Olten murder suspect certified as adult

Alyss Bustamante profile picture from facebook

Juvenile court authorities decided to charge a 15-year-old murder suspect as an adult at a certification hearing Wednesday morning.

Alyssa Bustamante, of St. Martins, Mo., is charged with first degree murder of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

Olten TMs body was found Friday, Oct. 23 in the woods behind her home in the rural mid-Missouri town. Olten went missing walking home from a friend TMs home on Wednesday, Oct. 21. That evening started a three day search with over a hundred volunteers, K-9 units and a helicopter.

Olten was visiting Bustamante TMs home when her family reported her missing. Bustamante lived down the street from the Olten family.

Police found the body after written evidence led police to Bustamante. Bustamante, after talking to the police, took them where the body was concealed in the woods.

Highway Patrol Criminal Investigator Sgt. David Rice said that there were two graves dug on the Friday, Oct. 16, the week before Olten TMs death. Police are not releasing information on who the other grave was for. Bustamante had a chance to dig the graves because there was no school that day for parent teacher conferences.

Rice also said that during the investigation Bustamante said she wanted to know what it felt like.

Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson said that fact that Cole County Sheriff Greg White wants first degree murder charges shows that White believes Olten TMs murder was premeditated.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that the crime was serious and vicious and the state had no adequate facilities or services to treat the teenage suspect if she were to remain in the juvenile court system.

However, Bustamante could still become eligible for treatment through the Missouri TMs Division of Youth Services.

"You'd have to have a certification and you'd have to have a finding of guilt," Juvenile Court Lawyer Samantha Green said, "and conviction in the adult courts for dual jurisdiction."

The judge heard recommendations from juvenile court authorities and weighed the specifics of the crime against Missouri TMs ten criteria to charge a juvenile as an adult:

  • Seriousness of offense and consideration of public safety if suspect should be transferred to general jurisdiction
  • Whether the offense involved vicious force and violence
  • Whether the offense was against a person or property, with greater weight given to offenses against a person, especially if personal injury resulted.
  • Was the offense was part of a repetitive pattern of offenses, where the child may be beyond rehabilitation under the juvenile code.
  • The record and history of the child in juvenile system and other courts will be considered
  • The sophistication and maturity of the child as determined by considering home, other environmental and emotional conditions and pattern of living.
  • Age of the child
  • Consider the programs available to the juvenile system.
  • Whether or not the child will benefit from treatment or rehabilitation programs available to the court.
  • Racial disparity and certification.
  • Bustamante was immediately arrested on an adult charge of first-degree murder following the judge's ruling.

    Bustamante has been in juvenile court custody since she was arrested on Oct. 23.

    Bustamante has a history of mental illness. She attempted suicide in September 2007. Since then, Bustamante has been under treatment.

    Bustamante attended Jefferson City High School. School friends said that she was nice and they do not understand what would have caused her to commit this crime. The high school principal testified that Bustamante was a sophomore with A and B grades who rarely missed school.

    An adult arraignment is scheduled for today at 1 p.m.

    After the hearing Green said she hopes the Olten family is doing well.

    "I would hope that the public would remember Elizabeth for who she was and not remember her for the crime that was committed upon her, and I wish her family well," Green said.