Crime History: Boarders' bodies unearthed in woman's yard

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Nov. 11, in 1988, police in Sacramento, Calif., unearthed seven bodies in the yard of a grandmotherly woman's boarding home.

Dorothea Puente, 59, rented rooms of her Victorian to old and alcoholic boarders, she said, to help get them back on their feet. But police found that she killed her victims with prescription drugs and cashed their Social Security checks, spending the money on liquor and face lifts.

The city overlooked the smell emanating from outside the home until detectives visited Puente to look for a missing tenant. Investigators began digging around the backyard and found a decaying foot inside a shoe.

Puente was charged in the deaths of nine people, convicted of three and sentenced to life in prison. She died last year at age 82.

- Scott McCabe

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner