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9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten is Missing in Missouri After Walking Home From a Friend's House

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm
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Relatives say Elizabeth was much too shy to get in a car with anyone
UPDATE: See Alyssa Bustamante, 15, Charged With Slaying 9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten.

Relatives say 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten is extremely shy, afraid of the woods and the dark. So when she began her walk home from a friend's house Wednesday at 6:15 p.m., then suddenly disappeared, police knew they weren't dealing with a runaway.

More than 300 cops and volunteers are searching the wooded, muddy terrain near her home in St. Martins, Missouri. It's a quarter-mile walk from her friend's to her own home, and Elizabeth usually cut through neighbors' yards as opposed to walking down the county highway that runs past their houses. Relatives believe she was much too shy to get into a car with anyone, and would have screamed if someone tried to grab her...

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Police were tracing her location before her cell phone died
Police narrowed their focus on the girl's cell phone location, using a helicopter with thermal imaging radar. But the phone died by Thursday, and rainy, muddy conditions are hampering the search.

Elizabeth is about 5-foot-2 and weighs 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink scarf, sweater and T-shirt with butterflies. In April, her father was sentenced to a four-year stretch in a Missouri prison for drug possession. It's unknown if police are looking at revenge against Dale Olten Sr. as a motive in the case.

UPDATE: Elizabeth Olten has been found murdered near her home in Missouri.

Following a two-day search, Elizabeth's body has been found. Police have a juvenile person of interest in custody have haven't released his name. All they'll say is that he knew Elizabeth, lived not far away, and was older than the girl. 

We'll keep you posted as more details are released.

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