The Murder of Elizabeth Olten

Killed to See How It Felt

(left) Alyssa Bustamante (right) Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante Mug Shot / Olten Family Photo

On Wednesday Oct. 21, 2009, Elizabeth Olten disappeared while walking home from a friend's home about a quarter-mile from her house. A massive search by hundreds of volunteers turned up no trace of the nine-year-old. Police found her body in a shallow grave in the woods after interviewing a 15-year-old female neighbor of Olten.


Oct. 16, 2009:
A week before the murder of Elizabeth Olten, Alyssa Bustamante digs two graves in the woods behind the Olten home.

Oct. 21, 2009:
Bustanmante tells her younger sister to invite Olten over to play. Near sun down, Olten heads home, which is less than a quarter-mile walk. Bustamante lures Olten into the woods and then kills her by stabbing, strangling, and cutting her throat. When Olten fails to return home, her mother calls the police. She has been missing since 6:15 p.m. The police set up a command center and search for Olten through the night.

Oct. 22, 2009:
Over 300 volunteers begin searching for Elizabeth Olten. They focus the search in the woods behind Olten's home. This is where the last signal from her phone was picked up. The FBI joins the investigation. The police continue into the night checking cars and handing out fliers. The Olten family makes a public plea Elizabeth's safe return.

Oct. 23, 2009:
The body of Elizabeth Olten is found a few yards behind her home. Police announce that a juvenile suspect showed them where her body was located.

Oct. 27, 2009:
Alyssa Bustamante, 15, is charged with first-degree murder of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

Current Developments

Bustamante Denied New Trial
March 10, 2014
A judge has denied the appeal of Alyssa Bustamante who pleaded guilty to killing Elizabeth Olten and burying her in the woods.

Previous Developments

Thrill-Kill Teen Gets Life

8, 2012
A teenage girl who once faced first-degree murder charges for killing a 9-year-old neighbor has agreed to a plea deal that gives her hope of one day being paroled.

Judge Orders Out-of-Town Jury for Bustamante
Feb. 16, 2010
A Missouri judge has decided to select a jury from outside Cole County to hear the first-degree murder trial of a teenager who is accused of killing a 9-year-old neighbor.

Teen Pleads Not Guilty to Killing 9-Year-Old
Dec. 12, 2009
The attorney for 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante entered a not guilty plea to first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the death of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

Teen Charged as Adult in Elizabeth Olten Case
Nov. 18, 2009
Alyssa Bustamante, 15, faces first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges for the death of Elizabeth Olten.

15-Year-Old Female Arrested in Girl's Murder
Oct. 27, 2009
A 15-year-old female has been arrested in the murder of a 9-year-old Missouri girl who disappeared a week ago.

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Your Citation
Montaldo, Charles. "The Murder of Elizabeth Olten." ThoughtCo, Jun. 18, 2014, Montaldo, Charles. (2014, June 18). The Murder of Elizabeth Olten. Retrieved from Montaldo, Charles. "The Murder of Elizabeth Olten." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).