St. Louis Public Radio News
7:04 pm
Fri October 23, 2009

Missing Cole Co. girl found dead

Jefferson City, Mo. – A body found this afternoon in Cole County has been identified as that of a 9-year-old St. Martins girl who had been missing for two days.

Elizabeth Olton disappeared Wednesday evening while walking home from a friend's house a quarter of a mile away. Her body was found in a wooded area near her house.

Authorities say there is evidence that led them to a person of interest, an unidentified older juvenile who has been taken into custody.

Cole County Sheriff Greg White would not say, though, whether Olton was murdered.

"We're not going to address all the evidence at the scene...we do have the (girl's) cell phone, but other than that, we're not going to go beyond that...we have evidence teams out processing scenes, and we go from there," White said.

An Amber Alert for Olton was not issued. Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent James Keathley told reporters it wasn't warranted because no one witnessed the girl's disappearance.

"Many of you (probably) covered the Iron County missing child (case) not too long ago, where an abduction was not witnessed, could not be proved, and an Amber Alert was not proper, didn't fit the guidelines...that's the same situation we had in this case," Keathley said.

Authorities instead issued an Endangered Person Advisory, and entered her case into the National Crime Information Center's (NCIC) database.

Hundreds of volunteers had also been helping authorities search for Olton since her disappearance on Wednesday.

St. Martins is in western Cole County, about eight miles west of Jefferson City.