip.

Texas Rangers arrested Walker on Thursday, just after the indictment was handed down. He later posted his $125,000 bond and was released.

Now, there are now a total of three people charged in connection with Samuel's death. Balboa, who is the girlfriend of Samuel's father, her roommate, Ben Rivera, and now Walker, are all charged with tampering with evidence.

Rivera bonded out of the Harris County Jail Thursday after meeting his $100,000 bond. Rivera is accused of helping Balboa hide the lifeless body of the 5-year-old boy.

A judge placed him on house arrest, banned him from using firearms and banned him from having contact with children and family members of Balboa or Olson.

READ MORE: Samuel Olson death: Weapon that killed 5-year-old may have been found, prosecutor says

This comes after prosecutors believe they found the weapon that led to Samuel's death. No specifics were given as to where the weapon was found. Additional testing is being performed on it to confirm whether it was used to kill Samuel.

Shortly after Rivera made bond, Samuel's grandmother, Tonya Olson, sent ABC13 the following statement:

"We are vey disappointed! That the bond was so low. And our hearts are broken that he gets to walk around free and Sammy can't!"

Balboa is still in Harris County Jail on a $600,000 bond. Her next court appearance is next month. Rivera is due back in court in September.

Details about Rivera's alleged involvement and what led to his charge

Samuel was found dead in a plastic container wrapped in a tarp and duct tape in a Jasper motel room on June 1, along with Balboa, his father's girlfriend.

During an interview with Rivera, police investigators say he told them he received a call on May 10 from Balboa saying Samuel was not breathing and telling him to come home.

Houston police investigators say the 27-year-old told them he returned to their apartment in the 15600 block of the Gulf Freeway in Webster that day and saw the child unconscious with bruising on his body. He said they placed Samuel's body in the bath tub where he stayed for two days.

SEE ALSO: Theresa Balboa's ex responds to shocking allegations: 'I don't know what happened'

Rivera told police he went to Walmart on May 13 and bought duct tape and a plastic tote bin that they put the child in and took him to a storage unit where he remained until May 31. Court records say investigators found the Walmart receipt during a search warrant, according to records.

After an extensive investigation, court documents say police found evidence conflicting the timeline Rivera gave them.

During a search of his phone, investigators found a text message from Balboa to Rivera on May 5 saying that she needed to speak to him before he came inside the apartment.

On May 12, court documents say Balboa sent a text to Rivera saying she was going to move Samuel's body to the bed, after learning from Rivera that the apartment's maintenance would be entering their unit that day.

WATCH: Reporter Notebook: Covering the death of Samuel Olson

Surveillance video from a storage facility in Webster shows Rivera's truck with the bin Samuel's body was later found in, in the back arriving on May 22.

Evidence that has been recovered by police in the weeks following the 5-year-old being reported missing disproves the original report about what happened to the child.

In court documents released earlier this month, investigators wrote Balboa claimed that at about 7:30 a.m. on May 27, Samuel's mother, Sarah Olson, arrived at Balboa's home with another man and took the little boy without permission.

Sarah, however, provided authorities surveillance video from her home to show she couldn't have taken the child. While authorities and volunteers with Texas EquuSearch combed a field looking for signs of Samuel the following Monday, authorities now believe the little boy had already been dead for weeks.

The medical examiner ruled that Olson died from blunt trauma to the head.

Although Balboa, Rivera and Walker are all charged with tampering with evidence in the case, no charges have been filed for the child's murder.

Follow TJ Parker on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

WATCH: Will doctors be able to determine how Sam Olson died?