Woman pleads guilty, sentenced to 52 years in prison for murder of 5-year-old boy in 2021

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Woman gets 52-year sentence for murder of 5-year-old boy in 2021
Theresa Balboa must serve 26 years before she is eligible for parole. "My son didn't even get six years of life, and she still gets a chance at one? This is not justice," the boy's mother said.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston woman who was charged with capital murder in the death of a 5-year-old boy in 2021 will serve 52 years in prison, a judge decided Wednesday.

Theresa Balboa pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Samuel Olson's death as part of a plea deal, avoiding the death penalty.

Balboa, who isn't the boy's mother, but was dating his father at the time, must serve 26 years before she is eligible for parole. However, she'll get credit for the time she's served since her initial arrest in 2021.

She didn't say anything on her behalf in court, but Samuel's mother, Sarah Olson, did.

"Today, she admitted to what she did for 52 years and the chance of parole in 26. My son didn't even get six years of life, and she still gets a chance at one? This is not justice," Sarah said after the hearing.

Balboa pleaded guilty to the murder in order to keep her family from going through the trial, according to her attorney.

"You took my life. I can never have closure because of the state the body was returned in. I could not hold him one last time," Sarah said during her victim impact statement.

Samuel's paternal grandmother referred to Balboa only as a monster during her impact statement. Meanwhile, Samuel's father, Dalton Olson, had to step out before the victim impact statements were read. He was visibly angry as he sat in court with clenched fists.

"A 5-year-old boy who really couldn't defend himself, couldn't run, couldn't scream, couldn't do anything, and to meet this type of horrific, cold-blooded, diabolical fate, it's just unfathomable. She deserves never to breathe free air again," said Andy Kahan, a victim advocate with Houston Crime Stoppers.

It was nearly two years ago when the case broke wide open.

READ MORE: Horrific new details in death of 5-year-old Houston boy

The 5-year-old boy may have died as long ago as May 10. The primary suspect's roommate gave police the disturbing details of where the child's body has been.

On May 27, 2021, Balboa contacted police to report the 5-year-old boy missing. She claimed he was taken by a police officer who came to her door because of a custody dispute.

The report launched a massive search to find the boy, meanwhile, investigators started to unravel Balboa's story. That's when they discovered the boy had been missing for a few weeks before Balboa contacted police and was last seen at school on April 30. Authorities believe he died days short of his 6th birthday.

On June 1, Samuel's remains were found all the way in Jasper, Texas -- about two hours away from Houston. Authorities found Balboa in a motel room with the boy's body, which was found in a plastic container wrapped in a tarp and duct tape.

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

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

A woman is now charged with capital murder in the case of a 5-year-old boy found in a Jasper motel room weeks after he died.

Dylan Ray Walker, 28, was also found with the child's body in Jasper. Authorities later revealed that he called in a Crime Stoppers tip that led police to the hotel. Still, he was charged with tampering with intent to impair.

The third person charged in Samuel's death is Balboa's roommate, Ben Rivera.

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.

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

The DA's office will determine if the death penalty will be pursued as Balboa has been charged with capital murder and is eligible.

Before she accepted the plea deal, Balboa's case was set to go to trial in August.

Her trial was already delayed last year after her attorney said more time was needed to sift through new evidence.