Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Alyssa Bustamante and the Murder of Elizabeth Olten

A Tale of Two Girls

Elizabeth Olten
Elizabeth Olten
45 minutes: That's how long Elizabeth Olten was missing before her mother called the police.

That's how long it took Alyssa Bustamante, 15, allegedly to kill her first murder victim, her neighbor Olten.

The most shocking thing of all? Alyssa Bustamante's youth was trumped by her victim's: Elizabeth Olten was only 9.

According to friends, family and neighbors, Olten was all sweetness and light, a little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice, who loved cats, the color pink, and was a real girly girl.

Alyssa Bustamante
Alyssa Bustamante
She had long medium-brown hair, wide-set eyes, and was described a shy girl who "was afraid of the dark and would not normally have gone into the woods," according to the AP, making her disappearance more ominous.

Peggy Florence spoke on behalf of the family: "She was somebody special. They call her a girlie girl. She would be outside in the snow or in the mud in her frilly little dress."Looking at photos from Bustamante's now-defunct Facebook page, one sees a girl hardened beyond her years; pale blue eyes rimmed with heavy black eyeliner, straightened bangs hanging in her eyes and a defiant pout, chin stuck out at the camera. Even in two dimensions, she had attitude and charisma to burn. Like many troubled teens, she was labeled a Goth. In an alternate life, she might have been a star; in this one, she may be one of the most shocking teenage murderers, yet.

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