Alyssa Bustamante is a young American girl convicted of a murder at the tender age of 15. More shocking was the age of her victim, her neighbour Elizabeth Olten, who was just 9 years old at the time of her murder. Alyssa was born and brought up in Cole, Missouri. She was born to her parents when they were young and drug addicts. They never looked after her and Alyssa was brought up by her grandparents. Her father spent most of his time in jail while his mother was an avid alcoholic. The traumatic family background and childhood left a long lasting impression on Alyssa’s psyche and she grew up to become a psychotic young girl. Ever since she was old enough to know what the word ‘suicide’ meant, she had tried to kill herself. Apart from that, she also tried to harm herself on many occasions by slicing her wrists and was on the depression pills. On October 21, 2009, Alyssa took her neighbour Elizabeth to the woods, strangled her, cut her throat and dug the body in the ground. She was subsequently subjected to 35 years in prison.
Childhood & Early Life
Alyssa Bustamante was born on January 28, 1994 in Cole, Missouri to drug-addict parents. She was a result of teenage pregnancy as both of her parents were teenagers when she was born. Furthermore, her mother had several police cases registered against her, such as theft and drug possession. Her father was even worse and he was doing his time in prison when Alyssa was born. She was then taken under the custody by her grandparents, who made sure that Alyssa leads a better life away from her biological parents,
But it did not work as well it should have. Alyssa was slowly growing up as a violent and depressed young girl. She behaved very weirdly unlike most girls of her age and that was a major cause of concern for her grandparents. She was taken to a psychologist who put her on an anti-depressant. Medications worked for a short time and just as she turned into a teenager, her behaviour became further more psychopathic.
She was a ‘cutter’, a person who seeks comfort and pleasure in self-harm. Alyssa slashed her wrist several times and the marks were very visible. She was also turning into a nihilistic kid with the word ‘hate’ as her tattoo and a motto for her life. She was also a social media addict and from time to time, she posted the pictures that were gothic in nature.
She was also quite active on YouTube and she uploaded video that were a cause of concern for her guardians. In one of the most shocking videos, she touches an electric fence and also persuades two of her younger brothers to do the same. The insanity portrayed in the video is one of the most concrete signs of her troubled mindset and her emotional fragility. She wrote on several of her Facebook posts that she wanted to know what death feels like.
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As some of her close friends from school told the police, Alyssa was a troubled but ‘fun’ girl. However, her fascination with murders had her friends being a little more careful whenever they were around her. She also exhibited weird behaviour in school which was taken by the school authorities as one of the many symptoms of clinical depression, for which she was being treated.
She had dug two graves near her house in preparation for the murder. The authorities later claimed that she had planned to kill both her younger brothers and hence, two graves. But the victim turned out to be a 9 years old neighbourhood girl named Elizabeth Olten. Alyssa must have tried several times to lure Elizabeth unsuccessfully.
On the night of October 21, 2009, Alyssa lured Elizabeth in after she told her that she had a gift for her. Little Elizabeth was unaware of her intentions and went with her. Alyssa took her to the woods where she had dug the grave and just as she found the opportunity to do so Alyssa strangled her. She also beat her up and then she took a sharp knife and slit her throat. She then dragged the body to one of the two graves that she had dug, put the body in and covered the grave with mud and leaves.
After the murder, she made an entry in her diary wherein she mentioned that the entire experience had been very thrilling for her. She also jotted down in her diary that she was anxious to do it at first but it felt ‘amazing’. Once she was done, she took a bath and went to a party with her parents in a local church.
Arrest & Trial
The family of the victim contacted the authorities about the disappearance of their daughter and a search party led by the police started looking around the neighbourhood. But in the earlier stages of the investigations, the police were unable to locate the girl and Alyssa smartly misled the police to another location.
The police even sent text messages on Elizabeth’s phone and got her location into the woods but they were never able to find her. They searched for hours, but the crime was committed very expertly by Alyssa.
But Alyssa was one of the suspects which were under police scrutiny and her psychotic behaviour in the past gave the authorities enough reasons to have Alyssa as a suspect and an investigation commenced on her. Just as the police suspected, it was found out that Elizabeth knew Alyssa very well. Everything came out in the open when the police got their hands on Alyssa’s diary where she had written quite a lot about her relationship with Elizabeth. When the police put pressure on Alyssa, she finally confessed to the murder and was taken in immediately.
Trial & Imprisonment
Although she was a minor during the time of the incident, the court decided that Alyssa Bustamante would be treated as an adult owing to the gruesome act she had committed. On November, 2009, she officially got convicted for the charges of a first degree murder. Although she had confessed to the crime herself in front of the police, she pleaded not-guilty and made way for a court-battle with the prosecution.
While the trial was ongoing, Alyssa exhibited many signs of depression and self-harm in the prison and was kept frequently under a suicide watch. Her lawyer ended up filing a notion, which stated that she must be taken to a psychiatric hospital and given sufficient treatment. In May 2011, the trial had to officially begin but it was delayed until 2012, by when she had turned into an adult.
In January 2012, the trial commenced where Alyssa pleaded guilty of a second degree murder and weapon possession. The psychologists brought into the court by the defence claimed that she was severely depressed and emotionally disturbed. She also broke down several times during the court proceedings. There was a time when she gave many emotional testimonies saying that she would give her own life if that could bring Elizabeth back.
But nothing seemed to work. Her grandparents even left her side during a court hearing as they stood up and walked out of the courtroom. This led Alyssa to cry profusely in the court. When the psychiatrists further claimed that she was suffering from a borderline personality disorder, the court gave her a sentence of life imprisonment with a possibility of parole. In order to qualify for probation, she would first have to spend at-least 35 years in prison.