SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California woman who was convicted of killing her elderly tenants and burying them in the backyard of her boarding house died Sunday in prison, authorities said. She was 82.

Dorothea Puente ran a boarding house for elderly and disabled residents out of a rented two-story Victorian. She was known to give her tenants gifts and home-cooked meals.

But authorities said she was in fact drugging them and stealing their money. She was sent to prison for three years on those charges in the early 1980s, but reopened the boarding house after her release.

Police began investigating her again in 1988 after a social worker told them she suspected something was wrong at the home, The Sacramento Bee reported. The social worker, Judy Moise, had referred Alvaro Montoya, a 51-year-old mentally disabled homeless man, to the boarding house. Moise filed a missing persons report with Sacramento police when Montoya disappeared after a few months.

Days later, investigators began unearthing bodies in Puente’s backyard. Puente, however, escaped to Los Angeles during the digging. She was spotted in a bar there and arrested a few days later.

Authorities would eventually find seven bodies in her backyard.

Puente was convicted in 1993 of three murders — the jury did not reach verdicts on six other murder counts. She was given two life sentences and a concurrent 15-year-to-life sentence.

Puente died at around 10:15 a.m. Sunday of natural causes at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, State Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (8)
  1. lorie says:

    GOOD. one less convicted killer to worry about – now she can rot in HELL.

  2. Steve says:

    yep, pretty heinous stuff indeed. Silence of the Lambs anyone?

  3. Millie says:

    Dortheas house was just soldnto a family or couple. I hope they invest in a excersist and blessing. I feel like the murder victims are not at rest especially seven. Wow

  4. Fernando Jaramillo says:

    i wonder if they will just go ahead and bury her in the back yard of the prison.

  5. Phillip Ramos says:

    I love how the news people delete my comments. What happened to free speech. Delete this comment. I could use some money. My free speech being violated. LOL you guys can delete my comments but can’t delete a story from january. Pathetic.

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