Eyewitness News has learned Ben Rivera, 27, has been charged with tampering/fabricating evidence in the death of 5-year-old Samuel Olson.
Rivera was booked into the Harris County Jail just before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. He’ll make his first appearance before a judge Wednesday afternoon.
The child was found dead in a plastic container wrapped in a tarp and duct tape in a Jasper motel room on June 1, along with his father’s girlfriend, Theresa Balboa.
Balboa has already been charged with tampering with evidence in the case and is being held on a $ 600,000 bond.
During an interview with Rivera, police investigators say he told them he received a call on May 10 from Balboa saying Samuel was not breathing and telling him to come home.
Houston police investigators say the 27-year-old told them he returned to their apartment in the 15600 block of the Gulf Freeway in Webster that day and saw the child unconscious with bruising on his body. He said they placed Samuel’s body in the bath tub where he stayed for two days.
Rivera told police he went to Walmart on May 13 and bought duct tape and a plastic tote bin that they put the child in and took him to a storage unit where he remained until May 31.Court records say investigators found the Walmart receipt during a search warrant, according to records.
After an extensive investigation, court documents say police found evidence conflicting the timeline Rivera gave them.
During a search of his phone, investigators found a text message from Balboa to Rivera on May 5 saying that she needed to speak to him before he came inside the apartment.
On May 12, court documents say Balboa sent a text to Rivera saying she was going to move Samuel’s body to the bed, after learning from Rivera that the apartment’s maintenance would be entering their unit that day.
WATCH: Reporter Notebook: Covering the death of Samuel Olson
Surveillance video from a storage facility in Webster shows Rivera’s truck with the bin Samuel’s body was later found in, in the back arriving on May 22.
Evidence that has been recovered by police in the weeks following the 5-year-old being reported missing disproves the original report about what happened to the child.
In court documents released earlier this month, investigators wrote Balboa claimed that at about 7:30 a.m. on May 27, Samuel’s mother, Sarah Olson, arrived at Balboa’s home with another man and took the little boy without permission
Sarah, however, provided authorities surveillance video from her home to show she couldn’t have taken the child. While authorities and volunteers with Texas EquuSearch combed a field looking for signs of Samuel the following Monday, authorities now believe the little boy had already been dead for weeks.
In light of the charge, Eyewitness News reached out to Rivera’s attorney, who said no one would be discussing the case with anyone. The attorney also didn’t indicate whether Rivera would be turning himself in.
The medical examiner ruled that Olson died from blunt trauma to the head.
Meanwhile, Tonya Olson, the boy’s grandmother issued the following statement Tuesday evening:
“We are happy that he has been charged. We don’t know if he has been arrested yet. And pray that the judge sets the bond high!”
Balboa is not due back in court until July.
Although Balboa and Rivera are both charged with tampering with evidence in the case, no charges have been filed for the child’s murder.
WATCH: Will doctors be able to determine how Sam Olson died?
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Author: Mycah Hatfield
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