Samuel Olson Told His Grandma His Dad and Theresa Balboa 'Were Mean.' It Was the Last Time She Saw Him Alive.
The grandmother of Samuel Olson says she and her daughter won't stop seeking justice in the 5-year-old boy's murder.
The grieving family of 5-year-old Samuel Olson have a great many questions and few — if any — answers.
The child's decomposing body was found June 1 stuffed in a yellow-and-black plastic box in a Texas motel room occupied by the girlfriend of Samuel's father, authorities said.
"Who are these people?" asked an anguished Tiffany Clark Farmacka, Samuel's maternal grandmother. "Who kills a little baby and puts them in a container?"
Farmacka and her daughter, Sarah Olson, the little boy's mother, have endured many things since Samuel was reported missing on May 27 by his dad, Dalton Olson and Theresa Balboa, the father's girlfriend.
"There's just been a string of lies, one after the other," Farmacka told Inside Edition Digital this week.
The first was Balboa's initial claim that Sarah Olson and a uniformed officer showed up and took Samuel on the morning of May 27, authorities would later say. With Dalton at her side, Balboa told reporters she handed over the child because she had no custody rights to Samuel.
Sarah Olson and her ex-husband had been involved in a bitter custody dispute and the mother had not seen her son in nearly a year, the mom said. Investigators said surveillance video at Sarah's home showed she never left her home that morning.
Prosecutors now say Samuel was killed on or about May 12, with a blow to the head delivered by Balboa, who faces a capital murder charge. When she and Dalton were speaking to reporters, little Samuel had already been dead for more than two weeks. Dalton Olson has not been charged in connection with the case, something that makes no sense to Farmacka and her daughter.
"That s very unsettling," Farmacka said. "There's obviously other people that should be charged. Dalton should be charged. He should be charged with child endangerment. I don't understand how he can't be connected to" Samuel's death.
Dalton told investigators he had left Samuel with Balboa on April 30, the last date anyone outside of his family saw the child. But Balboa had been arrested in November and charged with assault for allegedly choking Dalton, and was under a restraining order to have no contact with Dalton or his family. She was out on bond pending trial in that case, according to authorities.
Farmacka and her daughter didn't know about the assault case or the restraining order until after Samuel was reported missing, she said.
"When I heard that, I couldn't believe it. Here he had a restraining order against this woman, and had filed charges against her and then you leave your son with her?" Farmacka said.
Assistant District Attorney Andrea Beall told reporters earlier this week that she expected no additional charges to be filed in the case. An email request for comment from Inside Edition Digital was not answered by the Harris County District Attorney's Office in Houston.
Balboa's roommate has been charged with evidence tampering after telling investigators he helped Balboa move the child's bruised body into their bathtub, where it stayed for two days. He then helped her wrap the remains in plastic and duct tape and placed them in the container, according to court documents. He said he helped her take the box to a storage facility, the documents said.
A friend of Balboa's was also charged with evidence tampering involving a human corpse. According to a probable cause statement, the man said he answered a call from Balboa seeking help and then helped her load a "foul-smelling" container and transport it to a Best Western motel room, where he booked a room under his name for Balboa. He returned home and called Crime Stoppers and reported her location, the document said. Jasper County authorities arrested Balboa at the motel, where Samuel's remains were found in her room, authorities said.
"Who in their right mind would help cover up the murder of an innocent child?" Farmacka said.
The last time Farmacka saw her grandson was at his 5th birthday party in late May. She and her daughter were invited by Dalton, she said, even though Dalton had failed to return Samuel from a January visitation. The grandmother and her daughter said Dalton had kidnapped the boy, and police did not get involved because it was a civil matter.
Sarah Olson has said she tried to take Samuel from the party, but was stopped by Dalton, who blocked her car. The police were called, and Dalton accused Sarah of hitting him with her car. She was arrested and charged with assault, a charge that was dropped last month.
Farmacka was inside the party and didn't see the incident, she said. But as people spilled outside and the police arrived, Farmacka said she sat in the back of a patrol car with her grandson as officers tried to sort out what happened.
"I sat in the police car with Sammy while they were talking to everyone," Farmacka said. "He was so happy that we were there. When we got there, he said to his mother, 'I knew you'd come for me.'
"He said that he didn't like being with his dad. He said he didn't like Theresa. He said they were mean to him. He couldn't tell me what it was," Farmacka said. She said she didn't know what to make of Sammy's words since he was just 5, and being "mean" could mean anything to the child, including being told he couldn't do something.
"They arrested Sarah. They asked me to leave and Sammy stayed there," the grandmother said. The little boy was crying when she left.
The child was only a toddler when his parents split up, Farmacka said. Sarah and Sammy eventually moved in with her.
"He was my first grandchild. He was a very special boy. He was such a good boy. He always did what you asked him to do. He was never a discipline problem," she said, breaking into tears. "It doesn't make any sense. What could he have done to make her so angry?"
An autopsy concluded Samuel's death was a "violent homicide" caused by blunt trauma to the head.
Farmacka said her daughter and Dalton split up in 2017. "They weren't good together," she said. Sarah obtained primary custody of Samuel, with Dalton receiving visitation rights and being ordered to pay child support, Farmacka said.
Then, in January 2020, Dalton took Samuel on a visit and never brought him back, the grandmother and mother said. Court records show Sarah Olson tried to serve Dalton Olson with custody filings, but process servers were not able to locate him.
The women said Dalton moved locations several times, trying to hide Samuel from them.
Through an attorney, Dalton Olson has denied any involvement in Samuel's disappearance and death. He has not publicly commented since he and Balboa spoke with reporters in late May, after they reported Samuel was missing.
"For him to sit there in silence, it's not doing his son any justice," Farmacka said. "He was not a very involved father. When they separated in January 2017, when he moved out, he just left Sarah and Sammy."
Last week, after prosecutors filed a capital murder charge against Balboa, Sarah Olson held a brief press conference.
“I am thankful for (Balboa) getting charged for the murder, but I know for a fact someone else needs to be charged and he’s still out there just running around free,” Olson said. “It’s Sam’s father. It’s Dalton Olson. He was supposed to keep our son safe, and he didn’t. He took him away from me, for what? To have him murdered?”
Farmacka said she goes back and forth in her thinking about Dalton. "I'm conflicted over whether he helped" kill Samuel "or whether he helped cover it up," she said.
For all the unanswered questions in her grandson's murder, there are several things that are not in doubt.
Samuel was very special, she said. "He was funny. He was very affectionate. He gave awesome hugs, that was one of my favorite things. He always wanted to hold your hand and he would rub your hand," she said.
Samuel was obsessed with all things having to do with "Toy Story," the animated hit film and sequels that portrayed a group of toys that magically come to life whenever humans are not present.
When he received Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear action toys as presents, Samuel carried them everywhere he went. He had "Toy Story" pajamas, too. "He would make us watch it over and over again," his grandmother said.
There is a hole in the lives of Farmacka and Sarah Olson. They try to keep busy. They try to keep their minds from going places where only agonizing pain and revulsion live. They try to push for justice for Samuel, and for other children who need protection.
"I don't want anyone to forget him," his grandmother said, as tears came again. "I know its not going to bring him back. But maybe it will help, so this doesn't happen to some other little boy."
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