The case of

Elizabeth Olten

Victim

Elizabeth Olten

Victim Race
Victim Date of Birth
Victim Age
Date Reported
Date of Death

2009-10-21

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

St. Martins, Missouri

Body Location
Date of Conviction

2009-11-17

Body Discovered Date
Murderer

Alyssa Bustamante

Who is Alyssa Bustamante?

Alyssa Dailene Bustamante lived with her grandparents, Gary and Karen Brooke at the time of the murder. They had taken legal custody of Bustamante and her three younger siblings in 2002 and became their legal guardians, this was because their mother, Michelle had addiction issues, and their dad Caesar also struggled with addiction and was in prison for assault at the time.

At 8 years old Bustamante moved to St. Martins, Missouri with her 3 younger siblings to live with her grandparents. She struggled to adjust to her new home and battled with depression and self-harm.

When she was a teenager, she attended Jefferson City High School, which is when her personality developed into a more edgy and alternative version. A far cry from the other teenagers around her, especially since she was known to participate in many youth activities at their local Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. As she grew older, her inner turmoil would often bubble to the surface, at home her mood would often fluctuate and she would take selfies that many would find questionable. Pictures where her lipstick was made to look like blood around her mouth and her fingers held to her head like a gun were amongst the pictures she took of herself.

In 2007 Alyssa Bustamante was rushed to hospital after carving the word hate into her arm and attempting to take her own life by overdosing on Tylenol. After this incident her grandparents tried to get her help by sending her to numerous counsellors and therapists, and despite being prescribed Prozac Alyssa continued to follow the dark path that she had started on. Eventually leading to a shocking and terrifying incident.

Who Was Elizabeth Olten

9-year-old Elizabeth Olten was Alyssa Bustamante’s neighbor, described by her mother, Patricia Preiss, as a real girly girl who loved cats and everything pink. She lived 4 houses down from Bustamante and would often go round to Alyssa’s house to play with her and her siblings.

On 21st October 2009 the nine-year-old innocently accepted an offer to play with Alyssa and her siblings at around 5pm, by 6pm when Elizabeth did not return home her mum knew something bad had happened.

Disappearance and Investigation

On 21st October, Elizabeth was at home rehearsing for a school play, and Patricia was preparing dinner. There was a knock on the door around 5 pm, and it was one of Elizabeth’s friends, a 6-year-old called Emma who lived close by, asking if Elizabeth could come to play. As most children would, Elizabeth begged her mum to let her go play with her friend, and reluctantly Patricia agreed, as long as Elizabeth was back by 6 pm. Since Elizabeth was afraid of the dark, her mum was quite confident that Elizabeth would not be late.

When 6 pm came round, Elizabeth had not arrived back home, and Patty Preiss had a horrible gut feeling about the situation. She immediately called her neighbor in the hopes of hearing that Elizabeth was still over at their house playing with Emma. However, when the neighbors picked up the phone, Patty discovered that her daughter had not made it to the house that afternoon.

At this point, Patty called the police to report her daughter missing and headed over to her neighbour’s house to ensure that she wasn’t somewhere on the property. When Elizabeth Olten was nowhere to be found, police started a grid search and, with the help of local volunteers, began to search for the missing 9-year-old.

During this time Elizabeth’s cell phone was pinged and investigators discovered that it was located somewhere in the forest. Upon directing their search into that area, some volunteers came across what looked like an empty grave, although they still could not find Elizabeth.

When Emma was questioned, as she was the last person to see Elizabeth, she told officers that they played for a while and then Elizabeth went home. Although, during this questioning officers discovered that Emma’s older sister Elizabeth was in the area while the pair were playing. This led police to question the 15 year old in case she had any more information.

Police observed that Alyssa was calm and cooperative during their questioning and when she stated that she had no idea where Elizabeth was, police had no reason at the time to suspect her of any wrongdoing. Eventually, officers brought Alyssa over to the area that the empty grave had been found in, and as they were walking towards it Sergeant Rice, who was there with his forensics team processing the scene, overhead Alyssa say something very strange. Alyssa stated that she was the one that had dug the grave like hole, but made assurances that there was nothing sinister behind it, saying that she just enjoyed digging holes. This is when some suspicions were raised about Alyssa.

The police searched the Bustamante household, as that was the last place Elizabeth was known to be heading, and one officer searched Alyssa’s room and found some crucial evidence.

Alyssa’s room was completely different from the rest of the house. It had dark walls with writing scrawled across them, most writings were in pen, but some appeared to be written in blood. Investigators discovered a drawing; it was a drawing of her little sister Emma, however, she was drawn with slashes on her head and arms. After this, they found Alyssa’s handwritten diary. When flipping through the pages, investigators saw that Alyssa had been writing about burning down a house and killing its occupants; it was assumed that she was writing about her grandparent’s house. They then found the page that was from October 21st, 2009, the day Elizabeth vanished. The page was illegible as it had been scribbled out with blue ink, but the last line was still readable, it read “I gotta go to church now, lol.”

Around this time, it was uncovered that Alyssa had taken the day of 21st October off school, this proved to heighten the suspicion around the teenager. Later, the police used a black light to read what had been scribbled out and came across the words slit and throat. It was now that Alyssa was brought in for further questioning.

Interrogation

Sergeant Rice took the diary into the interrogation room to speak to Alyssa with her grandmother, but he did not initially reveal that they had possession of it. After a few questions, he revealed that they not only had the diary but were able to read the last entry made in it.

Initially, Alyssa Bustamante claimed that she went into the forest with Elizabeth, but she did not kill her. She claimed that the 9-year-old had hit her head and died immediately. This was when investigators realized that there was no hope of finding the young girl alive.

Sergeant Rice did not believe Alyssa’s story, and after telling her that the cause of death would be revealed in the autopsy, he asked her bluntly whether her throat was cut. To this question, Alyssa Bustamante responded yes. This response immediately made Alyssa’s grandmother cry, and she had to leave the interrogation room shortly after.

Following this, Alyssa then admitted to Sergeant Rice the details of the horrific acts that she committed on 21st October 2009.

Murder

It is understood that this was a premeditated act by the 15-year-old, as she had dug the graves at least five days in advance. On the day in question, Alyssa Bustamante had told her younger sister Emma to go and get Elizabeth and ask her to play, telling Emma to go home once she had brought Elizabeth to her. At this point, Alyssa D. Bustamante led 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten into the forest saying to her “I’ve got something really neat to show you. It’s just a little up here.” Taking the young girl to where she had already dug a grave in the woods.

Upon arriving at the already dug grave, Alyssa began to strangle Elizabeth. She then stabbed her multiple times in the chest and finally slit her throat. Burying her in one of the two graves that she had previously dug and proceeded to go home, acting as if nothing had ever happened.

Alyssa was able to lead investigators to the body of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, where she was found partially buried and covered in mud and leaves only inches underground.

The Diary Entry

After Alyssa’s confession, investigators were able to read more of the final diary entry, it read:

“I just fucking killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel at the moment. It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the ‘ohmygawd I can’t do this feeling’, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’m kinda nervous and shaky right now tho. Kay, I gotta go to church now, lol.”

Upon further investigation, police discovered that she had previously told a friend that she wanted to know what it’s like to kill someone, she had listed her hobbies on her youtube page as killing people, and a week prior she had written another disturbing diary entry:

“If I don’t talk about it, I bottle it up, and when I explode, someone’s gonna die.”

When police asked Alyssa Bustamante what her motive was for killing Elizabeth Olten, she explained that she just wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.

Was Elizabeth Her Intended Target?

It is widely theorized that Elizabeth Olten was not Alyssa Bustamante’s intended target, but instead, it was her two younger brothers that were originally in her cross hares. People generally believe this as there were originally two graves dug, but also because of a disturbing video on her youtube channel. In this video, Bustamante encouraged her young brothers to touch a live cattle fence, electrocuting them. Just before they touch it, text in the video says “this is where it gets good. We get to see my brothers get hurt.” This video is the main evidence that people point to when theorizing that her two brothers were, in fact, the intended targets.

Conviction

30th January 2012, Alyssa Dailene Bustamante’s trial began at the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri. She was ultimately tried as an adult and gave a not guilty plea to the first-degree murder of Elizabeth Olten and armed criminal action. However, Alyssa’s confession was then suppressed, making it inadmissible in court. This was decided due to the juvenile officer, Tobie Meyer, using what was seen as deceptive tactics during the interrogation. Tactics such as saying that she, Meyer, was there as Bustamante’s ‘advocate’ were found by Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce to be misleading.

Alyssa D. Bustamante was then offered a plea deal which was accepted by her defense attorneys. After initially being charged with first-degree murder, accepting the plea deal meant that she could plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Ultimately, Alyssa Bustamante was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole, with an additional 30 years added for the armed criminal action charge. This means that Alyssa would serve 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Elizabeth Olten’s family and much of the public were not fans of this sentence. Elizabeth’s father wrote a letter to the judge from prison, where he was for drug charges, explaining that it was unfair how Elizabeth never got a chance to live her life, but without the maximum sentence, Alyssa could have a chance to live hers after prison.

There are quite a few people online who support Alyssa and believe she should be released from prison. A popular theory surrounding Alyssa is that her use of anti-depressants is a potential factor in her heinous crime. This theory was even brought up at Alyssa’s trial. At the time she was using Prozac, and her dosage had increased a considerable amount just weeks before Elizabeth Olten’s death. Generally, anti-depressants are known for their side effects, but Prozac is commonly linked to aggression being known to increase violent behavior by 10.9 times. This has led to the speculation that the antidepressant could potentially have played a role in the 15-year-old’s behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is Alyssa Bustamante Today?

Alyssa Bustamante is currently Incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Center, Livingstone County, Missouri.

Will Alyssa Bustamante be released?

Alyssa Bustamante currently qualifies for a parole hearing in 2044, so it is still unsure whether she will be released or not.

How many years did Alyssa Bustamante get?

Alyssa Bustamante received life in prison with the chance for parole, plus 30 years for her second charge. She is eligible for parole in 2044.

How did Alyssa Bustamante get caught?

Alyssa Bustamante was caught after police found her diary and used a black light to read what she had most recently written and then scribbled out. This incriminated her, and later her confession confirmed everything.

What was Alyssa Bustamante diagnosed with?

Alyssa Bustamante was previously diagnosed with major depression, which is why she was on Prozac at the time of her crimes. Psychologists have also diagnosed her as being “psychologically damaged” and as displaying symptoms of “borderline personality disorder”.

Subscribe TO OUR WEEKLY
TRUE CRIME

NEWSLETTER