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Dorothea Puente, The Boarding House Killer

American Serial Killer, Dorothea Puente

Dorothea Puente was a convicted serial killer who ran a boarding house in Sacramento, California in the 1980s. Puente cashed in the Social Security checks of the aged and disabled boarders residing in her house. Many of them ended up dead and laid to rest in the boarding house’s yard.
In April 1982, Puente’s companion and business partner, Ruth Monroe, started to rent out space in an apartment she owned. Soon after moving in, Monroe perished from an overdose of codeine and Tylenol. When she was queried by police, Puente told that Monroe had become depressed because of her spouse’s illness. Police officially sanctioned the casualty of suicide.

Dorothea Puente In Prison


Many weeks later, 74-year-old Malcolm McKenzie accused Puente of drugging him and stealing his pension. Puente was accused and convicted of theft in August of that year, and was convicted to five years in prison. When she was serving her verdict, she started a pen-pal affair with 77-year-old Everson Gillmouth.

Unknown Gender History: Dorothea Montalvo Puente, Serial Killer –  California, 1988
Pic: Unknown Misendry

When she was released in 1985, after fulfilling three years, she strode in and opened a joint bank account with Gillmouth. In November of that year, Puente employed a handyman, Ismael Florez, to install wood paneling in her house. After he finished the job, Puente paid him an $800 bonus and provided him with a red 1980 Ford pickup truck- the same model and year as Gillmouth’s car. She told Florez that the truck belonged to her partner in Los Angeles, who gave it to her. Puente also employed Florez to create a box that was six feet by three feet by two feet, which she asserted that she would utilize to store “books and other items”.

Traveled To Sutter County

She and Florez then traveled to a highway in Sutter County and threw away the box on a riverbank. On January 1, 1986, the box was recovered by a fisherman, who called the police. When police reached and unlocked the box, they discovered the decomposed remains of an aged man- who would not be recognized as Everson Gillmouth for another three years. During this time, Puente collected Gillmouth’s pension and forged letters to his family.
During this time, Puente proceeded to house aged and disabled tenants in her boarding house. While they were residing there, she examines their mail and took any cash and Social Security checks they received.

She paid each of them monthly stipends but kept the rest for what she contended were expenses for the boarding house. Puente’s boarding house was toured by various parole agents as a result of prior orders for her to stay away from aged people and not to deal with government checks. Despite these regular visits, she was never accused of anything. Neighbors started to grow suspicious of Puente when she asserted that she “adopted” a homeless alcoholic man called “Chief” to work as a handyman. She had Chief dig in the basement and eliminate soil and trash from the property. Chief then put in a new concrete slab in the basement before he vanished.

In 1988


In November 1988, Alvaro Montoya, a tenant in Puente’s house vanished. Montoya was developmentally impaired and had schizophrenia.

After he failed to show up at meetings, his social worker reported him missing. Police reached Puente’s boarding house and started to search the residence. They found recently disturbed soil and were eligible to disclose seven corpses in the yard. When the investigation into the deaths started, Puente has not deemed a suspect. As soon as police let her out of their sight, she escaped to Los Angeles, where she visited a bar and started to talk to an aged pensioner. The man identified her from the news and called the police.

Puente was accused with nine counts of killing, for the seven corpses discovered at her house in addition to Gillmouth and Montoya. She was sentenced to three of the killings, though the jury could not agree on the other six. Puente was convicted to two life sentences which she served at Central California Women’s Facility in Madera County, California until her demise in 2011 at age 82. Until her demise, she insisted that she was innocent and that the tenants had all perished natural causes.

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