Teen Girl Murders... "for the experience"

?? - posted on 11/19/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )





Teen killed girl for the experience, police say




JEFFERSON CITY — With a Friday off school, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante dug two holes in the ground to be used as a grave, authorities said. For the next week, she attended classes, all the while plotting the right time for a murder, they said.

That time allegedly arrived the evening of Oct. 21, when authorities say Bustamante strangled 9-year-old neighbor Elizabeth Olten without provocation, cut the girl's throat and stabbed her, prosecutors said. Why?

"Ultimately, she stated she wanted to know what it felt like," Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice testified Wednesday during a court hearing in the slaying case.

Rice, who interviewed Bustamante in the days after Elizabeth's disappearance, said she confessed to investigators and led them to the fourth-grader's well-concealed body in woods near their neighborhood in St. Martins, a small town west of Jefferson City.

A Cole County judge ruled Wednesday that Bustamante, who has been held in Missouri's juvenile justice system, should be tried as an adult. Hours later, the teen was indicted on adult charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for allegedly using a knife to kill Elizabeth. A judge later entered a not guilty plea on Bustamante's behalf and referred her to the public defender's office.

The court proceedings marked the first time that the suspect in Elizabeth's death had been publicly identified since a two-day search for the girl by hundreds of volunteers. When they found Elizabeth's body Oct. 23, authorities only said that a 15-year-old had led them to it and was in custody in the slaying.

Bustamante remained largely expressionless as she sat with her hands shackled around her waist in court Wednesday. She occasionally looked down beneath the brown bangs that covered her eyes and swallowed hard as a judge read the charges against her.

On one side of the courtroom sat her mother and grandmother, who has been Bustamante's legal guardian for about half of her life. On the other side sat Elizabeth's mother, relatives and friends, several of whom wore pink — Elizabeth's favorite color.

Bustamante was ordered held without bail pending her trial. If convicted of first-degree murder, she would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Witnesses at Bustamante's adult certification hearing described a girl who was bright yet depressed, and clever in a sometimes sneaky sort of way. She ranked in roughly the top third of her class at Jefferson City High School, the principal said, and had been in no trouble at school or with the law.

Yet Bustamante had tried to commit suicide at age 13 and had been receiving mental health treatment for depression and for cutting herself, said David Cook, the chief juvenile officer in Cole County. Once, she led her family to believe she was attending a local church event when she instead sneaked off to a concert in St. Louis, about two hours away, Cook said. On one or two other occasions, Bustamante spent the night in the woods without permission, he said.

After her arrest, Bustamante tried to cut herself with her fingernails while in juvenile custody, said her appointed juvenile defense attorney Kurt Valentine.

He argued that Bustamante should remain in the juvenile system, where she could potentially be rehabilitated before being set free by age 21. Valentine warned that Bustamante would either kill herself or be assaulted and killed by others if she were placed in an adult jail cell or prison.

"We are throwing away the child, and we are signing a death sentence for Alyssa," Valentine said. "She is not going to survive her time in the Cole County jail."

Cole County Sheriff Greg White said later that Bustamante would be held at a different, undisclosed location.

Cook recommended Bustamante be tried as an adult. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem agreed, saying the killing was vicious and that the state had no adequate facilities or services to treat Bustamante if she remained in the juvenile system.

Bill Heberle, with the Missouri Division of Youth Services, testified that the state has no secure facilities with fences for female juveniles. Youths in Missouri's juvenile system generally are housed in group settings and are not typically watched by staff 24 hours a day, he said.

Should this teenage girl be put into prison for life?

Does she have the chance to be rehabilitated?

What are your thoughts?


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?? - posted on 11/19/2009




I think the second hole was for herself. And I think she confessed because, as they said, she just wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. I don't think she ever had any intention of hiding it - her meticulous planning and previous mischieviousness points towards the idea that if she had wanted to hide it (and since they said that the body was well covered up and she had to show them where the little girl was buried) she very well would / could have. Maybe not for long, but she probably could have the ability to deflect suspicion.

So to me, I think this girl purposely dug these graves, intending 1 for her 'victim' and the other for herself. And she wanted the experience, from start to finish, digging the grave, killing her victim, burying her victim, telling what happened, showing them where the body was buried, seeing the entire "murder" from start (deciding to dig a grave) to finish (her sentance) is exactly what she was 'wanting to experience.'

I think there is something EXTREMELY wrong with this girl. I think she needs to be put away, medicated, monitored, whatever the mental health people do with people who are THAT disturbed. When she's an adult - decide whether she will be a harm to herself or others or if she needs to stay in a mental facility. If the "experience" is all she was after, she might have it out of her system by the time she's an adult and in which case she committed murder and should be in jail for her adult life - and lets face it, if she's in jail and she commits suicide, or is murdered or hurts someone in jail... she's where she should be.

Dana - posted on 11/19/2009




Ugh, I saw this last night. I had a hard time even reading the article. She's seriously messed up.

Jenny - posted on 11/19/2009




I think she should be thouroughly studied, scanned, tested and monitored. Then at the age of 18 if she still wants to end it all, let her. Some people are just defective (for lack of a better word). Why keep an adult alive against their will who also happens to be very dangerous? If in three years there is significant progress then reevaluate what to do with her.

I agree with what Joy said about the lacking of empathy, I believe that to be an epidemic in modern times. The more we seperate ourselves, compartmentalize our lives and gate our communities the more we lose our empathy and the more dangerous society becomes.

[deleted account]

I honestly don't know. There's always the case of Mary Bell, who murdered two boys and was "rehabilitated" (whatever that actually means for a child killer) and, when released at age 21, went on to have a fairly normal life. She also had some fairly large psychological issues, including being abused by family members. See more at:
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notor... . My heart goes out to all involved-and I really just don't know how to answer the question of what to do with these kids.

Katherine - posted on 11/19/2009




Quoting Jenn:

notice "she dug 2 holes"

....I wonder which kid was 'next'.

Lock her up and throw the key in the ocean - preferably somewhere in the location of Atlantis.

I noticed that too.  She would have continued, but why she gave up the location is beyond me.  If she was planning to murder again that doesn't make much sense.  It's sad, and scary I worry about my kids.  So much violence in the world.  Rehabilitation won't do any good because as they said she will kill herself or someone else will kill her.  Mental Institution or Psych ward?  She definitely needs a psychiatric evaluation and if she is a sociopath, she's a danger to society and cannot be released.  It's a hard call, very hard.  I feel for the parents of the 9 year old.  What a terrible thing to have to go through.

[deleted account]

Lock her up, be it a prison or a psyche ward, the girl needs to be put away. She planned it, had the grave dug already and then killed an innocent 9 yr old. Unforgivable.

~Jennifer - posted on 11/19/2009




notice "she dug 2 holes"

....I wonder which kid was 'next'.

Lock her up and throw the key in the ocean - preferably somewhere in the location of Atlantis.

Lindsay - posted on 11/19/2009




I also think she should be lock up for life. This was planned and thought through. What a shame....

JL - posted on 11/19/2009




I think she should be in prison for life and possibly in a state psychiatric ward for the majority of her imprisonment. This girl is beyond simple depression and suicidal tendencies something is deeply wrong with her and I don't think rehab and time in a juvenile facility is going to cut it. She may be lacking the mental capacity to understand remorse and the value of life which makes her very dangerous to herself and to others. She did not on the spur of the moment do this..she planned it and her level of intelligence makes me think that she is mentally disturbed...many serial killers and pre meditated murders are highly intelligent individuals with the inability to feel empathy, to feel any remorse, and to understand the value of lfe. I at one point wanted to be a profiler while in college and I read up on the psychological aspects with it comes to murder. Habitual killers kill just kill for the sensation of it they need the rush to feel important, to feel empowered, and to feel alive. Her words kinda of echo this idea which is scary.

Sarah - posted on 11/19/2009




She needs to be put away somewhere for life in my opinion. Whether it is a prison or a mental hospital i'm not sure, but she should be locked up!

Chances of her being rehabilitated? Slim to none i reckon. Sorry but i think if you are capable of such a crime at such a young age, you're hardly going to grow up and be a useful member of society are you??

Personally, i think kids that commit such hideous crimes at young ages (Jamie Bulgers killers for example) should never be set free. I think the fact that they are released sends the wrong message.....kill as a kid......but still have the rest of your life ahead of you.....unlike the poor child they murdered.

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