Exclusive: Look Back at Olten Murder, Bustamante Case

4 years 9 months 4 weeks ago February 05, 2012 Feb 5, 2012 Sunday, February 05 2012 Sunday, February 05, 2012 3:24:00 PM CST in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

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
COLUMBIA- A film about the life of a Missouri artist and politician was shown for free on Saturday. "The... More >>
1 hour ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 6:09:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Stephen Webber has been elected as the new Chair of the Missouri Democratic Party on Saturday. “The... More >>
3 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 4:12:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - People came to celebrate Kwanzaa early this year at the Progressive Missionary Baptist on Saturday. The African-American... More >>
3 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 4:05:00 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Missouri woman faces 12 years in federal prison for leading a fraud scheme. The U.S.... More >>
4 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:29:38 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Over 40 local authors showed off their work and networked with other writers at the Local Authors Open... More >>
5 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 2:55:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Around 10 a.m. Saturday, a man driving his car northbound near Highway 63 and Stadium flipped over. No... More >>
8 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 11:38:33 AM CST in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have struggled to find a way to pay for repairs along thousands of miles... More >>
9 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 10:59:00 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri is seeing a startling decline in methamphetamine lab seizures, but it isn't because users are... More >>
9 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 10:50:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Women's Symphony League kicked off the annual Holiday Home Tour, which is its biggest fundraiser of the... More >>
15 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 4:12:00 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY- The Jefferson City Fire Department responded to reports of smoke coming from a building in the 200 block... More >>
16 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:57:00 AM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Following the election of Donald Trump, some students gathered for what they called a "positivity event". KOMU sent... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 7:05:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are proposing bills that would make attacking a law enforcement officer a hate crime.... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:51:13 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are proposing bills that would make Missouri a right-to-work state. The Springfield News-Leader... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:46:41 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former Kansas City, Missouri, man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:23:47 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Nixon and his wife Georganne kicked off the holiday season in the state's capital with Friday's... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:36:00 PM CST in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — A Missouri man who spent eight years behind bars for murder has been acquitted in a... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:26:56 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities said fireworks that were mistaken for gunshots led to a standoff near Rockhurst University. ... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:09:14 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The former general manager of a suburban St. Louis car dealership is accused of defrauding the... More >>
1 day ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:05:38 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
8pm 40°
9pm 39°
10pm 39°
11pm 39°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
It's a Wonderful Life
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:29p
Saturday Night Live
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
It's a Wonderful Life
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld