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Father's girlfriend charged in disappearance of 6-year-old Houston boy

Authorities believe they may have found Samuel Olson's body at an East Texas motel located more than 100 miles from Houston.

A woman is in custody in the disappearance of a 6-year-old Houston boy after a body believed to be that of the missing child was found in a motel room more than 100 miles away in East Texas.

Theresa Balboa, 29, was charged with tampering with evidence after Samuel Olson was reported missing, Houston’s Assistant Police Chief Heather Morris told reporters during a Wednesday morning press conference. Balboa is the girlfriend of Samuel’s father, Dalton Olson.

She is being held in the Jasper County Jail as officials work to return her to Houston, Morris said.

Balboa spoke to detectives on Thursday when they began to investigate Samuel's disappearance and claimed that she saw Samuel’s mother, Sarah Olson, with a police officer that morning, according to the assistant chief.

She allegedly said that Samuel’s mother showed up at the father’s home that morning and demanded Balboa give Samuel over to her, Morris said. But when Dalton Olson called, he discovered Samuel was not with his mother.

Further investigation revealed that Sarah Olson was at her home all of Thursday morning, Morris said.

Detectives from the Jasper Police Department received an anonymous tip that led them to a motel, where a body was discovered Tuesday. Investigators said they have not finished the identification process, but believe they may have found Samuel.

Samuel was last at school on April 30, but investigators are not sure when he was the last seen.

Forensic evidence was taken from the scene in Jasper and a 2012 Dodge Avenger was also taken by police from the motel to be processed. The car is believed to be one that Balboa regularly drove, though the ownership is unknown at this time, Morris said.

Two cellphone numbers listed for Balboa in public records were not in service when NBC News attempted to reach her for comment. She may face further charges as the investigation into Samuel’s disappearance continues, Morris said. It was not clear Wednesday if she had an attorney.

Before the latest arrest, Balboa was out on bond after an assault charge in connection with a November 2020 confrontation with Dalton Olson, according to police.