This 15-Year-Old Brutally Murdered Her 9-Year-Old Neighbor
Alyssa strangled the nine-year-old, slit her throat and proceeded to stab her in the chest multiple times.
At the age of 15 years, Alyssa Bustamante was convicted for the murder of her 9-year-old neighbor Elizabeth Olten. In a chilling series of events, Alyssa strangled the nine-year-old, slit her throat and proceeded to stab her in the chest multiple times. What led to this unfathomable act cannot be explained, but the troubled life of the teen gives us an insight into the mind of one of the most apathetic killers in the history of America.
Life of the notorious 15-year-old murderer
Alyssa Bustamante was born to teenage parents in January of 1994. Her mother, Michelle, who was only fifteen when she had Alyssa, struggled with substance abuse, and her father, Caesar, was a convicted felon. Alyssa is one of four children, raised in a turbulent household, with parents moving frequently. At the age of nine years, she moved in with her grandparents along with her younger brother. Eventually, custody of all four siblings was achieved by the grandparents and Alyssa, along with her siblings, moved to the small town of St. Martins, Missouri.
Alyssa’s teen years were streaked with edgy rebellion but nothing that would even remotely explain the events of 21st October 2009. According to friends and family, Alyssa would cut her hair in bangs, sporting a prominent eyeliner, red lipstick smudged like blood and dark nail paint and would frequently indulge in gory makeup.
Alyssa had multiple social media profiles that she frequently operated, including a YouTube channel called OkamiKage (Japanese for “Wolf shadow”). Amongst other videos, one particularly caught the eye of the investigators in the Elizabeth Olten murder case. This video was titled “Idiots getting electrocuted by electric fence”. In it, Alyssa is seen urging her younger brothers, nine years old at the time, to touch an electric fence, knowing full well that they were going to get hurt. At this point, the video is captioned
Her words are a testament to her inner turmoil that was being neglected at that time.
Alyssa’s turbulent teen years resulted in self-harming tendencies. She was reported to have multiple self-inflicted cuts on her body and also cigarette burn marks. In 2007, Alyssa was rushed to the hospital for a Tylenol overdose. She had carved the word “HATE” on her arm and was brought to the ER in a bloodied state. This attempt at her own life led Alyssa’s grandparents to seek professional help for their granddaughter.
Elizabeth Olten, a life cut short
Elizabeth Olten, the nine-year-old neighbor of Alyssa, is described by her mother as a sweet girly girl, who loved to play with other children, an active, fun-loving child.
21st October 2009 was just another day in the Olten household; little did they know that what was about to happen would change the trajectory of their lives. According to Elizabeth’s mother, Patty, Elizabeth was preparing for a school rehearsal when the doorbell rang. Elizabeth’s friend and neighbor, six-year-old Emma, was at the door, asking for Elizabeth to come out and play. Patty was reluctant to let her daughter go, but upon the insistence of the little girls, she let her go on the condition that Elizabeth was to return home by 6 pm. The two girls rushed out happily, oblivious to the fate that awaited them.
The unfortunate night
Knowing her daughter’s fear of the dark, Patty felt something was not right as her daughter hadn’t returned by the decided time. The family went out to look for the nine-year-old, but she was nowhere to be found. A mother’s instinct kicked in, and the authorities were alerted. By night fall, 300 volunteers, in a town with a total population of 1100, went out looking for the missing child. Everyone could sense that something sinister was at play, but all hope was not yet lost. Sniffing dogs, diving teams, searching helicopters, in addition to the local volunteers and law enforcement agencies, everyone was on the lookout, but no sign of Elizabeth could be found.
Meanwhile, Sergeant David Rice, chief investigating officer on the case, continued questioning Elizabeth’s six-year-old friend, Emma. After some time, Emma mentioned that she fell into the bushes and called out for her half-sister Alyssa to help her. This was the first time, a person other than the two girls was mentioned in relation to the disappearance. Upon questioning, Alyssa was calm and cooperative, and she maintained that she was unaware of the whereabouts of Elizabeth. Naturally, the fifteen-year-old was not considered a suspect and the search continued.
Elizabeth’s phone, which she always carried with her, was tracked to an unknown location in the forest. Investigating teams and volunteers reached the location and found something peculiar. A small hole, that appeared to be a grave was dug in the middle of the forest. This unexplained and unsettling finding harrowed the already concerned residents of St Martins. At this point Detective Rice overheard Alyssa say that she had dug the grave. When the detective asked her about it, she dismissed him by saying that she likes to dig things and bury dead animals. Was there more to this fifteen-year-old than meets the eye? A question that began to haunt Detective Rice.
The hunt for the murderer of St Martin’s sweetheart
The curious agent went on to further look into Alyssa’s life. The FBI, that was also involved at this point, obtained search warrants for Alyssa’s house. Findings of the teen’s room were disturbing, to say the least, but the one thing that would soon be the most crucial and incriminating piece of evidence in this harrowing case was Alyssa’s journal. Sinister content of the journal was alarming in and of itself, but the entry dated 9th October gave the detective all that he needed to get the truth out of the fifteen-year-old.
Detective David Rice, on confirmation of his suspicions, armed with evidence, interrogated Alyssa Bustamante. Alyssa tried to maintain her stance, but soon realized that she had been cornered and cannot lie her way out of this anymore. She confessed to the slitting, strangulation and stabbing of Elizabeth Holten. Alyssa added that she had dug two graves in the middle of the forest a day before. She then asked her half-sister Emma to invite Elizabeth out to play. Once Elizabeth had left the safety of her house, Alyssa took the nine-year-old by the hand, led her into the woods where she had dug the graves, strangled the helpless child, stabbed her in the chest six to seven times with a kitchen knife and slit her throat. She led the detectives to the grave, where the poorly buried body of Elizabeth Holten was found, just inches beneath the ground. Autopsy reports confirmed Alyssa’s testimony word by word.
Disturbing confession of the teen killer, describes it as “ahmazing”
Of all the gruesome details of the case, the most haunting and chilling is the teen’s remorseless, unabashed confession. Of that day, she writes,
“I just f***ing killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel atm (at the moment). It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the ‘ohmygawd I can’t do this’ feeling, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’m kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now…lol.”
This is a 15-year-old, troubled beyond her years, with unimaginably sick fantasies, admitting to the brutal murder of her 9-year-old neighbor, describing it as “ahmazing”, expressing no guilt whatsoever, rather deriving some a sick pleasure and thrill from all of this.
The case of the mysterious disappearance of a nine-year-old in the quiet small town of St Martins was solved, but the case of the ruthless murder of a child by a troubled teenage neighbor had just begun.
Trial and sentencing
Alyssa Bustamante was initially charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, to which she pled “not guilty” despite her confession. In January 2012, she was convicted on the charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Alyssa expressed remorse over her actions during her trial, apologizing to Elizabeth’s family, contrary to her initial statements and the confession itself. She was analyzed by multiple health professionals and was diagnosed with several conditions, including borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder.
The world remains horrified over the unfortunate and sudden ending of the lovely Elizabeth Holten’s short life. Meanwhile, numerous online groups, to this day, express solidarity with Alyssa Bustamante, justifying her actions and going so far as to hail her as their hero. Whatever the public opinion is, Elizabeth Holten’s memories continue to haunt the people of St. Martins, Missouri.