Exclusive: Look Back at Olten Murder, Bustamante Case

5 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Sunday, February 05 2012 Feb 5, 2012 Sunday, February 05, 2012 3:24:00 PM CST February 05, 2012 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus
loading

COLE COUNTY - The sentencing of 17-year-old Alyssa Bustamante this week will end a two-year case that began when a nine-year-old Cole County girl disappeared on Oct. 21, 2009.  Bustamante will appear at the Cole County Courthouse Monday at 9 a.m. in Judge Patricia Joyce's private courtroom, where testimony from the prosecution will commence.  Defense Attorney Donald Catlett has indicated family members of Bustamante's victim will provide "victim-impact" evidence--describing the traumatic ordeal that put the small Cole County town of St. Martins into the national spotlight.

On October 21, nine-year-old Elizabeth Olten disappeared while walking home from a neighbor's house on Lomo Drive.  A family friend said Olten's mother knew something was wrong when her daughter was late for dinner, as she was afraid of walking through the woods in the dark.  Authorities, family friends and Cole County residents participated in a two-day search through the county's wooded terrain.  On Oct. 23, Cole County Sheriff Greg White received a tip that led authorities to a suspect--then-15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante, whose house Olten was believed to be playing at before she went missing.

Bustamante led authorities to the body, found in one of two shallow graves behind a barn farther down the street.  Juvenile authorities charged Bustamante with first-degree murder on Oct. 28, the same day as Olten's funeral, but she later pleaded not guilty.  The prosecution lost what could have been critical evidence when Judge Joyce discarded Bustamante's confession as evidence.  According to a court order, a juvenile officer used "deceptive tactics" in interrogating the girl. 

Prosecuting attorney Mark Richardson cancelled Bustamante's scheduled trial on Jan. 31 of this year when he offered the teenager a plea deal on Jan. 10.  Bustamante pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.  In her sentencing, set for Monday and Tuesday, she faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison with parole.  In pursuing the minimum sentence, her attorney has indicated he plans to give the judge an idea of "who Alyssa is" by detailing her family background and recent mental evaluations.

Catlett confirmed Bustamante was on the anti-depressant drug Prozac since a 2007 suicide attempt.  Her father, Ceasar Bustamante, currently is in a Missouri prison serving three concurrent terms for felony assault.  Court records confirm her mother, Michelle Bustamante, has a history of misdemeanor convictions for drunken driving and marijuana possession.  Since she was seven years old, Alyssa Bustamante has been in the custody of her grandmother Karen Brooke. 

The judge could impose a sentence as soon as testimony ends on Tuesday.  Catlett said once sentenced, the state will gain custody of Bustamante, and she will be transferred to a high-security women's correctional facility in Vandalia or Chillicothe.  She must serve 85 percent of the given sentence for the homicide charge before the possibility of parole.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens made his first public appearance in nearly two weeks since acknowledging an... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 6:20:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON - It took three days, but Congress has passed a spending bill to end the government shutdown. If... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 5:50:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Eric Greitens addressed his affair for the first time in a news conference while announcing the... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 5:15:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he wants a change in state law so that... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 4:44:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
FORSYTH, Mo. — One of two suspects in the death of a 72-year-old Missouri man who was left beaten and... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 4:41:04 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
MOBERLY, Mo. — A Missouri paramedic is accused of burglarizing a patient's home and stealing medication from another home. ... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 4:38:29 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia residents got their say Monday night on how to make zero traffic-related fatalities a reality. Residents... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 2:59:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – An expert in infectious diseases said viruses like the common cold survive well on surfaces and inanimate objects,... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 2:36:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Gun shop owners and gun buyers had no problem buying or selling a gun during the government shutdown.... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 1:35:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
NEW MADRID (AP) — A southeast Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for strangling his... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 12:57:00 PM CST January 22, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle (all times local): 12:55 p.m. It looks... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 11:58:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police responded to a reported armed robbery just after midnight Tuesday in the 1600 block of Kitty... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 9:55:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A violent weekend in St. Louis has left two people dead and four others injured in... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an officer has shot and killed a suburban Kansas City teenager while responding... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 7:16:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say a 9-year-old has been fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire in Kansas City.... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 7:00:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
LAKE WALES, Fla. (CNN) -- Two improvised explosive devices detonated at a Florida mall on Sunday that has left police... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 5:58:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Eric Greitens will release his budget recommendations for 2019 at 4 p.m. Monday. A press... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, January 21 2018 Jan 21, 2018 Sunday, January 21, 2018 10:24:00 PM CST January 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some say, the summer body is made in the winter, and Clovers Natural Market is hoping a clean... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, January 21 2018 Jan 21, 2018 Sunday, January 21, 2018 7:32:00 PM CST January 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
11pm 32°
12am 31°
1am 31°
2am 30°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
10:00p
Seinfeld
10:30p
Rules of Engagement
11:00p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Better Late Than Never
9:00p
The Brave
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Valor
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld