Exclusive: Look Back at Olten Murder, Bustamante Case

4 years 6 months 3 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
ST. LOUIS — Building inspectors are taking a close look at a downtown St. Louis structure after a large chunk... More >>
50 minutes ago August 30, 2016 Aug 30, 2016 Tuesday, August 30 2016 Tuesday, August 30, 2016 9:10:11 AM CDT in News
SIKESTON - The Missouri State Highway Patrol issued an endangered person advisory for a 14-year-old girl who was last seen... More >>
12 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 9:21:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Speed limits along Providence Road may soon change, depending on the results of MoDOT’s upcoming speed study. ... More >>
13 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 8:30:00 PM CDT in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Prosecutors said a Florida man has been charged with trying to bribe three Missouri State Highway... More >>
14 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 7:18:12 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The MU Faculty Council will hold a meeting Tuesday to discuss a new proposed policy with students, staff... More >>
15 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 6:40:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A new law went into effect Sunday that now requires students across the state of Missouri to say... More >>
15 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 6:10:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A Cybersecurity Summit will be held Tuesday to educate people on cyber threats, how to identify best practices... More >>
16 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 5:15:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Lester Turilli (right), the Independent candidate for Missouri Governor, held a press conference outside the State Capitol... More >>
17 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 4:13:00 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD - A Sedalia man on supervised release after spending time in prison for receiving and possessing child pornography might... More >>
18 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 3:11:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDENTON - Firefighters found two bodies after a mobile home fire in Camdenton this morning. Due to the suspicious circumstances... More >>
18 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 3:04:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — A new bill went into effect Monday, modifying anti-bullying policies in schools across Missouri. HB 1583 is... More >>
19 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 2:01:00 PM CDT in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — Authorities say a body found last week in the Missouri River was that of a 24-year-old... More >>
21 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 12:44:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A transgender inmate is suing the Missouri prison system for refusing to provide hormone therapy as... More >>
21 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 12:40:59 PM CDT in News
FULTON — Two Fulton schools were placed on lockdown Monday morning after the Fulton Police Department received a call from... More >>
21 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 12:19:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police are searching for suspects after a Molotov cocktail was tossed into the SUV... More >>
22 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 11:38:56 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man is charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of his son.... More >>
22 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 11:34:42 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri auditor says the Republican-led House and Senate should be more transparent and should stop... More >>
23 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 10:59:02 AM CDT in News
PORTAGE DES SIOUX (AP) — The pilot of an ultralight, experimental airplane is shaken but OK after a crash landing... More >>
23 hours ago August 29, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 Monday, August 29 2016 Monday, August 29, 2016 10:54:59 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 81°
11am 82°
12pm 84°
1pm 85°
2pm 86°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Crazy Talk
10:30a
Crazy Talk

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
Better Late Than Never
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
MADtv
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld