Exclusive: Look Back at Olten Murder, Bustamante Case

7 years 6 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
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri election officials are defending how they handled a petition to put new abortion restrictions... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:32:57 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri police arrested a man Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly exposed himself to a woman, then... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:09:48 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — UPDATE: Police have found the body Sylvia Ussery-Pearson, according to our sister station KSHB . ... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:55:00 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 37-year-old Missouri man is charged with kidnapping the 4-year-old daughter of a woman whose body... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:39:20 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — An attorney says a 74-year-old woman is lucky to be alive after a Missouri police officer... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:13:00 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered sweeping changes to how Missouri's parole board treats prisoners sentenced... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:10:53 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa-based grocery store chain is warning customers about what it says is a... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 8:16:00 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — UPDATE: Troopers have cancelled an endangered SILVER advisory issued Wednesday. the man is home and safe. ... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:08:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Licensed at-home day care providers met Wednesday, Aug. 14 to voice their concerns with Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch.... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:18:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia population increased today as college students started to move back for the school year. More people... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 5:48:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia dog owners shouldn't worry much about blue-green algae because there has been only one incident in 30... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 2:41:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Owners of McLanks restaurant are cleaning up after someone shattered a window overnight. "We don't have any... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:46:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A case about the University of Missouri system's restriction on employees having concealed firearms on campus started its... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:10:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed a stalking charge against a former Hickman High School choir director on Friday. The charge... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 12:58:00 PM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Flames and smoke will come from Columbia Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon, but it will all be part of... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, August 14 2019 Aug 14, 2019 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 7:13:00 AM CDT August 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Booches gets the number one spot for best college town food. That's according to Sports Illustrated. Sports... More >>
4 days ago Tuesday, August 13 2019 Aug 13, 2019 Tuesday, August 13, 2019 7:25:00 PM CDT August 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Authorities are investigating after a body was found in a Saline County lake Tuesday. A local conservation... More >>
4 days ago Tuesday, August 13 2019 Aug 13, 2019 Tuesday, August 13, 2019 6:47:00 PM CDT August 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police arrested a man Tuesday after an on-foot pursuit. An officer saw a vehicle with no... More >>
4 days ago Tuesday, August 13 2019 Aug 13, 2019 Tuesday, August 13, 2019 3:52:00 PM CDT August 13, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 84°
8pm 84°
9pm 81°
10pm 81°
11pm 80°