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Murderous Children: Alyssa Bustamante (15) Brutally Murdered a 9-Year-Old Girl

Elizabeth Olten was beaten, strangled, and had her throat slit by Alyssa Bustamante

9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten.

9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten.

Her Hobby Was Murder

The face of a cold-blooded killer:  15 year old Alyssa Bustamante.

The face of a cold-blooded killer: 15 year old Alyssa Bustamante.

The helpless victim:  9 year old Elizabeth Olten.

The helpless victim: 9 year old Elizabeth Olten.

Preparing For Murder

When most teenagers have a Friday off school, they sleep in, maybe get together with friends, or bum around the house in pajamas all day. When 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante of Missouri had a Friday off from school, she spent the day digging two holes in the ground to be used as graves. Then she waited.

Alyssa went on with life as usual, she went to school, she hung out with friends; all the while just waiting for the perfect opportunity to murder. That opportunity came just 4 days later, on October 21st, 2009 in the evening, when her neighbour, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten was walking home from her friend's house.

Elizabeth was last seen at 6:15pm, when she left her friends house to go home, her house was only a few houses down. Elizabeth was never seen alive again. When she hadn't returned home, the family frantically began looking for her, and called police to report her missing around 7pm. Her family, knowing she was afraid of the dark, and would not have wandered off alone, grew increasingly worried. They knew that Elizabeth would not stay out after dark alone willingly, and they knew they needed to find her. What they didn't know was that it was already too late.

How Could a 15-Year-Old Girl Be a Cold Blooded Murderer?

Cold Blooded Murderer: Alyssa's mugshot.

Cold Blooded Murderer: Alyssa's mugshot.

Alyssa would eventually show her darker side, but were warning signs ignored?

Alyssa would eventually show her darker side, but were warning signs ignored?

Video of an Interview with Alyssa's Close Friend About Their Friendship

Video of Alyssa Encouraging Her Brothers To Touch An Electric Fence

What Happened & Why? "I Wanted To Know What It Felt Like To Kill Someone"

Alyssa, seeing that she finally had the opportunity to kill, took it. She grabbed Elizabeth Olten, beat her, strangled her, and finally, she stabbed her and slit her throat. She then dumped her body into one of the graves she had dug the week before in a nearby wooded area.

Police searched vigilantly for the little girl, including the area where her body would eventually be found, but they found no trace of her. They pinged Elizabeth's cellphone, and though it showed the location as being the woods where her body lay, the police searched the area without locating her, or her cell phone.

In the end, after a letter led police to Alyssa, she confessed. It was Alyssa herself who led police to the grave where the body of the brutally slain girl lay.


The why in this case is really simple, yet really complicated. The simple explanation given by Alyssa herself was that she wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. The psychological implications of that statement are obvious; normal, mentally stable people, even if they have ever wondered that question themselves, do not go and actually commit a murder in order to find out. What made Alyssa take decide to actually satisfy her curiosity? That answer is a little more complicated.

As usual, it was a case of hindsight. There were clues and warning signs that something was not right with Alyssa. Alyssa had shown signs of psychological problems in the past. She had attempted suicide numerous times, and she was on medication for depression. She had been given both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care after her last suicide attempt.  She was a "cutter"; someone who generally deals with emotional pain by cutting and inflicting physical pain on themselves, or self-mutilating. Her best friend, when interviewed, claims Alyssa had once told her that she wondered what it would be like to kill someone. (See right for video clip of her interview).

She had many online accounts, but it was noted on her YouTube account in particular that she listed her hobbies as "killing people" and "cutting". Her YouTube account also had what police considered some disturbing 'home movies', including one where she urges her brothers to touch an electrified cattle fence, after doing so herself. Before the clip involving her brothers, Alyssa writes "this is where it gets good; this is where my brothers get hurt". (See right for video clip).

In addition, neither of Alyssa's parents were around, and Alyssa was in the care of her grandparents. Alyssa was born to a teenage mother, who has a criminal record for petty crimes, drug possession, an a DUI. Alyssa's father is in prison serving a 10-year sentence for assault. Alyssa was described as violent, depressed, and angry. None of these things are an excuse for murder, but we as a society have to question whether something should have been done for Alyssa before this happened. If someone had stepped in, could we have prevented this vicious murder from occurring?

Police have speculated that the reason that Alyssa had dug not one, but two graves, was because she had planned to murder her two younger brothers, but had instead grabbed the opportunity to kill Elizabeth when it presented itself. They feel the YouTube video backs up this theory; she clearly took delight in inflicting pain on her brothers. While there has been no corroboration by Alyssa of this allegation, the question of why there were two graves dug is an interesting one, that we might never know the answer to. Did Alyssa have different targets in mind for her crimes? Would she have killed again, if she had not been caught the first time?

Her first hearing...

Alyssa Bustamante arriving in court for her hearing.

Alyssa Bustamante arriving in court for her hearing.

Alyssa Bustamante in the courtroom, where she initially pled "Not Guilty".

Alyssa Bustamante in the courtroom, where she initially pled "Not Guilty".

The Trial, Verdict & Sentencing

Alyssa was arrested, and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Elizabeth Olten. She appeared in court on November 17th, 2009, where the judge ruled that she should be tried as an adult. Despite her confession to the crime, as well as having led the police to Elizabeth's body, she has entered a plea of "Not Guilty". She is being held without bond.

While in custody, it has been reported that Alyssa has tried to harm herself by cutting herself with her own fingernails. It is said she has been exhibiting signs of anxiety and severe depression in jail, and has been under suicide watch. Due to a motion filed by her lawyer, she has been remanded to a psychiatric institution to undergo evaluation, and receive immediate psychiatric treatment.

A trial start date of May 16th, 2011 has been set for Alyssa Bustamante.  There, she will stand trial charged as an adult with first-degree murder for the horrific slaying of her young neighbour, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten.

Alyssa Finally Faces the Consequences...

Alyssa now faces life in prison.

Alyssa now faces life in prison.

UPDATE: February 8th, 2012

After previous issues that delayed the trial of Alyssa Bustamante, she was finally set to face the murder charges, with a trial due to start in January 30th, 2012. Instead, Alyssa pleaded guilty to the charge of 2nd degree murder and armed criminal action.

There was an audible gasp heard in the courtroom when the now 18-year-old Alyssa admitted to taking a knife to throat of Elizabeth Olten and slitting it, then strangling her with her bare hands afterward. Her defense team tried to offer a number of excuses for what cause Alyssa to perform this horrid, haunting act, including the fact that she was on the anti-depressant "Prozac" as being a contributor, which she had begun taking in 2007 after a suicide attempt, and had started an increased dosage just two weeks prior to Elizabeth's murder. They recounted a family history of drug abuse, suicide attempts, and mental disorders, and said that her mother had abandoned her and her father was in prison, to try to explain the mental state Alyssa was in when she brutally murdered Elizabeth Olten.

Psychologists for the defense described Alyssa as "psychologically damaged" and "severely emotionally disturbed". They testified that she suffers from Major Depression, and also displays symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, which is characterized by feelings of emptiness, instability of moods, inappropriate displays of anger, and poor impulse control. Though the details of Alyssa's mental stability were quite disturbing - she had previous suicide attempts, a history of self-harm including over 300 cuts on her body, as well as self-inflicted cigarette burn marks - the most disturbing, and the most damning evidence presented was a journal entry that Alyssa made in her diary after the murder. She wrote: "I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead. I don't know how to feel atm. 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."

After days of very emotional testimony in the court, Alyssa broke down and cried for the first time in over 2 years of court proceedings, while the prosecution was making an impassioned plea for the judge to give her a life sentence. Alyssa, who had been staring at the floor impassively while the prosecution recounted her crime, broke down when grandparents got upset and stormed out of the courtroom. Alyssa's grandparents were not the only ones to have an emotional breakdown; after the judge's announcement that he would hand down a sentence the next day, the grandmother of the victim, Elizabeth Olten, yelled out "I think Alyssa should get out of jail the same day Elizabeth gets out of the grave!".

On February 8th, 2012, Alyssa Bustamante gave a final statement before the judge handed down her sentence; "If I could give my life to bring her back, I would", Alyssa addressed the court, while family members of her victim, 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, wept, "I just want to say I'm sorry for what happened. I'm so sorry". She was then sentenced to life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole.


mog on June 01, 2020:

dam her. keep that demon in prison 4ever. R.I.P to the innocent victim elizabeth.

Sharon Schaeffer on March 25, 2020:

She knew what she did. It is common knowledge she knew it was wrong. She wrote it. No matter the age she should get death penalty. Eye for an eye...she should be tried as an adult. Be put away as an adult and suffer consequences as that poor innocent girl and her family.

No excuses.

Lisa Whittington on February 14, 2020:

Im kinda torn. On one hand she is a minor and has mental issues but on the other end she knew better. Should she have been tried as an adult? No. Should she be locked in the nuthouse? Absolutely. All the signs of mental illness is there. A cutter? Check. Anger issues? Check. On medicine for mental issues? Check. All signs point to mental illness. They believe the two graves were for the brothers. However she didnt kill them. Makes me think she decided not to kill the brothers cause in her heart she didnt wanna kill her family. Never tried to kill grandparents either. It seems she shows some kind emotion when it comes to family members. I believe the girl does feel emotion but the way she handled it was wrong. I can tell you exactly what will happen because the justice system is so wacky. She was 18 when she started her sentence. 8 years has passed that she served. I guarentee you that they are gonna let her go early. She probably will be let go soon on good behavior or an appeal. Shes not gonna serve the full sentence. They are probably gonna think oh she was a minor and she is behaving its ok to let her out. I guarentee she will be out of prison by the time she is 30 only 4 years away. Watch me be right.

Adrian on November 18, 2019:

It’s sickening to see the actions and the way the world is!? Like don’t blame your actions on family drugs! I don’t think it’s right that an Interney told you to say these things to the family! I think you should not get out of jail!

Shannon Gehr on October 24, 2019:

Alyssa was 15. Yes, while she did commit a serious crime, the causes of her actions were completely ignored by law enforcement. She is mentally ill and they send her to jail. She needs psychiatric help and the people who are paid to give her help are preventing her from meeting her needs. I understand her, as I grew up in an unstable home with unaddressed alcohol and drug abuse. She does not deserve to be held as a captive. She deserves to be helped, and set free under a counselor's watch.

Hoohoolian on March 21, 2019:

Remember: According to LEFTurds, "There is never any reason to EVER hit any woman EVER." So if you see someone like Alyssa Bustamante committing a horrible murder or other violence, walk away. Who are YOU to judge?

If you do not believe this LEFTurd concept, just go to college, watch CNN, MTV, PMSNBC and Hollywood garbage, Vote Democrat early and often, google EVERYTHING, Tweet away, help build Facebook and be indoctrinated.

Donetta Sifford from Parrott, Virginia on March 03, 2019:

This story is disturbing. I myself suffer from mental illness and have been on many medications. I still know it is not okay to murder another person. The fact she wanted to know what it felt like and even wrote about it in her journal, is proof she knew what she was doing. The way she nonchalantly wrote "lol" after writing she had to go to church shows lack of remorse. Life in prison is a suitable sentence. She will never have freedom again. This is sad but well written.

Ric on February 17, 2019:

Obviously what she did was wrong, bu t WOW, Alyssa sure is an incredible hottie. Ah-mazingly hot in fact. :)

Even her triumphant smile in the mugshots is hot as hell.

Mackenzie on January 09, 2019:

I watched this on january 9 2019 is she out of pirson cause they did say there might be a pireoul idk how to spell it though be is she?

uwu on November 29, 2018:

there's no justification for murder. none at all.

but the mental damage she was undertaking, venting only through destructive habits only contributed to her finally murdering his half sister.

bad parenting, lack of help, lack of wanting to help yourself, etc.

i feel she was truly remorseful at the end, but she still did it so

http://eetd2.adp.com/ - Bing on November 22, 2018:

Microsoft Services Agreement

pee pee man on November 14, 2018:

why diddnt she hit that chug jug

Sherry on November 08, 2018:

Okay, do she had bad parents. She is a product of disturbed people. She has inherited bad characteristics and observed seriously bad behavior and probably did suffer some abuse. However at 15 you should have deveoped some semblance of the knowing right from wrong and can make choices how you wish to be as a human being. She has predisposed morbid ideas and curiosity . i believe some ppl are born evil and have evil ideas and intentions to harm those around them or those they encounter through social mixings. She should be in a prison type atmosphere and treated for her mental instabilities and undergo continuous psychological examination and counseling.Perhaps after 35 or 40 years of incarceration and psych treatment it may or maynot be possible for her to be released on parole. However, its also true she may never be rehabilitated enough to enter society again. She has an evil and dangerous mind at 18. I would not want anyone in my family to meet her and befriend her. How can she be trusted? Probably best she remain in prison until death.

Just A Random on October 12, 2018:

Does anybody know if this was in canada? if so, did the YCJA step in?

Gerardo J Espinosa ... " The Wiser " on September 09, 2018:

Psychiatrists know what she is talking about , who she is talking to... when she said " I strangled them , and slit their throat ,and stabbed them , now they're dead " ... Do we have hundred of similar cases where victims of mind control , commit crimes blaming voices commands , and visualizing images in their brains ... many testimonies of similar crimes , individuals blame seeing demons and other horrible things, synchronized with voices in their heads with what Psychologists say "verbal suggestivity " ... which is nothing more than orders or commands . Why ? . When a brain is entrained , and the brain at a predisposition mental state ... suggestions are not received as an optional request ... the individual's brain is not aware of good or bad and obeys . ALL THIS IS HYPNOSIS AND MIND CONTROL . She was utilized by perpetrators Targeting Individuals .... This girl is innocent ... The court , Judges , DA"s Offices , FBI and other Law Enforcement Departments know .

Janisa from Earth on August 18, 2018:

Wow... killing someone out of mere curiosity is insane.... these child murderer stories are very disturbing

Sean on August 16, 2018:

Lol some of these comments are dumb, give her the death penalty? Well that is the American way isn’t it smh. If she had a better upbringing she would be living a normal life, all these people thinking that’s irrelevant are stupid. She’s a kid, a developing brain..gotta give her hope, although she should never be released, the meds she was on is proven to cause psychosis! The system failed her big time....they had plenty of chances to do so, so did her family and all the doctors throughout her life. Lol people here thinking that have a clue about me tsk disease or what Alyssa was thinking. Just stfu already.

Thea on July 31, 2018:

Actually Alyssa should be killed by all means either by lethal injection or firing squad because she will never change and after 20 years she can go out of jail- still young to kill again. She is like a cancer in society. What you do to cancer cells is terminate and do not allow to spread. That is the case with her, she must be put to sleep so she cannot do harm unto others again. Also to let other teenagers learn from example. Society would be much better if the penalty is life for a life. She deserves death. Parents of Elizabeth it is your duty to give justice to your daughter's cause and ensure Alyssa must be dead in your lifetime. Do this as a favor to society and the future generations who will suffer.

Normal Human on May 20, 2018:

This Person should be hung. The Right and wrong, this is how they grew up, and the mentally unstable excuses are overused. She took someone's life, so hers should also be taken. She had lots of time to think about what she was going to do but did she care? No, she didn't. Sorry doesn't do shit if you killed someone. Is sorry going to bring the victim back to life? No, it won't. Also, sorry doesn't mean anything if you don't mean it

Mehrdad on March 15, 2018:

So I can't understand people who think if you are 15 and you kill somebody in coldblood you should not face any consequences , because you are a child ! There is undeniable differences between a 2 years , a 10 years and a 15 years child . How one can think a15 year old girl doesnt know right from wrong !!!!?

Valdemar-II on March 11, 2018:

"she was fully aware of what she was doing."

Nope. 15 YO and mentally ill.

Lee.ann on March 08, 2018:

Im so tired of hearing that its how they grew up.it doesnt matter how u grow up.we know right from wrong.she was fully aware of what she was doing.shes a killer.her sorry is fake.shes not sorry.she wanted her whole family dead.

Nadia Ribadu on February 15, 2018:

At the same time, take an egregious upbringing with several negative environmental factors and add to it the fact, proven by neuroscientists, that a child's brain does not fully develop until around the age of 25. Yes, children are often taught right from wrong. It doesn't mean that everything we're taught as children is internalized and/or properly processed when the brain is not fully formed. This is almost the same as saying that we're not even rational up to a certain stage of growth, not fully, until we're young adults; so that our actions before then aren't based on brain structures that have been completed or ceased growing. It's why we'll never get a handle on juvenile crime, whether it's even wise to charge children as adults. It's a debate. I'm just throwing this out there for the sake of argument.

Nadia Ribadu on February 15, 2018:

The killer's background, i.e., childhood, could EXPLAIN her horrid actions, but an explanation is not justification. It's akin to explaining cause, and when one does, there is no agreement or disagreement, simply the citing of the possible reason or reasons as to why a thing happens. There's no one who responded to this excellent article--if he/she is in his/her right mind--who thinks that what this murderous girl did was the right thing! They are pointing to conditions and events in her experience that MAY have contributed to what she did. Some reasons for what she did may be innate, others environmental. Neither exonerates her, particularly when there is malice, consciousness of guilt, and intent through carefully thought-out schemes.

Kaz on February 12, 2018:

She's in better place now. Kendall Jenner lookalike :)

Kat on February 09, 2018:

People on here talking about children knowing right from wrong... That's stupid and insane of your to think. Do you believe you know in every instance what's right and what's wrong? I can prove you don't. It's all subjective. I live in a place where many liberal ideals are common. I also have many of their same ideals for what is okay and what's not. One of the most common talked about recently is gay marriage. I believe that gay people are born that way and they should have the right to get married. My community also overwhelmingly agrees with this idea. However, if we would move to a more rural area just about 50 miles from me (where my mom lives), the opinions of right and wrong in this issue are very different. To that community, their religion and upbringing tells them that being gay is wrong and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They say it's wrong to allow same sex couples to get married.

Now, you could argue that this is a more complex issue than something like harming another person, but let's go back in human history (and even modern history to some extent): Many cultures of the past engaged in human sacrifice. Do you really think that they believed they when they performed such murderous actions it was wrong? Of course not. Look at the number of states in the US that still perform executions. Yet we also say killing is wrong. You can't have it both ways. If you believe that harming another is wrong, then you also cannot logically agree with the death penalty, yet so many still do. So you see, these ideas are all subjective. What's right to me, may not be the same thing as what's right to you. A lot of it has to do with where you live and what others in your own community support or do not support.

Brianna on January 28, 2018:

This is so sad. I feel bad for the little girl murdered.

Tesfaye on January 14, 2018:

I want to know her but she is gone girl

Milena And Ciara Twins on December 25, 2017:

Yo I feel so bad for Alyssa I understand her problem but it’s her moms fault for being high on drugs

Gary1974 on March 31, 2017:

I have been working in southern California for several years with child protective services as well as many other fields that deal with troubled or abused children. I have seen child abuse at its worst, and children doing the most heinous things to others albeit physical violence or sexual abuse. Everyone involved in this beautiful young soul's life has failed her! From family to friends to doctors and mental health specialists. THE SIGNS WERE THERE! As a society we stereotype and label children on so many levels it sickens me deeply. We throw pills at a child and send them home with a label but not a solution. This case was handled horribly on so many levels!Alyssa committed a horrible crime,yes, but this young woman is deeply disturbed and needed help and support from all those around her. I have seen young kids who have suffered the most sickening of abuses at home or elsewhere, from physical to sexual. These children go through the system moved from all they know , sent to live with strangers in most cases to do some of the most horrific things to others. Most of these children I speak of were some of the sweetest kids I have ever worked with, yet go on , pills in hand, labeled , to destroy their lives and the lives of others. Alyssa SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TRIED AS AN ADULT, SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEEMED UNFIT TO STAND TRIAL, AND SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED THE HELP SHE SO DESPERATELY DESERVED! This is a truly sick individual, and it breaks my heart that she as a child with so many issues, is to be thrown away without a second thought. My heart breaks for this lost soul,Alyssa.

Your mom on March 30, 2017:

this was a great story

Your mom on March 29, 2017:

this is a great story it told me about some things and whoever wrote this is a great writer/author

tony ray on January 25, 2017:

jaynie2000 its nothing to do with genetics its all to do with her parents failing to raise her because they are scumbag losers whose parents failed to raise THEM and so on....

Wendy on September 16, 2016:

I do it think in some cases abusive childhoods neglect etc can have serious consequences in children. Also this girl wasn't well she did not get the help she needed. She was put on antidepressants. Then left to cope. The medication could have caused all kinds of messed up stuff in a child. Some people do makes big mistakes like murder and are not evil. And some people are evil. I don't think this girl is evil yes an evil act brought on by a life of being unloved and not cared for properly.

Mom on August 17, 2016:

Alyssa is a very sick individual! Shame on her mother for not doing something about it. I hope she stays in prison the rest of hwr natural life! She needs get a good ass whipping to see if she likes pain inflicted on her crazy ass

Eva on July 27, 2016:

Even at 12. Children know right from wrong. We are all taught from a very young age that it is wrong to hurt others. You cannot let a 15 year old violently murder a innocent 9 year old, and then say they were too young to know it was wrong. NO, I say NO ! Knowing not to harm others is a very simple basic concept. Even a 5 year old knows this.

awais on April 24, 2016:

I simply loved this story and the way you have written it is phenomenal this story gave me goosebumps and it felt like I was taken to that event when she was brutally killing her ;( I felt like I was there but couldn't stop her. I really fell bad for both of them, the thing is that its not her fault either she was just mentally ill this is the reason that the guardians of a child should really keep a close watch on there kids not only on there physical conditions but mental too because they are just stupid kind they don't really know what's good for them and they find out that there is something wrong than they should immediately take them for the most finest treatment possible. That's all that I have to say

AZ on February 19, 2016:

I do feel bad for Alssya but that shouldn't be an excuse for killing a 9 year old. Elizabeth doesn't get go college, or get married or have kids and grandkids. She doesn't get to live her life because of Alssya. Nor does Alssya because she killed.

She did it because she wanted to know, and knowing it was evil and wrong. But she did it anyway. She deserves to go to life in jail.

ronald on February 10, 2016:

she wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. is the copycat excuse that a 10 year old boy said when he smashed the kids head with a large rock. the speech if i could bringer her back i would, she forgot to say so i can killl her again.

Desdemona on December 05, 2015:

You know the "end is nigh" when you see society feeling more sympathetic towards a psycopath's motives than the injustice of an innocent's life being inhumanely, brutally taken.

Sick, sick, disgusting world and people!

I'm so glad I consciously chose to not have children!

Jesus was so right when said "Evil will be called good and good be called evil in the end times"! The comments here reflect this prophecy perfectly! No matter what miserable kind of childhood you have, nothing, and I say NOTHING in the world can justify an innocent life being BRUTALLY TAKEN!

If you sympathize with this monster because of her "difficult childhood" (which wasn't even that bad compared with worse cases I've seen myself) you are as sick and soulless as she is! Period.

NOTHING justifies such a brutal act. NOTHING!!! No difficult childhood, no matter how miserable it was, can justify such a brutality! Moreover, suffering makes you a sympathetic person anyway, cause you know how it hurts, so you won't do the same to your fellow- if you're a decent person.

If you don't agree with that, you should be locked up yourself!

Aakriti on July 29, 2015:

The debate that's been going on in the comment section is very compelling, so I decided to join in.

Yes, Alyssa did something horrible and unmentionable. It was a disgusting act of inhumane insanity. Yes, Elizabeth was very young and innocent and in no way deserved the fate she got ... But what I think you all are forgetting over here is that Alyssa was not, at the end of the day, just a fifteen-year-old girl. She was a result. A result of several mental disorders, pressures of society and a rotten childhood. These kind of kids, without proper familial support,are always forced to grow up too fast. They can either turn into formidable and respectable human beings, or grow up to be depressed and unable to cope.

I repeat, what Alyssa did was despicable. She is not a victim in this murder. However, she is a victim in the circumstances of her life. She is a victim of her surroundings and her upbringing. What is a fifteen-year-old, except for familial values and influences from media and friends? People only develop a sustainable and long-lasting personality later on in life. She definitely did not deserve to be tried as an adult. A mentally-stable teenager under the same circumstances may have been tried as an adult, but this ... This is unacceptable. She should have been tried as the child she was, legally and morally. Every person deserves a second chance, especially if they were not in their right minds when they committed the act. She, too, deserves a an opportunity to be a wholly different person, someone who may someday contribute positively to society. But it seems she may now never get the chance ...

shoa on July 29, 2015:

that's npt fair

McKenna Meyers on July 10, 2015:

I wonder if she was getting any mental health care besides being put on Prozac. It seems like there were a lot of warning signs that she was mentally disturbed and needed major help -- most likely in-patient treatment. Grandparents rearing grandchildren is certainly not ideal, and I'm sure grandparents often feel overwhelmed, isolated, and stressed.

kaykay on April 14, 2015:

she knew what she was doing, she said so in her journal "As soon as you get over the ohmygawd I can’t do this feeling..." proof right there she knew what she was doing was wrong but she still done it. it wasn't like she just done it out of know where she had planned to do it enough to dig two grave, one none completed because of rocks and the other to bury someone in. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR WHAT SHE DID!!! She is a murderer and she knew what she doing. She did have people who cared for her and that was trying to get her the help that she needed she just didn't take it. The only victim here is that nine year old girl that will never get to grow up, and never get to live her life and her parents, but yet Alyssa does even if in prison shes living a better life than that little girl will ever get...

To all the stupid people who think that what she did was justified you are just as sick as she is. What would you say if that was your little sister, your cousin, your daughter anyone you know and love. She had no right to take that life...

Alyssa is getting off easy as it is. She still has her life weather she wants it or not.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on January 28, 2015:

It is awful to think a child can be that disturbed. I feel she should never get parole. I her mental state it may just happen again.

Raquel L Pierson from Lancaster Ca on January 22, 2015:

This is so heartbreaking, but very well written!

darron on September 04, 2014:

Totally Mallory material!!!

- on May 21, 2014:

Seriously she's hot!

Kalaichelvi Panchalingam from PETALING JAYA on May 08, 2014:

The weld is not what it seems. Beneath what we would regard as normal, lies a layer of darkness that can inflict hurt and kill. Is this girl to blame or could she have been helped. It is too easy to point our fingers and play the blame game or even say that she was born evil. We will never know if she could have been saved. Who knows what tomorrow brings.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 31, 2014:

OMG! What a horrible sad story. Thanks for sharing this.

Martin on February 20, 2014:

Like I've always said...they need to build a community secured by walls,etc. that anyone who either serves on a parole board or thinks someone like this should be released and allow them to share their families with these reborn murderers for 2 years minimum. Then see how many murderers get paroled. I always think of that guy who amputated a girls arms or legs,left her to die,and she survived. They paroled that cockroach eventually in Florida and not that long later he murdered a prostitute. I feel sorry for the 9 year olds family,so much wasted energy on her murderer.

anitamw on January 29, 2014:

I lived in Jefferson City when this happened, know the area very well. It was a tragedy for all involved, especially Elizabeth and her family. To read people saying poor Alyssa makes me mad. Elizabeth was only nine years old. Her mother doesn't get to see her grow up. Why did she dig two graves? We very well may never know. What we do know is Alyssa committed this crime-to find out how it would feel-''ahmazing'' was her response.

On a personal level her sentence infuriated me. Why? Because its I feel it is a gross injustice, no matter HOW old she was at the time she committed it. Fifteen is old enough to know better, no matter how bad your childhood i, murder is wrong. I pray for Elizabeth's family every day. They were shattered by this. Missouri failed her, her mother, and all whocared about her. I just hope the parole board never let's Alyssa out of prison. People who kill to ''find out how it feels'' should not walk free. Ever.

kirsten on November 29, 2013:

i just cant find the sympathy to care that this teen is now imprisoned, i dont condone her crime in anyway, i dont care how old she is. If its intentional, if one goes out there way to harm another with intention of taking a life i dont care if there 10, 11, there is no excuse. Not even a poor upbringing, yes a bad upbringing is tragic but a million other families go through it & are fine. Mental illness or not, imagine it was your daughter, niece or grandaughter innocently taken out for another childs experiment with death.

Wayne Joel Bushong from America on July 09, 2013:

Those who sympathise with the killer need to rethink. Would you be sensitive to a rabid dog? hell no! Killers like this in society are deranged, maybe because of abuse, or screwed up brain cells, or chemical imbalances in the body or whatever, Either way they are screwed up and need to be removed from society. Many of us were abused as children and we live normal loving lives.............get over it!

Yves on July 08, 2013:

Wow. What a disturbing story. Alyssa was dealt a bad hand from the beginning, to be sure, yet how one gets to the point of being murderous, I don't know. All I know is that this story makes me very sad. Two lives wasted...

I wonder if intensive therapy might have helped Alyssa. I think lilyfly made some valid comments. Some drugs do have horrible effects - especially on young people. However, my understanding is that doctors always keep the dosage very small for this reason.

Caleb on January 27, 2013:

"I'm only fifteen years old, but I know right from wrong, so did she."

Easy for you to say. You were not in her mind, so you can't know that she understood right from wrong. Plenty of people don't. You utterly take for granted the moral training and the well-functioning moral mechanisms that you've been lucky to receive, and I think that's unappreciative and ignorant of you. There's no "excuse" for murder, of course, but in my eyes none of you are much better than she is, to say things like how she should "rot." I hope and "pray" (despite that I don't avidly practice any religious faith) that you will come to an attitude less vengeful of this troubled girl, and more appreciative and cognizant of the fact that your mind and heart have been graced with a moral compass that you, as of right now, blindly assume that everyone else necessarily gets as well.

Joshua on December 07, 2012:

I can't believe some of the people on here calling Alyssa a victim. So she had a mental illness and a rough life, that doesn't give her the right to kill someone. And it's definitely not an excuse. She should rot in jail and never see the light of day again. You can't justify a murder because of the toughness of the world, I'm only fifteen years old, but I know right from wrong, so did she. If you're thinking of killing you should seek out help and not go through with it, but when you kill and innocent person there should be no mercy. She admitted to killing that little girl, bam trial over life prison. Anyone who thinks she is a victim just as much as that little girl should maybe get some help themselves.

Josh on December 07, 2012:

How can there be a possibility of parole? Because she's a kid? Or because she apologized? I think she should get life in prison and that's that. You take a life you give up yours.

Jiggles on October 07, 2012:

Doesn't go any good to state what she is....

A monster, nothing more, nothing less, and Elizabeth's grandmother is right. She should get another shot at life being out of prison when Elizabeth returns from her grave.

Pathetic animal

msnewone41 on October 07, 2012:

She dug two because the first one was too rocky. That is what she told me.

kavanagh on July 12, 2012:

Again very well written. Unfortunately i don't think this can be souly blamed on mental illness in my opionin. Apprently 1 in 4 people are effected by some form of mental illness but just because you are diagnosed or not doesn't turn you into a killer. This was pre-meditated wasn't an act of violence with any motive or wasn't and she wasn't acting on inpluse. Yes she does need help but i think she is evil, she murdered an innocent little gal who was scared of the dark. smh

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on June 25, 2012:

This is awful. No, she doesn't get a pass at all. I have major depressive disorder, and have been on medication since my twenties. I've never hurt anyone, including myself.

Nevertheless, I will say that the docs tried me on Prozac, and I almost killed myself. It had an immediate, negative effect.

Again, there's absolutely no excuse, but I'll say that doctors who do not closely monitor the effects of any prescription on any mental patient, is playing Russian Roulette, and that doctors simply do not understand what some of these drugs do, or are capapble of doing.

Underlying her depression were violent features, and this should have been taken into consideration.

Thanks for this Hub, altho, it's colored all people with Mental disturbances as murderers, or potential murders.

Michelle-criminology student on June 07, 2012:

I cant believe someone would say "POOR KID". She got life with a chance of parole, which is less than what a lot of teenagers who accidentally kill someone get (watch "When Kids Get Life"). Also, she should DEFINITELY be tried as an adult. That is why the law is in place, for people like her. Whatever the circumstances of her life, she needs to be locked up for life, because of her threat to society. Also, she does get tried as an adult, but juvenile delinquents can't get the death sentence, so I'd say she got off easy. I actually met this girl once and you could say she had a bad "aura". It's really weird to explain. There are a lot of theories on criminology, but one aspect cannot explain the whole situation. No matter how "bad her genetics" was, it cannot be taken in a manner of cause-effect. She committed murder. She might not be mentally well, but she obviously knew what she was doing, and enjoyed it. That's sick. A threat to society.

Kristyl on June 03, 2012:

Its horrible what happened to Elizabeth, but in many ways Alyssa is also a victim. She was clearly horrible disturbed, and lacked love and support.. Now her entire life is over. Poor kid.

Mariella on May 04, 2012:

I am currently doing a research paper regarding this topic of juveniles getting the chance of parole, while involved in murder cases. Thank you very much for this informative article :)

xizej on April 20, 2012:

now kill her so that she knows what felt to die, isn´t she curious?

Flower on April 10, 2012:

Very well said DaleH.

DaleH on April 04, 2012:

I suppose the question we must all ask ourselves is when are we going to accept that this is not a mental disorder, and that people, even youths, are capable of calculated, tortureous acts? When will we accept that there is evil in the world? Of course, if there is, then ultimately there is also good, and choices are made to follow one side or the other. In this case, the killer CHOSE to do this. She thought about it, dwelt on it, and was emotionally titillated by it all. She decided to do it, and she did. Now, we are all crying over fairness, but this situation has no fairness. There is no good end in and of itself. Should she pay for the crime? YES. Who is to blame for all this? She is. Who killed? She did. Who will answer to God? She will.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on April 02, 2012:


Adolescent or not, they are still a child. There is obviously a big difference between a 10 year old and a 15 year old, but that doesn't make either of them less of a child. Someone does not legally become an adult until they are 18 for a reason.

Also; teenager or not, the brain is not completed developed in people of that age. They are not capable of the same rationalization or understanding, nor have they developed impulse control or have the same emotional capabilities as an adult.

Audri on April 01, 2012:

I saw my father reading this story a while back. He kept looking at me with a worried look. Only because we look similar and I have had several suicide attempts. I find this story fascinating. Although she should have been sentenced as a minor horomones probably contributed. Besides growing up like that had to be tough, she should've seen a counselor outside of school that was able to deal with kids like this. I feel sorry for her.

Alex on April 01, 2012:

Why so we still consider teenagers children in our society? A 15 year old is an adolescent, NOT a child, there is a big difference.

Magic77 on March 30, 2012:

Damn, she's hot. What a waste.

Alyssa Bustamante Hater! on February 29, 2012:

Dammit. She looks so freaking hot but has a bad freaking personality !

hosa on February 13, 2012:

this comment was intended originally in abcnews but it gives error.

i 100% agree with pricelessmiss, except i base this opinion on EXPERIENCE yes i went through this drug phase before and managed to escape it and maintain my sanity. this drug (and oh so many others) would make u do things u wouldn't normally do, they alter the natural flow of hormones to the brain (dopamin, serotonin, etc) and u feel u want to do something extreme to feel alive and fullfilled. i blame society...free Alyssa.. BITE ME.

Dwi on February 11, 2012:

soul must payed with soul .

Care from an Anonymous eye on February 11, 2012:

Hi Daisy.

So what? lol I genuinely let out a bit of a chuckle when I read this article. o_o

I'm not insane enough to kill anybody, but I don't care about either of these people as much as you think I do. I want her out of jail because a retarded man and woman had a kid who needed help, and was given none. I don't blame her. No human asks for help directly when they have a life such as Alyssa's. If anything, I blame the bystanders.

Daisy on February 10, 2012:

Care from an Anonymous eye your notions and statement that you will be happier when she is out of jail are ridiculous, out of touch with reality and indifferent to the dead girl and her family. Your pie in the sky idea will lead to ANARCHY in society. Alyssa is a human being who deserves the love of God yes...but let us "give unto Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar and Give unto God what belongs to him."

This girl viciously snuffed out the life of a child. The human race could not function if everyone who had a hard life lashed out this way. A sob story does not give one the right to take a life THEY DID NOT CREATE.

Alyssa chose to kill and must make retribution to society...her rehabilitation is IRRELEVANT (what if experts say she is "rehabilitated" in 6 months???). You have the opportunity to visit her in jail to show her God's love (and yes... His mercy and forgiveness is available to her). But there are consequences for actions even in the face of love. Society could not function if it were any other way.

Care from an Anonymous eye. on February 10, 2012:

I will be a lot happier when she is out of prison.

Now, as narcotic as this act was, I do not blame her for such actions taken due to the multiple indecencies she was surrounded by in her poor life. Everyone by law sees a murderer. By psych and love, I see a crying soul. I would not mind having her in my home, to sleep and to eat and drink, and to be loved. The first rule that would be made, however "If you are going to kill me, let me hug you before you do."

Thank you, and have a nice life--all of you.

guestspeaker on February 09, 2012:

Unfortunately most people in society are seriously uninformed when it comes to cases such as Alyssa.

I highly recommend reading the book (that is listed above)"High Risk; Children Without a Conscience". This is an excellent book and should be required reading for all parents,child protective authorities, pediatricians, and school personnel.

It explains very clearly and concisely how a conscience is formed during the first few years of life, and if the child has a serious disruption during that time with the primary caregiver(s) it prevents the conscience from developing, and if that happens, once the child becomes an adult, there is no way to "grow" a conscience later in life.

This is where our Ted Bundy's and Charles Manson's came from, and if allowed to be returned into society, sadly, Alyssa will STILL have no conscience and will be completely capable of murdering again.

Mojozilla, I too had a less than perfect childhood, a parent died and my remaining parent was abusive. I am a sexual abuse survivor as well. I am a very loving, caring person with a conscience so I believe there are other factors that play into the survival and the severity of the turnout of a persons conscience, such as intelligence, and whether there is a bond with anyone else other than the caregiver that can help the growing child.

There is a very wide spectrum from perfect morality as in Albert Schwietzer and Mother Theresa, with many stages along the way to a murder like Alyssa (there is a very easy to understand graph explaining this in the book).

While I do feel sorry for Alyssa, I liken it to the feeling I would have for a vicious wild animal that would kill me if I let it out of it's cage.

Alyssa can have a life within the confines of a prison (it would be more suitable and fair for her to be in a mental health facility or other place than with much older adult hardened criminals, at least until she is over 21). She can read, write stories or books, learn new things, draw or do other activities, workout, watch tv, etc. without the risk of killing anyone else.

The book gives detailed explanations about how, so far, no one in the worlds of psychiatry, sociology or medicine has figured out to rehabilitate a person without a conscience and until someone does, people like that, regardless of their sex or age need to be kept away from society.

Mojozilla on February 09, 2012:

There are many, many victims here. One thing is clear, amid all the speculation & opinions. Alyssa Bustamante should remain in prison indefinitely, to ensure that she harms no more children. Even though she was herself a child when this occurred, most child-killers fantasize about committing these types of crimes....and are compulsively driven to commit them. Can murderers truly be rehabilitated anyway?

I grew up in & out of foster care, had drug-addicted parents, was emotionally, physically & sexually abused as a child...but have never had the fantasy of killing another human being :( I think the urge to kill another person is something deep-seated & untreatable......

Daisy on February 09, 2012:

This girl is demon possessed...plain and simple.

camikaso on February 09, 2012:

how can u people feel sorry for this girl..she planned to kill someone, dug 2 graves.. she been in and out of mental hospital there was no helping this girl.. she deserve to tried as an adult with the death penitly thrown at her.. if she grown enough to plan a killing then she grown enough to do the time..,, she had no remorse bragged about it in her journal so i feel no remorse for her she should be put the death.. that lil girl didn't deserve to die because of some stupid chick who wanted to know what it felt like to kill.. dont care how some sick someone is its no excuse for commiting murder..plan n simple.. people shouldn't have to live being paranoid because of someone like her

ishared1 from Indonesia on February 09, 2012:

It's very sad. I hope this does not happen, they both were children and teens. What happens to me is not independent of parental affection, perhaps Allyssa want attention from them, but the reality is not. My religious education will also help them have a good moral. Merciful God, I as an older brother, pray they both were given directions.

bright eyes on February 09, 2012:

she reminds me a lot of myself. i mean, i'm no murderer, but i am also a teenage girl suffering from major depression and borderline personality disorder. her prozac very well could have aided her when it came to lacking the empathy to actually kill someone, however she obviously knew what she was doing for quite some time.

you guys, my mental issues have forced me to drop out of my high school and postpone my college plans. i was a person who thrived in the classroom, got great grades, had huge dreams, etc. , but also had the misfortune of bad genetics and environmental issues whilst growing up. the treatment i have gone through -- for the most part -- has been traumatic, not helpful.

WATCH FOR SIGNS OF DEPRESSION and other mental illnesses in your loved ones. it's very real. in the case of the girl in this story, a murder could have been prevented if someone was taking her threats seriously. borderline causes INTENSE emotions and makes you easily jump on the looney train in your head, if you know what i mean. there needs to be more awareness.

L. on February 09, 2012:

I believe when she wrote "them/their/they" in her journal she was referring to the victim in a non-specific, genderless way. She says she did it because she wanted to know what it felt like to kill. To me, that means this was her first time. Just my thoughts.

s. on February 09, 2012:

Why does she say "I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead."? Did she kill someone else?

Garmonbozia on February 08, 2012:

Similar incidences as this one are becoming more commonplace in our country, thanks to our ignorance of the fact that most of us are drug addicts, potheads and the like. Over 75% of us are ok with getting high, every day of the week. This is where our home of the brave land of the free is taking us.

Very sad on February 08, 2012:

This young lady was obviously very seriously messed up before committing this horrific crime. And there's a lot of people who you can potentially blame for that (her parents, her grandparents, her teachers, her pastor, etc...). But at the end of the day, none of those people told her "hey - why don't you go commit murder just to see how it feels". Further, there are a lot of other people in this world who go through equally messed up childhoods and somehow don't decide to commit murder to get a thrill. She made that decision herself and she alone bears the full responsibility for it.

The victim is the 9 year old girl who had her throat cut and her life strangled out by an older girl who she probably knew and looked up to. The victim is not the now 18 year old murderer.

marie on February 08, 2012:

This is so sad. How could something not have been done before this happened. To tell s frirnd you wonder what its like to kill someone AND post your hobby as killing people for everyone to see. Clearly she should have been seen as a threat. No sane person would say that even if they thought it.

karma on February 08, 2012:

to whom is she refering to them/their/they?? the victim was just a single person. Anyone, any idea??

Robert on February 08, 2012:

Justice has been served to some extent! Alyssa Bustamante was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole plus 30 years. The 30 years part will run consecutively with the life sentence. The young murderer will be spending many memorable years in prison while learning the finer points of prison etiquette.

For the silly people who incorrectly believe Ms. Bustamante is somehow a victim in this horrible matter, I suggest patience. Her opportunity to become a for-real victim will commence after she makes the acquaintance with some of her fellow convicts.

lashae on February 08, 2012:

I can't believe people actually think she deserves simpathy! She didn't commit a petty crime she murdered someone and planned it by having the graves already dug. Regardless of her age she should be tried as an adult. Would you be this simpathetic if your child had their throt slit and than strangled by this monster?

Terry on February 08, 2012:

She's seriously mentally ill. Don't kill her.

crys on February 08, 2012:

I have witnessed many different people from many different angles and I am a very empathetic person. I remember being 12 and hearing about those two young boys who tortured and killed a toddler and thinking they should be tried as adults since I certainly knew it was wrong at that age. But, I have realized that a lot of people go through a lot of different stages while growing up. As a teen, I did things I would not have done as a 12 year old or as an adult and hope my daughter doesn't do as a teen. But as a teen there is so much you want to try and experience. For some it is hard to know where to draw that line. I was lucky to have a great family and a good set of morals before going into that part of my life, but it sounds like this girl did not have that even though it does sounds like they tried to curb it by psyciatric care and prozac. Little did they know prozac can have an adverse effect on the young. I also ask my husband, who was a cutter, if he would make the same choices now that he did as a teen and he always says no.

Cami on February 08, 2012:

This is what music, Tv, Games, Culture, Social Pressuer, Moronic Parents, Drug Abuse, Poison in food and candy and the way of life in america can do a teen, isn't it weird?, then the teen has to be responsible for not being able to control all the garbage society feeds her, for not being able to be a tibetan monk that can control that super natural states of mind caused by all this cultural poison, the poor girl was only a vessel where all that stuff took place.

Dave on February 08, 2012:

An innocent girl has had her life taken from her by another who is seriously ill. An illness brought on by lack of love and lack of parenting, and a culture that supports both. We don't want abortion yet we refuse to take care of children - here we have solid proof - yet again - of our failure as a society to give love to our children. It clearly is OUR responsibility to take care of all our children - what part of that don't we get? We don't know how to love. How many more things like this have to happen before we finally wise up. We REALLY need to take a close look at how we live in this country. We are really, really on a road to total destruction.

Kim on February 08, 2012:

Sad situation all around. The fact that she came from such a bad situation and all the warning signs were there and nobody did anything to me shows that the kid never had much of a chance. I don't think I would put her to death just because she is a product of her environment and is clearly mentally disturbed. Also I don't think she should ever be out on the streets again. She is clearly a danger to everyone around. This is not very politically correct but maybe it would have been the best thing all around if one of those suicide attempts had worked. It probably would have been the best for her too.

Dennis on February 08, 2012:

It's not that I'm anti-death penalty, but it's a slippery slope when you sentence someone to death for a crime when they are 15. I don't think minors should be tried as adults regardless of the crime...exceptions should not be made...the rule should be changed if need be...but if we just go around making exceptions to the rules where does it stop...is 12 too young or 10?

anon on February 07, 2012:

once again, not saying her actions are ok, or forgivable. But really, how is that youtube video different from the show jackass? Most of what's on T.V., specifically MTV I believe,shows people hurting themselves, their friends, forcing their friends to do drugs. Even some of America's Funniest Home videos are pranks people set up to hurt their loved ones. We shouldn't necessarily blame her grandparents or teachers either, although yes, a listening ear and treating people how you'd want to be treated is how we SHOULD always act, but we should look at what we as a society value. Why is it valued for someone to physically hurt or talk down to another person? Why do kids like to emulate gang leaders? This is a horrible, horrible tragedy. My prayers go out to all involved that are left here on our Earth. I don't know if we'll ever be able to answer the question if it's nature vs. nurture, I believe it varies with the individual. What we can do is better ourselves.

Dede on February 07, 2012:

Republicans piss me off. Cut funding to abortion clinics because abortion is wrong. Cut funding for health care, education and counciling to the poor, because the poor are entitled and lazy. Then push for children to be tried as adults when they finally crack as a result of their miserable, hopeless lives. I am SO HAPPY Mitt Romney is coming to the rescue of wealthy Americans... no one in the upper 1% should have to pay their fair share of taxes to help the poor... they have a safety net, right? Right?!

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