Alyssa Bustamante, 15, Charged With Slaying of 9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten
A Missouri judge ruled that 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante can be tried as an adult in the murder of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten. According to police, she killed the little girl just because she "wanted to know what it felt like."
Elizabeth was last seen October 21 as she was leaving a friend's home in St. Martins, Missouri around supper time, just down the street from her own home. She promptly vanished. A massive search was launched to look for her body in the rural, wooded area...
Detectives say some sort of written evidence led them to Bustamante, who lives at the home where Elizabeth was playing. Bustamante led detectives into the woods, where two graves had been dug the week before. That's where they found Elizabeth's body.
Police searched three days for Elizabeth before they were led to her grave
Police aren't saying who was supposed to fill the second grave, but according to Sergeant David Rice of the Missouri Highway Patrol, Bustamante confessed to killing the little girl because she just "wanted to know what it felt like." The graves would imply premeditation, and police are pushing for first-degree murder charges.
Though Bustamante attempted suicide two years ago, she was a fairly strong student at Jefferson City High School, hitting A's and B's and rarely missing class.
She will make an appearance in adult court this afternoon.
Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help. In court testimony yesterday, social service workers say the 15-year-old has a history of cutting herself and has been on Prozac since 2007. She also had a 10-day stay at Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center following her suicide attempt and was evaluated after that on a daily basis.
But Bustamante, as you can imagine, doesn't come from the best of homes. Her grandma has been taking care of her and her younger siblings since 2002. There's no word on where her parents are, but in most cases where they dump the kids on grandma, you can assume they're not exactly stand-up people.
Bustamante's also dabbled in goth stuff. Usually that just means nerdy kids wearing black and trying to find cool in their own social group. But in her case, it seems she took an interest in the darker side a bit too far, like the recent case of horrorcore rapper Richard McCroskey, who killed four people in Virginia over a minor beef with his 16-year-old girlfriend.
One of the reasons Bustamante will be tried as an adult is because Missouri's juvenile system is downright pitiful. There are no high-security facilities for girls, and more than 600 kids have escaped from its juvenile institutions in the last 10 years.
Alyssa was a gifted student with a girl's fascination of death
Staying in the juvenile system would also require her release at age 21. When you murder a young girl by digging her grave a week earlier -- and presumably plan to kill someone else -- you should probably be locked up for a lot longer than six years.
UPDATE II: Bustamante apparently killed the little girl by strangling her, stabbing her and slitting her throat.
But due to defense objections, prosecutors won't say who the other grave was intended for, or what kind of written evidence led them to Bustamante.
A public defender has filed a motion asking that she be placed in a state mental health hospital for immediate treatment. A video she once had on YouTube claimed her hobbies were "killing people" and "cutting." She also posted a video in which she intentionally shocks herself on an electric fence, then pushes her two young brothers to do it.
That seems to be the latest take on the girl accused in this horrific slaying. Neighbors and social workers say her grandparents made a good home for Alyssa and her brothers and sisters, even though her parents are losers.
Alyssa's mom Michelle Bustamante has a history of drug and alcohol charges. Her father Ceasar Bustamante is doing time in a Missouri prison for assault. But her grandparents, who've had custody of the kids since 2002, apparently provided a decent home.
Alyssa attended a Mormon church with her grandparents in Jefferson City and participated in youth activities. Tests at school revealed her as a gifted student who had a propensity to slack on occasion.
Perhaps most chilling is that she killed a girl who frequently played at her house. Neighbors say Elizabeth was a regular guest at Bustamante's home to play with the kids, including Alyssa. Why she would kill a little girl she knew so well remains a mystery.
Finally, you can see the videos Alyssa made prior to the murder at our sister paper, the Riverfront Times.
UPDATE III: Alyssa Bustamante has pleaded not guilty to murdering Elizabeth Olten.
That may be a little strange, since she's already confessed to murdering the little girl. But in court yesterday, her lawyer put in the plea on her behalf.
The attorney is also asking for a change of venue, saying the people of Jefferson City, Missouri are prejudiced against her client. It seems said lawyer doesn't know that this is what happens when you kill a little girl just to see what it feels like.