Save for her occasional rebellion against authorities, Alyssa Bustamante seemed like a normal teenager. However, her online persona revealed Alyssa’s true self, a much darker girl.
A friend of Alyssa Bustamante said:
“She was just always so sweet and everybody loved her…she was just amazing!”
The revelation of Alyssa’s true persona may have come as a surprise to her family and friends, but Alyssa Bustamante’s virtual alter ego foretold what would be her most monstrous act; the killing of Elizabeth Olden, her nine-year-old neighbor.
Alyssa Bustamante’s Troubled Childhood
Her mother, Michelle Bustamante, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, which led to charges and jail time, and her father, Caesar Bustamante, was serving jail time for assault.
As a result, she was raised by her grandparents, who took legal custody of her and her three younger siblings in California from 2002 to 2009 when she was arrested for killing Elizabeth.
To get away from their previous lives, Alyssa and her siblings were moved to a rural, ranch-like property in St. Martins, Missouri, just west of Jefferson City.
Alyssa was a normal kid by all appearances, and her grandparents provided a stable home where Alyssa’s parents could not.
Regardless of her parents’ incarceration, Alyssa became an A and B student in high school. Like every other kid, Alyssa would often write poems and joke around.
She routinely attended church at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she participated in several youth activities.
However, in 2007 Alyssa started self-harming herself and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in St. Martins for 10 days. She was then placed on anti-depressants.
Despite the medications, Alyssa continued to inflict wounds on herself and often showed the scars on her wrists to her friends. One of her friends said:
“Well, she was obviously on the anti-depressants, we always would go upstairs and she’d be like, ‘Oh I need to take my medicine.’”
Online, Alyssa was an entirely different person. Her Twitter feed talked about her disdain for authority.
One of the tweets read:
“Bad decisions make great stories.”
On YouTube and MySpace, she listed her hobbies as “cutting and killing people.” She also posted a YouTube video where she tried to get two brothers to try to touch an electrified fence.
Then, on Oct. 21, 2009, Alyssa unleashed her darkest fantasies on her nine-year-old neighbor, Elizabeth.
The Murder Of Elizabeth Olden
Four houses down from the Bustamante family lived nine-year-old Elizabeth Olden, who often came over to play with Alyssa and her siblings.
On the night she was killed, Elizabeth’s mother says she requested to go over to Alyssa’s house to play at 5 p.m. on October 21, 2009.
By 6 p.m., when Elizabeth didn’t come home, her mom knew something was wrong, and unfortunately, this would be the last time Elizabeth’s mother saw her daughter alive.