What Are The Activities Of A 4 Month Old Baby The Life of Dorothea Puente

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The Life of Dorothea Puente

Los Angeles Times Headline

March 28, 2011

Dorothea Puente, 82 died at the Central California Women’s Facility where she was serving life without parole. She was convicted on three first-degree murder convictions for two life terms. She was a Sacramento boarding house operator who was convicted of killing her tenants in the 1990s. She died of natural causes.

Who was Dorothea Puente?

At 64, her grandmotherly figure made headlines across the country. Hers was a macabre story that included: buried victims in her Victorian-style home, a body found in the Sacramento River, and; several heinous killings.

She was considered to be one of the coldest and most calculating female killers who ever lived. She was alleged to have drugged and killed her victims to collect on their disability checks. The amount she looted totaled about $87,000, which prosecutors alleged she used for face-lift surgeries, among other things.

The Early Years

She was given the birth name Dorothea Gray on January 9, 1929, in California, USA. She had alcoholic parents: a father who was a cotton farmer, died when she was four (4) years old; and mother, who was a prostitute, also died when she was six years old (6). She was sent to an orphanage after her mother’s death, where relatives claimed her several years later.

Conflicting accounts marked her early childhood. She claimed that she had seventeen (17) other siblings. This was not proven however: what was known was that her father had strange tendencies of pointing a gun at his head whenever he was drunk. It was also reported that she was sexually abused in the orphanage where she stayed.

At seventeen (17), she married and gave birth to two (2) children. The marriage was short-lived; because the husband died of a heart attack after two (2) years. She gave up the two children for adoption. She was later caught forging checks in Riverside, but got parole six (6) months later.

The Turbulent Years

Shortly after she was released from parole, she was impregnated by a man she barely knew. She again, gave the baby up for adoption. In 1952, she married a second time – with a Swiss called Johanson. The marriage lasted more than a decade and was marked by turbulence and marital strife. She divorced Johanson in the mid 60s and later married Roberto Puente, who was nineteen (19) years her junior. Her marriage lasted only two years as Robert was often seen flirting with other women.

Dorothea Puente’s fascination with boarding house management began in the early 60s when she was still married to Johanson. However, in that same year, she was prosecuted for managing a brothel and was sentenced for ninety (90) days in the Sacramento County Jail. Her turbulent time, stopped for a while when she found work as a nursing aid; and as a pension manager later.

Before the dissolution of her marriage to Robert, she managed to take over a three (3) story, sixteen (16) bedroom house in Sacramento, California. She converted this into a home for the poor, unwanted and homeless. She was, however, accused of cashing her tenant’s Social Security checks. And this tendency towards government checks, eventually led to her reign of terror!

The Macabre Years of Horror

The bizarre stories began when neighbors found the “strange” activities of a man named, Chief, who was said to be Dorothea’s handyman. Chief was an alcoholic, and was often seen digging up clods of soil and carting it away from the basement area of ​​the house. The basement floors were then covered with concrete. After these were all done, Chief mysteriously disappeared. There was no trace of him; and nothing was heard of him either!

Dorothea married for the third time around in 1976, another violent man named Pedro Montalvo. This third husband of hers was another alcoholic; which contributed to the collapse of their marriage after three (3) months. Dorothea was consequently seen in bars and pubs luring old people who received pensions or benefits. She intercepted their checks, forged their signatures, and cashed the checks herself. She was eventually caught, and was charged with multiple counts of fraud. She was placed on bail, but continued with her illegal activities although on probation.

Paper Trails of Murders and Illegal Activities

Authorities claimed that the series of murders began with the death of one Ruth Munroe, 61 years old, who allegedly died of an overdose. She had about $6,000 with her when she moved in with Dorothea. She died two weeks later from an overdose of Tylenol and Codeine, which doctors claimed was a clear case of suicide. A month after that incident, Dorothea was accused and tried for drugging other elderly people and robbing them. Dorothea was sent for five (5) years in prison, but three (3) years later was released. The conditions of her release specified that she would have no contact with the elderly, nor from cashing government checks issued to others.

Dorothea’s correspondent while still in prison, Everson Gilmouth, a 77-year-old man from Oregon, came in handy when she was later released from prison. Everson was there to pick her up in his red truck. However, his body was later found, dumped in the Sacramento River, approximately five (5) years later. His pickup was given to a handyman whom Dorothea hired to build a 6 x 3 x 2 box, presumably to store books and other household items. The box was then nailed shut; and the handyman then helped Dorothea transport the box to a nearby warehouse. However, the box was dumped by her on the river bank on the way to the storage depot.

A year later, the box was found by two (2) fishermen. They informed the police about the decomposing body they found in the box. Dorothea, meanwhile, collected Gilmouth’s pension check, and wrote to the members of his family that he was ill and could not write the letters himself.

She continued with the boarding and lodging business that served the homeless and alcoholics. She cashed their checks and gave them a small amount of money, which they always spent on booze at a nearby bar. She then tipped off the police, and had them arrested. Dorothea then pocketed the rest of their money for her own use.

On November 11, 1988, the police were able to bury bodies in the lawns of the then 60-year-old Dorothea. During further investigation, they found several other bodies buried in the basement. She was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. She died in prison several years later, of natural causes.

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