Perhaps inspired by the film Arsenic and Old Lace. Dorothea Puente operated a boarding house just outside of Downtown Sacramento, this was 1982. Similar to the film Dorothea’s tenants were elderly and receiving monthly checks.
In April of that year her friend and business partner Ruth Monroe, died of an overdose of Codeine and Tylenol. Dorothea told police Ruth was depressed because her husband was terminally ill.
A few weeks later, one of her tenants Malcolm McKenzie accused Dorothea of drugging him and stealing his money. She was convicted and sentence to five years in Jail.
In Jail, she developed a pen pal relationship with a 77 year old man who lived in Oregon. After serving three years she was released and planned to marry her pen pal. They moved into the F Street house. Her future husband owned a Red 1980 Ford Pickup.
November 1985 ,Dorothea hired handyman Ismael Florez to install some wood paneling in her apartment. She also asked him to build a box 6 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet to store books. After constructing the box, she filled the box and nailed it shut and asked Florez to take the box to a storage depot. On route, she had a change of plans and dumped the box on a riverbank off Garden Highway in Sutter County. For his labor Doretha Paid the handyman $800 and the 1980 Red Ford Pickup.
A fisherman discovered the box and called police,they found a decomposed and unidentiful body of an elderly man. Dorothea continued to collect his pension and wrote and told his family that he was ill.
After being ordered to stay away from elderly tenants, Dorothea began taking in drug addicts and taking the tough to place tenants. Her looks and demeanor as a kindly grandmother made her popular with Sacramento County social workers. She was allowed to cash their checks and give them a stipend and keep the rest for expenses.
She befriended many of the homeless people in the area who did odd jobs for her around the home.
Neighbors complained about odors coming from Dorothea’s house. She was seen poring Lyme in her backyard.
On November 11,1988,police inquiring after the disappearance of tennent Alvaro Montoya, a mentally retarded schizophrenic whose social worker had reported missing. After noticing disturbed soil on the property, they uncovered the body of tenant Leona Carpenter. Seven bodies were eventually found and Dorothea was charged with a total of nine murders.
Dorothea is currently serving two life sentences in a Women’s Facility in Madera County.
After corresponding with Shane Bugbee, who interviewed her.. In 2004 the Book ” Cooking With A Serial Killer” was released filed with 50 of Dorothea Recipes.
(Information Unauthorized Provided by The Sacramento Bee,and Wikipedia)