TIMELINE: Samuel Olson case

Brandon Walker shares a timeline of the Samuel Olson case.
Brandon Walker shares a timeline of the Samuel Olson case.

HOUSTON – What happened to Samuel Olson?

That’s what authorities are trying to figure out after the 5-year-old boy was found dead inside a motel room in Jasper Tuesday evening.

Samuel was reported missing five days before the shocking discovery, and there have been several different versions of what happened to the little boy and how he went missing.

Here’s a timeline of how the case has unfolded:

April 30

Houston police said the last verifiable place Samuel was seen was at his elementary school on April 30.

May 2

Samuel’s paternal grandmother, Tonya Olson, said the last time she saw Samuel was on May 2.

“And to clear up that rumor that no one has seen Sam since April 30 is a lie. I just provided you guys with pictures with dates,” Tonya said on June 1. “He was with us. Dalton is not a bad father and he would never harm that baby and loves him to death. He would die for him.”

Paternal grandmother makes tearful plea in mysterious disappearance of 5-year-old Samuel Olson

May 10

Charging documents revealed that the roommate of the 5-year-old’s father’s girlfriend, Theresa Balboa, told investigators that he was called by Balboa on May 10 and was told that Samuel was dead, according to court records. The roommate said he left for work and later returned to their apartment off the Gulf Freeway in Webster and found Samuel laying on the bed unresponsive, according to court documents. He said he noticed bruising on the child’s body, according to court documents.

The roommate said that he and Balboa placed the body of the child in the bathtub where he remained for two days, according to court records.

New court docs reveal 5-year-old Samuel Olson was dead 2 weeks before being reported missing

May 13

The roommate said he bought duct tape and a plastic tote from Wal-Mart and that he and Balboa wrapped Samuel’s body in a plastic sheet, placed it into a tote bag and put the body in his vehicle, according to court documents. He said he and Balboa drove to a storage unit located at 16650 Highway 3 in Webster, Texas, according to court documents.

May 27

Samuel was reported missing. The 5-year-old’s father, Dalton Olson, and his girlfriend, Balboa, claimed he was last seen last Thursday, May 27 in southwest Houston.

Balboa told authorities that Samuel’s mother and a man dressed as a police officer came to her apartment and took the child.

May 28

Texas EquuSearch posted a missing person’s flyer on their Facebook.

The post was detailed that Samuel was taken by an unknown male from a southwest Houston home in the 8800 block of McAvoy Drive at around 7:30 a.m. on May 27.

UPDATE: Samuel Olson - Houston, Texas (5/27/21) Our hearts are deeply wounded to learn that the young boy’s body that...

Posted by Texas EquuSearch on Friday, May 28, 2021

May 29

The Houston Police Department issued a missing person’s flyer around 11 a.m.

HPD PIO Kese Smith told KPRC 2 on Saturday, May 29 that Samuel’s case appeared to be a child custody situation.

May 31

Houston police and Texas EquuSearch started searching for the 5-year-old at an apartment complex.

Also, on Monday, May 31, Houston police and members of the forensic crime scene unit executed a search warrant at the Webster apartment where Samuel was staying over the last few weeks.

Surveillance video showed a man and Balboa taking the tote bag from a truck into the motel, according to court docs. The man who assisted Balboa said she called him for help on May 31 after being involved in an altercation, according to court documents. The man then stated that he was the one who tipped off Crime Stoppers after helping Balboa removed the container from the Webster storage unit to the Jasper motel room on June 1, according to court documents.

Where is Samuel Olson? Search warrant executed for missing 5-year-old boy from Webster

June 1

Attorney Marco González, who is representing Samuel’s mother Sarah Olson, said on Tuesday, June 1, during a press conference, that Sarah hasn’t had access to Samuel since the last time she saw him in January 2020. As González was speaking during the press conference, news broke that a child’s body was found in a motel room in Jasper.

Attorney speaks on behalf of mother of missing 5-year-old Samuel Olson

According to reports, officers were called to a Best Western Inn, located in the 200 block of West Gibson Street just before 6 p.m. Jasper Police Chief Gerald Hall said the body of the child was found in a tote bag located in a room on the west side of the motel complex. He also said there were indications were that the body had been there for some time, according to reports.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner tweeted out that authorities believed the body was missing 5-year-old Samuel Olson.

Finner also said a possible suspect was taken into custody for questioning.

June 2

During a press conference on Wednesday, HPD Assist. Chief Heather Miller said the body found in Jasper is believed to be the missing 5-year-old, but the Medical Examiners Office was still working to confirm it.

An anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers led police to the motel, police said.

The girlfriend of a missing boy’s father, Theresa Balboa, was charged with tampering with evidence- human corpse. It was announced that Balboa was arrested in Jasper County on Tuesday night and transported to the Jasper County Jail.

Theresa Balboa, woman jailed in Samuel Olson case, seen for first time in law enforcement photo

Balboa was out on bond from an assault case in November. She was charged with assault with intent impeding breath, and Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson, was the complainant in the case.

Houston police said that their interviews with Balboa are ongoing and that Samuel’s father is someone they are talking to, among several other people.

As of June 2, police said they have no motive yet in this case.

June 4

Balboa is brought back to the Harris County jail on the tampering with evidence - human corpse charge.

She was not at her first court appearance. Her bond was set at $500,000.

Also on June 4 a Harris County grand jury indicts Balboa on the 2020 assault charge.

June 7

Balboa appears in court, in an orange jumpsuit. Her bond on the assault case was increased to $100,000. Her total bond is now $600,000.

The prosecutor announces in court that charges may be upgraded depending on the outcome of the autopsy.

Theresa Balboa’s attorney for the assault charge has asked the court to be withdrawn from the case.

Balboa’s next court date is scheduled for July 29.

June 8

Attorney Robert Scott is now the court-appointed attorney for both the assault and tampering cases.

Also, a court order has been signed requiring Balboa to undergo a mental health evaluation.

This is the second order requiring a mental health evaluation. The first one was filed in the tampering case in November 30, 2020.

4:00 pm - Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences announces the body found at a motel in Jasper, Texas has been positively identified as Samuel Olson. According to the Medical Examiner, the cause of his death is homicidal violence with blunt head trauma. The manner is homicide.

Body found in Jasper motel room positively identified as 5-year-old Samuel Olson, cause of death revealed


About the Authors:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.