Exclusive: Look Back at Olten Murder, Bustamante Case

6 years 3 months 1 week 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
CAMDEN COUNTY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol has released the identities of the three people killed and the two... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:42:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Children in Columbia have a chance to get paid to play. Columbia Parks and Recreation started its... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:10:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on the crash in Cuba of a passenger jet with 113 people on board (all... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 5:23:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Over 90 people showed up at the Burr Oak Brewery for an afternoon of puppies, yoga and beer... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 4:50:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Although it is nowhere near Halloween, some Columbia runners faced their fears by participating in a zombie-themed 5K... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:12:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The city of Columbia has been ranked a top-ten affordable college town to live in by realtor.com. Factors... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 10:41:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Mississippi River is above flood stage at several northeast Missouri locations, but forecasters do... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 9:29:44 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in Continuous News
(CNN) -- And they're married! Britain's Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle were wed Saturday at Windsor... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:09:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The United states is experiencing one of the lowest birth rates in 30 years, according to the Centers for... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 9:08:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Attorney General Josh Hawley says attorneys helping Gov. Eric Greitens through impeachment proceedings are acting improperly. "By... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 8:34:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The annual Backyard Concert Series kicks off Saturday evening at the Jefferson Landing Historic site. Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 6:45:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY –Missourians will soon be able to keep a little more money from their paychecks, after a state House... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 6:33:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
MADISON (AP) — A Columbia man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for a shooting death... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:40:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
WARSAW (AP) — Authorities say the police chief of a western Missouri town was wounded after a 16-year-old boy shot... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:24:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led Legislature approved tax cuts for both individuals and corporations Friday and sent a gas-tax... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:18:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Local veterans return home from combat having experienced things average citizens could not even imagine. Douglas Wilbur,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:17:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A permanent fix begins this weekend on a main Jefferson City road that has been bogged down... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 3:58:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA- Former officer Rob Sanders' case against the city came to a close Friday. For the last seven years, Sanders... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
6am 62°
7am 63°
8am 66°
9am 68°