Alyssa Bustamante

Victim: Elizabeth Olten, nine

Age at time of murder: 15

Crime date: October 21, 2009

Crime location: Saint Martins

Crimes: Murder of a child

Weapon: Knife & person

Murder method: Strangling & stabbing

Murder motivation: Thrill, entertainment, & enjoyment

Convictions: Guilty plea to second-degree murder and armed criminal action

Sentence: Life with parole eligibility in 35 years

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Chillicothe Correctional Center

Bustamante’s prison picture
Girl, 9, laid to rest as murder suspect, 15, appears in court -


Bustamante was a highly disturbed teen with an interest in violence and killing. She told a friend, “I just wonder what it would be like just to kill someone, see the life just drain out of someone. I wonder what it would feel like, that type of power, to take that away from someone.” To satisfy her desire to kill, Bustamante devised and carried out a brutal plan to lure her nine-year-old neighbor to a pre-dug grave in the woods and murder her. Bustamante stabbed and strangled young Elizabeth and buried her in the grave. The killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life with parole.


US teen killer in ‘amazing’ murder sentenced to life

The teenage girl who confessed in her diary to “enjoying” the murder of her nine-year-old neighbour has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Diary entries made by teenage murderer Alyssa Bustamente in which she described her pleasure at killing her nine-year-old neighbour Elizabeth Olten have been read to a shocked courtroom. Alyssa Bustamante (left) was 15 years old when she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten (right) to death Photo: AP

Rosa Prince

By Rosa Prince, New York
Feb 8, 2012

Alyssa Busatamante had pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Elizabeth Olten in the small town of St Martins, Missouri, when she was 15-years-old. She strangled and stabbed the little girl before burying her under a pile of leaves.

The plea on lesser charges spared her a first-degree murder trial, which would have left her liable to a life sentence without the chance of release.

At a sentencing hearing, her lawyers had argued that the fact that she was taking high doses of Prozac at the time of the 2009 crime meant that she was more prone to violence and so should serve only 10 years in jail.

However, following tearful testimony by Elizabeth’s mother Patty Preiss, who called Bustamante a “monster,” a judge at Cook County Circuit Court ruled she should serve a life sentence plus 30 years for armed criminal action.

Before sentencing, the teen, now 18, apologised to her victim’s family. “If I could give my life to bring her back I would – I’m sorry,” she said.

Teen Thrill Killer Alyssa Bustamante Could Get Paroled Some Day

The teenager was sentenced for killing her 9-year-old neighbor.

By ALYSSA NEWCOMBFebruary 8, 2012

Feb. 8, 2012— — A teenager who slit her young neighbor’s throat and called it “enjoyable” may have the opportunity to walk free one day.

Alyssa Bustamante, 18, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in a Missouri courtroom today.

The teen expressed remorse for brutally killing her neighbor, Elizabeth Olten, in October 2009, in what prosecutors described as a thrill killing.

“I know words can never be enough and they can never adequately describe how horribly I feel for all of this,” Bustamante said to Olten’s mother and siblings, who sat silently. “If I could give my life to get her back I would. I’m sorry.”

Bustamante stabbed the 9-year-old girl in the chest, strangled her, sliced her throat and left her in a shallow grave covered with leaves so she could find out what it felt like to kill.

“I just f***ing killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel atm [at the moment],” Bustamante wrote in her diary.

She later added: “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 though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now…lol.”

Elizabeth’s mother, Patty Preiss called Bustamante “an evil monster” and said that she “hated her” on the first day of the teen’s sentencing hearing.

Prosecutor Mark Richardson had argued for life in prison, plus 71 years, accounting for the years Elizabeth lost.

“These sentences are appropriate and fit what happened to Elizabeth at the hands of a truly evil individual who strangled and stabbed an innocent child simply for the thrill of it,” Richardson said in a statement.

The defense cited Bustamante’s depression and a suicide attempt as a reason for a reduced sentence.

On the teen’s YouTube page, a video appears to show the suspect with her brothers purposefully shocking themselves on an electrified fence. She listed “killing people” as one of her hobbies under her profile.

Her Twitter messages around the time of the murder spoke of “addiction” and “terrors.”

One message said, “all I want in life is a reason for all this pain.”

“She committed the murder after deliberation, which means cool deliberation or cool reflection on the matter for any length of time,” Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson told the court Wednesday.

Killing girl was ‘enjoyable’, teen murderer writes in her diary

07 Feb 2012

Her voice wavered as she went on: “I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened. I’m so sorry.”

Following her arrest, Bustamante told officers she had lured Elizabeth to her death because she wanted to experience what it felt to kill someone. After the crime, she went to a church dance while rescuers searched in vain.

In a journal entry which was read to the court, she described her exhilaration at the killing: “I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead,” she wrote.

“I don’t know how to feel atm [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 though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now … lol [laugh out loud].”

Alyssa Bustamante and children that kill: When violence is a lullaby

The story becomes even more disturbing as prosecutors read from a diary where Bustamante described the experience as “amazing” and “enjoyable.”
Jerome Elam

DALLAS, February 13, 2011 – A feeling of anger and confusion swept over the town of Jefferson City, Missouri last Wednesday as Alyssa Bustamante was given a life sentence for the brutal murder of nine-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

In October 2009, then fifteen-year-old Bustamante lured Olten into the woods where she brutally stabbed her to death because she “wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.”

The trial reveals that Bustamante used her younger sister as bait to lure Elizabeth Olten away from her home before stabbing her to death with a knife. At her sentencing she offered an apology to the parents of her victim as she was escorted to serve the life term she may one day be paroled from.

Throughout history there have been rare glimpses into the mind of children who become murderers.

In December 1968 Mary Flora Bell was found guilty of murdering two boys, three and four. Bell was only ten-years-old. She is currently on record as the youngest documented serial killer.

What drives these children to detach themselves from any association with humanity and become killers has been the perpetual quandary of the psychiatric community for years. Bell was the daughter of a prostitute whose father was unknown and thought to be a convicted felon.

Bustamante is the child of teenage parents, a drug abuser whose mother and father left her to serve time in prison. Striking similarities in the lives of two young girls who looked into the eyes of the abyss and saw themselves looking back.

The process of making a human life insignificant in someone’s mind, especially in the case of a child is not well understood. As her dairy was read recounting how she enjoyed the murder of Elizabeth Olten minutes before attending a church dance, Bustamante was called a monster by the prosecution.

A suicide attempt in 2007 resulted in the prescription of Prozac, which prosecutors argued she was not taking at the time of the murder. In a study done in 2000 on juvenile homicide, Psychologists David M. Shumaker and Ronald J. Prinz found striking similarities that transcended race, gender and income level.

Children who commit murder are more likely to come from homes where domestic abuse, physical violence, sexual abuse, the complete absence of parenting or poor parenting and over all instability were present.

As a survivor of both physical and sexual abuse my youth was spent in an environment of poor parenting and I have seen others in my circumstances part ways with humanity. So why do children choose to be consumed by the darkness and abandon all hope on giving life meaning?

The simple answer is that they have convinced themselves their own lives no longer have value and by extrapolation everyone else’s as well. Anger is a motivating factor in juvenile violence and when a powerless child sees those as having power over the musing violence, they assimilate.

In cases of long-term abuse, anger can build inside a child until an explosion occurs. If you place a cork into the mouth of a faucet and turn the tap on full, eventually the water has to go somewhere. Such is the case in children who come from abusive households.

Schooled in inappropriate ways of expressing negative feelings, many children are nurtured on dysfunction. They learn to seek out chaotic situations because it is what they are most comfortable with.

In 1993, two-year-old James Bulger was kidnapped raped and murdered near Liverpool, England. His killers were Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, two ten-year-old boys. They spotted James Bulger as his mother turned her back in a butcher’s shop and lured him outside while they punched and kicked him, even dropping him on his head as bystanders watched. After a 2.5-mile walk Thompson and Venables dropped a 22-pound iron bar on his head killing him. They placed his body across train tracks where it was later cut in half.

The coroner found 42 injuries including ten skull fractures when he examined James Bulger. Video evidence shown at trial showed the pair luring the two year old away from his mother while she was distracted.

Thompson and Venables were from unstable environments where alcoholism, absent fathers and negligent parenting were the status quo.

During the trial of Thompson and Venables the defense tried to cite the influence of violent videos on Thompson and Venables behavior as a motivating factor for their crime. There has been much discussion in recent times about violent video games and their effect on children.

Christopher Ferguson is an associate professor at Texas A&M International University in Laredo and after reviewing the evidence he feels the effects are generally low. He found violence in the home such as abuse and poor parenting is the largest indicators of violent behaviors in children.

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs released a study in 2009 called “From Time-Out to Hard Time: Young Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System. “ Within its pages it states that in twenty-two states including the District of Colombia children as young as seven can be sentenced as adults. More than half the states allow children under 12 to be treated as adults.

Beginning in 1985, violent crimes by children increased and from 1995 to 2004 ninety-two murders were committed by children under 12. The study found a disturbing trend among violent offenders transferred to adult court. More often than not, only the high profile cases were transferred while others were placed on probation or released.

There were strong inconsistencies in how children under twelve were prosecuted under the law. Barry Dale Loukaitis was 14 when he murdered his algebra teacher and two students. Dressed up like a Wild West gunslinger, Loukaitis walked from his house to his fifth period algebra class armed with a hunting rifle and two handguns.

As he began shooting he was heard saying, “This sure beats the hell out of algebra, doesn’t it?” a quote from the Stephen King novel “Rage.” Loukaitis’ parents divorced when his mother found his father was having an affair.

She grew increasingly suicidal afterwards and would often speak of a joint suicide that included her son. Loukaitis was being treated for clinical depression and suffered relentless bullying at school. At trial his defense attorney pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity citing messianic and delusional thoughts.

The jury thought otherwise and sentenced him to two life sentences and an additional 205 years without the possibility of parole.

The responsibility of being a parent must take precedence over any other priority in our lives. It is the one job we must not fail to do our absolute best every single day of our lives until we can no longer walk this earth. The impact a parent can have on a child’s life is immeasurable and begins the moment that child takes its first breath of air. If we fail in our responsibilities as parents and act selfishly the results of our actions are not hard to predict.

An overwhelmed Division of Child and Family Services need the funding and resources to properly care for those children cast aside by those unable to parent. The life of a child is too valuable to waste and we must do better as a society to ensure a stable environment for all children.

If we turn our backs on the neglected and abused children of this world the results present themselves on the front page of our morning newspaper. Mary Bell was paroled from prison in 1980 and has gone through a series of name changes to protect the daughter she now has.

Thompson and Venables were paroled in 2001 and have also undergone name changes. Loukaitis will never see the light of day. Alyssa Bustamante is starting her life sentence and may be paroled in 35 years.

Monday, October 26, 2009

15 Year old charged in murder
of missing Mo. girl

ST. MARTINS, Mo. Oct 26 2009 (AP) – Juvenile authorities
said Saturday that a 15-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder for
the death of a 9-year-old central Missouri girl found in the woods two days
after she went missing.Police did not release the teen’s gender or name and provided few other details about the person suspected of killing Elizabeth Olten. Cole County Sheriff Greg White has said the teenage suspect is not related to Elizabeth but was acquainted with her and is from the same area just west of Jefferson City.

Several hundred people braved soaking rain and cold weather to search a heavily wooded area near Elizabeth’s home after she was reported missing Wednesday evening. Police found Elizabeth’s body Friday afternoon after the suspect led them to a wooded area several hundred yards from her St. Martins house, White said.

“We had been in that area – actually more than once. The body was very well concealed,” said White, who would not say whether police believed Elizabeth had been killed there.

Under Missouri law, children as young as 12 can be charged as adults with first-degree murder.  But the case must start in the juvenile court system while a hearing is held on whether to transfer it to an adult court. Juvenile court records generally are closed under Missouri law unless a judge grants an exception.

Cole County Juvenile Court Administrator Michael Couty said the suspect was in the custody of the juvenile justice system and would undergo a background and psychological check. Couty planned to request a hearing next week before a family court judge to determine whether the suspect should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. That hearing would be closed to the public.

Police initially had said Elizabeth was last seen walking home from a neighbor’s house on Wednesday night. White said that timeline was developed through interviews.

But on Saturday, White declined to say whether police believed Elizabeth had started walking home when she encountered the suspect. He said many details could not be released to avoid risking the prosecution’s case and because the suspect is a juvenile.

An autopsy was being conducted Saturday to determine the time and cause of death.

Police would not say Saturday whether there had been a confession, nor would they describe the teen’s demeanor or offer more details about written documents that led them to the suspect. White also declined to say
whether calls had been made from Elizabeth’s cell phone, which was found “very, very close” to her.

Police narrowed the primary search area after tracing the phone’s general location, but the phone’s battery had died by Thursday morning.

The Olten family has received help since Elizabeth’s disappearance from Missouri Missing, a group that highlights missing-person cases and provides emergency aid to families. Group spokeswoman Ra’Vae Edwards relayed a request for comment Saturday to Elizabeth’s family.

“They don’t have anything to say right now other than they’re working on arrangements for the funeral,” Edwards said, “And they wanted to thank the community for their support and prayers.”

Is Life Without Parole For Juveniles Cruel And Unusual?

Photos from Alyssa Bustamante (ramen_noodles_woot_) on Myspace
A photograph from Bustamante’s MySpace (this social media pic is how she wanted the world to see her). She is in prison at the Chillicothe Correctional Center.
Elizabeth Kay Olten (1999-2009) - Find A Grave Memorial

On October 21, 2009, in Saint Martins, Missouri, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante sent her sister Emma to get their nine-year-old neighbor Elizabeth Olten and then sent Emma away and lured Elizabeth into the woods, telling her “I’ve got something really neat to show you. It’s just a little bit further up here.” But Bustamante, a highly disturbed and deranged young woman, was planning on doing far more evil than what she let on. Bustamante, who had previously threatened to kill a classmate and listed  “killing people” and “cutting” as interests on her YouTube page, had devised a plan to murder little Elizabeth. Like several other killers listed here, Bustamante wanted to feel the thrill of killing. She had previously told a friend “I just wonder what it would be like just to kill someone, see the life just drain out of someone. I wonder what it would feel like, that type of power, to take that away from someone.” And Bustamante did just that. She led the little girl to a grave she had dug at least five days earlier and then began to strangle her. She stabbed Elizabeth several times in the chest, slit her throat, and buried her in the grave.

Diary of a ‘thrill-kill’: Missouri teen Alyssa Bustamante murders neighbor girl, records event in journal

“She said she sent Emma, her sister, over to the Olten household to pick Elizabeth up,” said Rice. “From that point she claimed that she told Emma to go back home and that she took Elizabeth by the hand and walked her into the woods.”

It’s a quarter of a mile, a 15-minute walk into the woods, leaving plenty of time for Alyssa Bustamante to think about what she is doing and stop. But she continues on, holding the 9-year-old’s hand, saying:

“‘I’ve got something really neat to show you. It’s just a little bit further up here,’” Rice says, quoting Alyssa.

Unbeknownst to the little girl, Alyssa is armed with a kitchen knife and is leading her toward a pre-dug grave.

“Alyssa said once she arrived at the site of the hole that she began to strangle Elizabeth while she was facing her, that she strangled her multiple times and stabbed her in the chest, I believe six or seven times, and then cut her throat,” said Rice.

After her confession, Alyssa agrees to take Sgt. Rice to Elizabeth’s body. Rice took Crime Watch Daily along into the same woods, where he retraced and recalled that fateful day.

“She knew exactly where it was, led us directly to it,” said Rice. “It was not well-covered. Once she pointed out the area, and you looked a little bit closer, you could see that she was only a few inches, if that, under the ground, and you could see body parts that came up covered with mud. It’s a pretty horrifying homicide.”

The results of Elizabeth’s autopsy come in and they appear to mirror Alyssa’s diabolical diary entry. Investigators use a blue light to finally reveal her last entry on the day Elizabeth disappeared. It reads in part:

“This was very premeditated by the 15-year-old murderer because she had dug the grave holes at least five days in advance of the murder, and it was premeditated in the sense that she sent her sister down to get Elizabeth out of the house for the purpose of murdering her,” said prosecutor Mark Richardson.

Sadly, the signs of a troubled teen seemed to be there all along. Alyssa appeared to like hurting herself and others. On her Youtube page Alyssa lists under interests and hobbies: “killing people” and “cutting.” And in one video captured on a school bus, she threatens to shoot a classmate.

A week before she killed Elizabeth, Alyssa takes to her journal and writes: “If I don’t talk about it, I bottle it up, and when I explode someone’s gonna die.”

But perhaps the biggest warning sign appears at Alyssa’s own 15th birthday party. She is hanging out with her former best friend Jennifer when she says:

“‘I just wonder what it would be like just to kill someone, see the life just drain out of someone. I wonder what it would feel like, that type of power, to take that away from someone,’” reports Jennifer Meyer.

Teen who wrote in diary of killing 9-year-old sentenced to life in prison


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri teenager who had described the slaying of a young neighbor girl as an “ahmazing” thrill made an emotional apology Wednesday to the girl’s family and was sentenced to a potential lifetime in prison.

Moments before her sentence was imposed, 18-year-old Alyssa Bustamante rose from her chair — with shackles linking her ankles and holding her hands to her waist — and turned to face the family of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, whom she confessed to killing in October 2009.

“I really am extremely, very sorry for everything. I know words,” she said, pausing to take a deep breath and struggling to compose herself, “can never be enough, and they can never adequately describe how horribly I feel for all of this.”

She later added: “If I could give my life to get her back I would. I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth’s mother, Patty Preiss, who on the first day of Bustamante’s sentencing hearing called her an “evil monster” and declared “I hate her,” sat silently, staring forward as Bustamante’s finished her apology.

Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce then sentenced Bustamante to the maximum possible sentence for second-degree murder — life in prison with the possibility of parole. She ordered the teenager to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action, a charge resulting from her use of a knife to slit the throat and stab Elizabeth after she had strangled her into unconsciousness.

Elizabeth’s family declined to comment about the sentencing, as did Bustamante’s family.

There were no immediate indications that Bustamante planned to appeal the sentence.

Bustamante originally had been charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty last month to the lesser charges to avoid a trial and the possibility of spending her life in an adult prison with no chance of release.

Bustamante was 15 years old at the time of Elizabeth’s murder in the small town of St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City. Evidence presented during her hearing revealed that Bustamante had dug a shallow grave in the woods several days in advance, then used her younger sister to lure Elizabeth out of her home with an invitation to play. Bustamante, who had hidden a knife in a backpack, said she had a surprise for Elizabeth in the forest. The surprise turned out to be her demise.

During her two-day sentencing hearing, prosecutors referred repeatedly to an entry Bustamante wrote in her journal on Oct. 21, 2009 — the night of Elizabeth’s death — in which she admitted to having just killed someone.

“I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead,” Bustamante wrote in her diary, which was read in court by a handwriting expert. “I don’t know how to feel atm. 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 though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now…lol.”

Bustamante then left for a youth dance at a Mormon church her family attended while hundreds of volunteers began a two-day hunt for the dead girl. Although she initially lied to authorities about Elizabeth’s whereabouts, Bustamante eventually confessed to police and led them to Elizabeth’s leaf-covered shallow grave.

Defenses attorneys had argued for leniency after presenting evidence from family members and mental health experts about Bustamante’s troubled childhood. Bustamante was born to teenage, drug-abusing parents; her father was imprisoned and her mother abandoned her, leaving her in the legal custody of her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt on Labor Day 2007 as she was starting eighth grade, Bustamante was prescribed the antidepressant Prozac. Her dosage had been increased just two weeks before Elizabeth’s death. A defense psychiatrist testified that the medication could have made Bustamante moodier and more violent and contributed to the murder — a theory rejected by a different psychiatrist testifying for prosecutors.

Charlie Moreland, one of Bustamante’s attorneys, described the sentence imposed Wednesday as “a harsh punishment.”

“This was a child who had been spiraling out of control, but has treatable conditions,” Moreland said.

Under Missouri guidelines, Bustamante would have to serve 35 years and 5 months in prison before she is eligible for parole, said Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Cline. It’s also possible that the more than two years Bustamante spent in jail while awaiting her sentencing could be counted toward that time.

After spending several weeks at a diagnostic prison, Bustamante could be placed in either one of Missouri’s two female prisons or sent out of state. Cline said department officials also would evaluate whether Bustamante should be kept separate from other adult woman inmates.

More coverage including video footage