Mother of Murdered Cole County Girl Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

3 years 5 months 4 weeks ago October 29, 2012 Oct 29, 2012 Monday, October 29 2012 Monday, October 29, 2012 7:13:00 PM CDT in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

COLE COUNTY - Just four days before the three-year anniversary of nine-year-old Elizabeth Olten's murder in St. Martins, Olten's mother filed a wrongful death suit against the girl's then-15-year-old killer, Alyssa Bustamante.  

The suit comes eight months after Judge Patricia Joyce sentenced Bustamante to life in prison with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder--a reduced sentence resulting from Bustamante's accepting of a plea bargain that subsequently yielded a three-day sentencing hearing in February.  

The petition alleges that Bustamante's former psychiatrist, counselor and the mental health care provider--Pathways Health Care--were negligent in failing to prevent foreseeable harm to Olten.  It also lists Bustamante, herself, as a defendant liable for damages.

At the sentencing hearing, lawsuit defendant and former Pathways counselor Ron Wilson testified as a defense witness, saying he worked with Bustamante both before and after her 2007 suicide attempt.  Of Bustamante, he said, "Harm to self is her history, not harm to others," and that committing a homicide would have been "completely out of character."  He also testified Pathways diagnosed the girl with major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  After Bustamante's arrest, he said he talked with her and "reminded her of her family's support, religious training and above all, to hang onto the fact that God loves her no matter what." 

The second Pathways employee named in the suit, psychiatrist Niger Sultana, M.D., also treated Bustamante, and witnesses at the hearing testified she was responsible for prescribing the girl her Prozac medication.

KOMU 8's calls to Pathways confirmed both Wilson and Sultana no longer are employed at the clinic.  A receptionist at the company's corporate offices disclosed Sultana left in January 2010--three months after Olten's murder.

This lawsuit comes two months after Bustamante's filing of a post-conviction appeal, which Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson said still is in its early stages of the legal procedure.  He said a judge has granted the defense more time to file an amended motion and to obtain a transcript of testimony from the sentencing hearing.  He confirmed the granting of an appeal relies on whether the court had jurisdiction, whether the defendant (now deemed a movant) had effective assistance of counsel or whether the court made a constitutional error in the case that had an impact on her guilty plea. Richardson said he could not predict a time frame in which proceedings involving the appeal would ensue, but he did confirm he has no involvement in the wrongful death lawsuit.

Bustamante's trial attorney and public defender Donald Catlett told KOMU 8 he no longer represents Bustamante.  KOMU 8's calls to her new attorney, Gary Brotherton, went unreturned.

 

 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - You could be paying more in taxes than your neighbor and not even know it. Special tax... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:47:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Bikers, walkers, runners and hikers have a new trail at their disposal in Columbia. The Grindstone Creek... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:40:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The leader of Missouri's House said he doesn't expect there will be an effort to revive... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:39:51 PM CDT in News
MALTA BEND (AP) — A group of excavators has found the 175-year-old sunken steamboat Malta, the namesake of the rural... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:32:11 PM CDT in News
SUNSET HILLS (AP) — A prosecutor's spokesman said the remains of a suburban St. Louis woman who had been missing... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:27:00 PM CDT in News
BRIDGETON (AP) — The U.S. government said the owner of a burning suburban St. Louis landfill near buried radioactive waste... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:24:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A measure to allow beer-makers to lease coolers to stores to keep drinks frosty has passed... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:16:25 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- Drivers at the intersection of Forum Boulevard and Green Meadows Road could soon have a different route. Columbia's... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Parents could have one more form to sign before their kid heads to the batting cages. A... More >>
11 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:07:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State Senator Dan Brown, R-Rolla, is dropping out of the race for state treasurer. Brown said... More >>
12 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:02:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A group of freshmen students from Parkway South High School in St. Louis won the 18 th annual... More >>
12 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 6:48:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA – Patriot Place opened less than a month ago, giving some veterans a place to call home. But... More >>
12 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 6:28:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - In the same week Gov. Jay Nixon signed a Higher Education budget bill into law, the state's Coordinating... More >>
13 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 5:45:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Following the restoration of the University of Missouri's budget for the 2017 fiscal year, Rep. Courtney Allen... More >>
13 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 5:09:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri was one of a few states to receive a perfect AAA credit rating from all three independent... More >>
14 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 4:34:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A new report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) put Missouri among states with some of... More >>
15 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:30:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The campaign committee for Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has given a Missouri children's group $11,000 —... More >>
15 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Gov. Jay Nixon signed a $1.3 billion higher education budget yesterday, which will enact a tuition freeze for... More >>
15 hours ago April 28, 2016 Apr 28, 2016 Thursday, April 28 2016 Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:09:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
8am 53°
9am 56°
10am 59°
11am 62°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
6:30a
Are We There Yet?
7:00a
Intelligence for Your Life
7:30a
Cops Reloaded

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon
8:00p
Grimm
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries
8:00p
The Originals
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld