Samuel Olson Death: Roommate of Theresa Balboa Posts Bail, Weapon Used to Kill Boy May Have Been Found: DA
Benjamin Rivera, the roommate of Theresa Balboa, was freed on $100,000 bail Thursday. A prosecutor said the weapon used to kill Samuel Olson may have been found.
A prosecutor said Thursday the weapon used to kill 5-year-old Samuel Olson may have been found, as the second person charged in connection with his death was released on $100,000 bail.
Benjamin Rivera, 27, is confined to house arrest and must wear a GPS monitoring device, a Harris County judge ruled in Houston. Rivera is the roommate of Theresa Balboa, the girlfriend of Samuel's father. The roommates are the only people charged in an ongoing murder investigation into Samuel's death.
Both face counts of evidence tampering regarding a human corpse. Balboa remains at the Harris County Jail in Texas, where she is being held in lieu of $600,000 bond.
Chief prosecutor Andrea Beall said after the bond hearing that police are conducting tests on what may be the weapon used to kill Samuel. She did not provide further details about where it was found or what it is. A June autopsy ruled the boy's death was a homicide caused by blunt force head trauma.
Besides home confinement, Rivera was also ordered to have no contact or communication with anyone under the age of 17 and to have no contact with Balboa or Samuel's father, Dalton Olson.
According to a charging document filed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office, Rivera allegedly told homicide investigators he helped Balboa hide Samuel's body in a plastic bin and transport it to a storage facility weeks before the boy was reported missing by his father on May 27.
Samuel's body was discovered June 1 by sheriff's deputies in Jasper County, Texas, some 130 miles from his Houston hometown. Authorities responding to a Crime Stoppers tip found Balboa, 29, in a Best Western motel room with a box containing Samuel's corpse, according to prosecutors.
The black-and-yellow plastic container had been secured with zip ties, authorities said. A deputy pried open the lid and saw a child's remains wrapped in plastic bags and bound by duct tape, court documents said, and a strong, foul odor consistent with decomposing remains emanated from the bin.
During questioning by homicide investigators, Rivera allegedly told them he had been called at work on May 10 by Balboa, who said Samuel was unresponsive and he needed to come home immediately.
After returning to their apartment, Rivera said he saw Samuel's bruised body lying on a bed and he helped Balboa place the child in their bathtub, where he remained for two days, according to the charging document filed by prosecutors.
Rivera told police he went to Walmart on May 13 and bought duct tape and a plastic tote, and that he and Balboa placed Samuel's body inside and then drove to a storage locker, where the container remained until May 31, the document said.
Prosecutors also said detectives obtained text messages from Rivera's cellphone showing he and Balboa discussed moving the child's body.
Dalton Olson reported his son missing two days before the child's sixth birthday. He and Balboa told investigators that Balboa had been confronted that morning by Sam's mother, Sarah Olson, and a uniformed officer, who demanded custody of the child, authorities said.
Balboa's statement would later prove to be false, investigators said. Five days later, she was discovered with Samuel's decomposed body, authorities said.
Dalton Olson, through his attorney, has denied any involvement in Samuel's death, which was deemed a violent homicide caused by blunt head trauma, according to autopsy results publicly released earlier this month.
No one has been charged with killing the child.
Prosecutors have said they intend to file additional charges in the "murder or capital murder" investigation.
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