Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Alyssa Bustamante and the Murder of Elizabeth Olten

The Murder and Confession

Elizabeth Olten
Elizabeth Olten

When Elizabeth Olten left to go home, she'd been playing with Alyssa Bustamante's half-sister, who lived a few doors down. The six-year old and the nine-year old pals hung out, and then, when Olten started her journey home, she was allegedly diverted by Bustamante who called Olten on her cell phone, and redirected her back to Bustamante's house.

Allegedly, Bustamante had then led Olten into the woods. Olten, who was afraid of the dark, would have trusted the older teenthey played together and were friends. But, Olten couldn't have anticipated that she would be brutally killedslashed on the neck and arms and then fatally stabbed.

The young girl's body was found in a grave; Bustamante admitted to digging two graves a week before the murders, giving rise to speculation that her twin brothers were the original intended victims. But a detail from the press conference gave people further pause. When Cole Country prosecutor Mark Richardson was asked why there were two graves, and whether one or both graves had been used for Elizabeth, he said only: "No, I can't tell you that right now."

Alyssa Bustamante
Alyssa Bustamante

The autopsy revealed that Olten had been strangled, her throat and wrists had been slashed and she'd been stabbed.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice said that Bustamante's motive was simple and terrifying. "Ultimately," Rice told the AP, "she stated she wanted to know what it felt like."

After the murder, a friend of Bustamante's came forward, saying that Bustamante had told her that she wanted to know what committing a murder would be like.

Jennifer Meyer went on KMOV in St. Louis: "I was at her party, and she kind of just took me off to the side randomly and she's like, 'You know, I wonder what it would be like to kill somebody,' because I guess she was mad at one of her friends there, but it just seemed kind of strange," Meyer said. "But you wouldn't logically think one of your friends would kill somebody."