Trial date set 1 year after disappearance and killing of 5-year-old found at motel in Jasper, Texas

Theresa Balboa is charged with capital murder in the death of her boyfriend's 5-year-old child

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, June 3, 2022
Trial date set in case of missing child found dead one year ago
The DA's office will determine if the death penalty will be pursued as Balboa has been charged with capital murder and is eligible.

JASPER, Texas (KTRK) -- One year ago, the body of a 5-year-old child initially reported missing was found in a plastic container at a motel in Jasper with his father's girlfriend at the time.

Theresa Balboa, 30, is in jail and charged with capital murder in the death of 5-year-old Samuel Olson.

Her case is set for trial in February of 2023. Because she is charged with capital murder, Balboa is eligible for the death penalty. The district attorney's office said it would ultimately be left up to the elected DA Kim Ogg to determine if that will be pursued.

Balboa's attorney said the case is moving along quicker than many of the backlogged cases, and they will be prepared for the trial date.

Authorities believe he died days short of his 6th birthday.

"This is one of my worst cases just because of the egregiousness of the murder and the trusted relationship that was involved in gaining access to the child," Andrea Beall, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said.

Balboa reported the child missing on May 27, 2021 and blamed the child's biological mother for his disappearance. Investigators determined he may have been dead for weeks prior through further investigation.

Crime Stoppers received a tip that led them to Samuel's body which was found in a plastic container at a motel about two hours from Houston with Balboa.

RELATED: Theresa Balboa charged with capital murder in 5-year-old Samuel Olson's death

Dylan Ray Walker, 28, was also found with the child's body in Jasper. Authorities later revealed that he called in the Crime Stoppers tip. Still, he was charged with tampering with intent to impair. His next court date is June 8.

The third person charged with Samuel's death is Balboa's roommate, Ben Rivera. He is out on bond for tampering with evidence.

SEE ALSO: Girlfriend of missing boy's dad charged after a child's body found in motel

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.

Investigators found the Walmart receipt during a search warrant, according to court records.

After his arrest, ABC13 learned the possible murder weapon had been recovered. Beall would not disclose the weapon or its location to not harm the case.

"I believe there will be mixed opinions on if we found the murder weapon," Beall said. "With any case, it all comes down to the witnesses on the stand and the credibility of the forensic analysis that has been done that's really the core of every state's case."

Beall said it is unclear if Rivera's case will go to trial. She plans to present it to their capital review committee to figure out the next steps.

"Any time we have a capital murder, we present it to a select few individuals, other prosecutors in the office who have a vast array of experience and we all discuss what appropriate plea offers, plea recommendations would be on the case, if there will be any sort of offers related to testifying co-defendants if we will pursue a death penalty decision," Beall said.

The prosecutor believes they have a solid case to help secure justice for Samuel's family. She said there is a tremendous amount of evidence to review in the case.

"In a case like this where you have multiple different agencies involved, multiple different police jurisdictions who have participated, there is a huge amount of discovery," Beall said.

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