NEW YORK (CBS/AP) In an exclusive interview with CBS News Crimesider, one of Alyssa Bustamante's closest friends said that the alleged killer of Missouri 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten had talked about murdering before, and had a psychologically troubled past that may have been overlooked by professionals.
Jennifer Meyer, 15, who spoke exclusively with Crimesider in a phone interview on Friday, Nov. 20, said that Bustamante had once told her, "I wonder what it would be like to kill somebody."
According to police, Bustamante had also told them she killed Olten to find out what it would feel like to kill someone.
Authorities say Bustamante strangled, stabbed and cut Elizabeth's throat after she went missing on Oct. 21.
They say Bustamante confessed to the crime and led them to her neighbor's body two days later in a wooded area near their homes in St. Martins, Mo., just west of Jefferson City.
But long before Bustamante allegedly committed murder, she had a long history of hurting herself, according to Meyer, who says she has known her since middle school.
Meyer said Bustamante, now 15, told her she tried to hang herself when she was 11. A year later, Bustamante told Meyer that she "was going to put a gun to her head, but she didn't have one," Meyer told Crimesider. "She was just thinking about ways to do it, but she didn't attempt it," Meyer said.
Meyer said that same year Bustamante cut her arms and "one time I guess she cut too far and passed out 'cause of blood loss."
Meyer told Crimesider she was not present at these attempts, but said Bustamante showed her numerous suicide notes and poems and told her about the incidents after they occurred.
Bustamante can be seen in a photo, obtained exclusively by Crimesider, in which a series of red cut marks are visible from the top of her wrist to almost halfway down her left arm.
According to the Associated Press, Bustamante listed her hobbies as "cutting" and "killing people" in her YouTube profile, which has since been taken down.
The image of Alyssa Bustamante as a deeply troubled teen clearly in need of help long before the Elizabeth Olten murder is backed up by her own court-appointed representatives.
At a court hearing Wednesday, Nov. 18, a juvenile justice officer said Bustamante attempted suicide two years ago and had received both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment for depression and cutting herself.
Meyer told Crimesider that two years ago, Bustamante took "a bunch of Tylenol and something else, some sort of pain killer" at her grandparent's home, where she lived.
"She passed out and her grandma found her and called an ambulance," Meyer said. "She had to have her stomach pumped."
"Then she went to the hospital for a while and they sent her to a psych ward for a while," Meyer said. "I know she was away from school for like two or three months."
Jennifer Meyer told Crimesider that Bustamante was getting counseling as recently as last month. It's not yet clear if Bustamante was under the care of any mental health professionals when 9-year old Olten was murdered.
Last week, Bustamante's juvenile defense attorney said her client had attempted to cut herself with her own fingernails while being held in juvenile custody after her arrest.
Public defender Jan King cited that suicide attempt in a court document Thursday while stating that Bustamante was "demonstrating signs of severe depression and anxiety" and had been under a suicide watch at the jail.
Bustamante needs "immediate psychological treatment" to "assess her current mental state and to prevent the possibility that she may harm herself," King said in a motion requesting her transfer.
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 Photos Reveal Inner Life of Elizabeth Olten's 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: Alyssa Bustamante Killed Elizabeth Olten 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