NEW YORK (CBS) Alyssa Bustamante, the teenager who allegedly killed Missouri 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, grew up in a turbulent household, say friends, and may not be the only Bustamante disposed to violence. Records show her father is a convicted felon.
Police say Alyssa Bustamante strangled, stabbed and cut her next door neighbor Elizabeth Olten's throat in October, then, two days later, led police to the wooded grave where she allegedly buried her.
But long before the alleged murder, Alyssa Bustamante's home life was full of emotional torment, according to court records and friends, who say that Bustamante, 15, was mostly raised by her grandparents while her mother struggled with substance abuse and her father was in jail.
Alyssa Bustamante's grandmother, Karen Brooke, became the girl's legal guardian when she was 7-years-old, according to court records obtained by the Jefferson City News Tribune. She also took on responsibility for Alyssa's two younger brothers, the paper said.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Bustamante's mother, Michelle Bustamante, struggled to pay rent and racked up three misdemeanor criminal convictions, including one for drunken driving and another for marijuana possession, according to court records obtained by the paper.
Her father, 34-year-old Ceaser Bustamante, whose identity was confirmed by the Cole County Sheriff's Dept., is serving three concurrent prison terms for three counts of felony assault in Missouri Eastern Correctional Facility, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri Dept. of Corrections.
Jennifer Meyer, a friend of Alyssa Bustamante's since middle school, told Crimesider in an exclusive Nov. 20 phone interview, that Alyssa's father had been arrested for "stabbing someone." Local police have not yet confirmed that detail to Crimesider.
Alyssa Bustamante also seemed to have a dangerous penchant for knives and cutting.
According to the Associated Press, Bustamante listed her hobbies as "cutting" and "killing people" in her YouTube profile, which has since been taken down.
In a photo (left), obtained exclusively by Crimesider, a series of what appear to be self-inflicted red cut marks are visible from the top of Alyssa Bustamante's left wrist to almost halfway down her arm.
Another exclusive Crimesider photo (top) shows what appears to be Alyssa Bustamante's hand holding a knife that has something red on its blade. In the photo, the hand is mock-stabbing a friend in the stomach. The hand is tagged as Bustamante on Facebook and the nail polish and shirt sleeve match Alyssa Bustamante's appearance in other pictures in the group.
Alyssa Bustamante's friend Jennifer Meyer told Crimesider that Bustamante tried to kill herself several times since she was 11, and that one attempt involved cutting.
That seems to jibe with Alyssa Bustamante's court appointed juvenile justice officer, who, on Nov. 18, said Bustamante attempted suicide two years ago and had received both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment for depression and cutting herself.
On Friday, Nov. 20, a judge ordered Bustamante to Fulton State Hospital for up to four full days of psychological evaluation.
If Bustamante is convicted of first-degree murder, she would face a sentence of life in prison without parole. A judge has entered a plea of "not guilty" on her behalf.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
November 23, 2009 - EXCLUSIVE: Alyssa Bustamante Friend Says She Thought About Killing
November 23, 2009 - EXCLUSIVE: Alyssa Bustamante Photos Reveal Inner Life of Accused Killer
November 20, 2009 - Alyssa Bustamante, Alleged Elizabeth Olten Killer, Listed "Killing People" as Hobby Online
November 20, 2009 - Elizabeth Olten Murder Suspect, Alyssa Bustamante, Sent to Mental Hospital
November 18, 2009 - Prosecutor: Bustamante Killed Because "She Wanted to Know What it Felt Like"
November 18, 2009 - Alyssa Bustamante to be Tried as Adult for Murder of 9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten
October 26, 2009 - Elizabeth Olten Murder: Teen Arrested for Killing 9-Year-Old
October 23, 2009 - Elizabeth Olten's Body Found After Two Day Search for Missing Cole County, Missouri Girl
October 22, 2009 - Elizabeth Olten Missing; 9-Year-Old Disappears in Cole County, Missouri