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COLE COUNTY, Mo. – The legislation that could have granted a teen killer a parole hearing has been overturned. Under the current law, a person sentenced to prison for 15 years or more who was a minor at the time of sentencing, can be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.  Unless they have been found guilty of first or second degree murder.

Alyssa Bustamante is serving life plus 30 years in prison for the murder of Elizabeth Olten in 2009. Bustamante is charged with murder of the second degree and armed criminal action. 

The murder

Elizabeth Olten was heading home from a friend’s house on October 21, 2009, in St. Martins, Missouri. She promised her mother that she would be home for dinner, but she never made it.  

Olten was found stabbed, strangled, and with her throat slit with a kitchen knife. Her body was then dumped in a shallow grave.

Alyssa Bustamante is shown in an April 2013 Department of Corrections photo.

Alyssa Bustamante wrote in her diary that night: 

“I just f***ing killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel atm [at the moment],” Bustamante wrote in her diary. 

She later added: “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.”

The disappearance of Olten

On October 21, 2009, police were called by Patty Preiss, Olten’s mother, and a search party was formed. 

The searchers included dogs, firefighters, police, helicopters, the FBI, and the highway patrol. 

The police called Olten’s phone. The phone was geolocated somewhere in the woods between her house and Bustamante’s. 

Police interviewed Bustamante’s family: grandparents, younger twin brothers, and a younger sister. The younger sister was playing with Olten that afternoon. 

Police ended up collecting physical evidence, and FBI agents seized a journal from Bustamante’s bedroom during the search of her family’s home the day after Olten went missing.  With the physical evidence and the journal, the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol had a suspect in mind. 

Who is she?

Alyssa Bustamante, at age 15, posted images on the internet in dark makeup and smeared lipstick. Some images were more disturbing than others.

The Crime Wire and Investigation Discovery both claimed that Bustamente was a teen who was suffering from depression and building rage. 

Neither of Bustamante’s parents were around. She was in the care of her grandparents. Bustamante was also taking antidepressants and had spent 10 days in a mental health facility.

The confession

Police had evidence in Bustamante’s own handwriting that she murdered someone. It was specified in her journal. 

What they needed was for Bustamante to admit to the murder. After an hour of interrogation, the police told Bustamante that they had the journal. 

Bustamante broke down. She can be seen in police interrogation footage confessing to murdering Olten. 

Bustamante said on the interrogation footage that at about 5:30 p.m. on the day of the murder, she saw Olten and knew then that she was going to kill her. 

Bustamante led police to Olten’s body. Olten’s body was found under leaves in a grave in the woods behind the Bustamante home.


The murder was labeled a thrill killing. Bustamante was in police custody for two years before her trial. 

In January 2012 Bustamante pleaded guilty to killing Olten. She originally pleaded not guilty in October 2009. 

Bustamante was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. She tried appealing her murder plea, but was denied in March 2014. 

Alyssa Bustamante was ordered to pay the victim’s mother, Patricia Preiss, $5 million plus 9 percent interest until the debt is paid.  


Preiss did not stop advocating for her daughter after the trial. In October 2012, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pathways Behavioral Healthcare. 

Preiss alleged the clinic could have prevented the violent tendencies of the teenager. She went on to claim that the psychiatrist ignored well-documented violent proof. 

In 2021, Preiss signed a petition to keep Bustamante in prison. The petition was against Missouri Senete Bill 26.

Currently, Alyssa Bustamante resides in Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Missouri.

For more information, Evil Up Close created a documentary about the murder of Olten. Her case is also featured in Deadly Women.