THE body believed to belong to missing six-year-old Samuel Olson was found inside a "foul-smelling" plastic bin and wrapped in bags and duct tape, according to court documents.
The gruesome discovery was made inside a Jasper, Texas, motel room on Tuesday as Samuel's stepmother, Theresa Balboa, was taken into custody on evidence tampering charges in relation to the boy's believed death.
Read our Samuel Olson live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Balboa, who was inside the room where the body was found, had earlier been picked up by a man in the parking lot of a Walmart in Cleveland carrying the plastic bin, court documents say.
Surveillance footage reportedly captures Balboa putting the bin – a black box with a yellow lid – in the back of the man's pickup truck before they drive away.
A short while earlier, Balboa had participated in a search for Samuel in the Webster area, prosecutors say.
Balboa and the man then drove to the Best Western motel in Jasper from the Walmart and are seen on motel surveillance tape arriving.
The man is then seen unloading the plastic bin and carrying it into room 106 before leaving the motel, court documents state.
According to investigators, the same man later called Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip to investigators about Balboa's location and the "foul-smelling" bin.
Police acted on that tip and made contact with Balboa. After searching her room they discovered the plastic container inside the bathroom.
After removing the lid, officers found a small body stuffed inside a black plastic bag that had been secured with duct tape.
Investigators have not yet verified the identity of the remains but they believe them to belong to little Samuel, who was first reported missing on May 27 but may have actually vanished several weeks ago.
In the meantime, Balboa has been charged with evidence tampering, with more charges likely, police say.
So far nobody else has been charged in relation to Samuel's believed death, however, several persons of interest are being interviewed by police.
Samuel's father, Dalton Olson, isn't considered a person of interest at this time, police say, but he is still being questioned along with other people who may have information about the case.
The identity of the man seen driving Balboa to the motel has not been released.
Earlier this week, police served a search warrant on Balboa's home and seized a black 2012 Dodge Avenger truck.
It's unclear if the truck is the same vehicle described in court documents.
Assitant House Police Chief Heather Miller said on Wednesday that Balboa lived at the property with a man, though declined to name him.
Speaking to the media after Balboa's arrest, Dalton Olson asked his fiancee "why did you do this?" and vowed to obtain "justice" for his son.
"Why? He loved you so much. I do not understand what happened," Olson said. "Why did you, why did you do this?”
"I don’t know what’s going on. I found out what happened last night," he said of her arrest. "I can barely breathe.”
Dalton told local media over the weekend that he and Balboa had a "routine" that his son would stay with her as he didn't have a car and worked long hours in construction.
In a statement issued through her attorney on Wednesday night, Samuel's biological mother, Sarah Olson, said she's "completely heartbroken" and feels that Dalton and Balboa are "100 percent" responsible.
"She feels that if Samuel is deceased … [and] that this is her child after the identification process, she feels 100% of the blame is on both Dalton and Theresa," attorney Marco Gonzalez told reporters.
Balboa reported Samuel missing on May 27, but he hasn't been seen by anyone outside of his family since April 30, when he last attended class at Holbrook Elementary in Cy-Fair ISD.
Samuel's paternal grandmother, Tonya Olson, said she last saw him on May 2 and later spoke to him on the phone around a week and a half ago.
Balboa told police she handed Samuel over to his mother and a man dressed as a police officer at 7am last Thursday.
Balboa said the “officer” told her she would be charged with kidnapping if she didn’t turn him over, as she was not legally responsible for the boy.
She later repeated the claims in a tearful plea to local media over the weekend.
"I was going to take Sam to school when his mother showed up with the police officer, or who I was under the impression to be a police officer, and they demanded me to release Sam," Balboa told ABC13.
However, police were unable to verify Balboa's version of events and later found "several inconsistencies" in her story in subsequent interviews.
After the body was discovered on Tuesday night, Tonya Olson told CNN that the family is "completely devastated."
"Shocked and so many other things that words cannot explain at the moment," she wrote in an email. "We are grieving as a family. None of us can wrap our heads around this.
"My son or anyone in our family had absolutely nothing to do with this."
More to follow…
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