HOUSTON – The man who told investigators that he helped move Samuel Olson’s body to a storage unit in Webster, appeared in court for the first time Thursday.
Benjamin Rivera, 27 was charged with tampering with evidence (a human corpse in this case) in connection to the 5-year-old’s case, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He was arrested Wednesday around 12:05 a.m.
Rivera stood in silence as he faced the judge Thursday morning. He was accompanied by his attorney who lobbied against some of the bond conditions set forth by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
However, prosecutors stuck by their demands.
“We asked for no contact with his co-defendant’s family as well as the family of little Samuel,” said Andrea Beall, felony chief prosecutor with the DA’s office. “We also asked for house arrest, which the judge granted, and we asked that he not possess any firearm or be around children.”
The judge, however, did grant a few exceptions to the bond conditions:
- Where Rivera lives, he has a cousin who is turning 17. The judge made an exception for that since Rivera is forbidden from being in contact with a child 17 and younger.
- He’s on house arrest, under current terms. The defense noted that he checks in with the bail bondsman weekly and needs to do that. The judge allowed the exception.
The District Attorney’s Office would not comment on what will come next in their case, only saying that is more work to do and evidence to review. They said they believe they have the weapon used in Samuel’s death but did not elaborate on what kind of weapon.
According to Balboa’s charging documents, Rivera revealed to investigators on May 10 and Balboa called and told him that Samuel was dead. Rivera said he and Balboa placed his body in the bathtub, where he remained for two days, according to court records.
On May 13, Rivera said he bought duct tape and a plastic tote that he and Balboa used to Samuel’s body in a plastic sheet. They then put the body in the tote bag and into Rivera’s vehicle, according to court documents. He said he and Balboa then drove to a storage unit located at 16650 Highway 3 in Webster, Texas, according to court documents.
Police believe Samuel died weeks before he was reported missing on May 27 by Balboa, according to an arrest affidavit. He would have turned 6 years old on May 29.