The Grandmother Opened Up Her Home to the Homeless, Then Her Tenants Started Disappearing One After The Other

The tragic case of Dorothea Puente

Lioness Rue
6 min readJun 11, 2022


Image from freepik

Dorothea was a kindhearted sweet grandmother.

She took in the homeless, alcoholics, and the sick as her tenants.

Dorothea stated,

“The only time the tenants were in good health was when they stayed at my home…I made them change their clothes every day, take a bath every day and eat three meals a day… When they came to me, they were so sick, they weren’t expected to live.”

But a strange thing happened.

Her tenants started disappearing one after the other.

The Homeless People Crisis in California

The number of homeless people in Sacramento, California, was going up in the 80s.

A woman named Judy had an outreach program to help alcoholics, the mentally impaired, and homeless people.

One of Judy’s clients, a fifty-one-year-old man named Alvaro Montoya, also known as Bert, wanted a home. Judy found Bert a place downtown.

Dorothea Puente owned the place.

Dorothea was a respectable matron in her seventies.

She was kind.

She funded charities, scholarships, and radio programs. Everyone saw her as a Fairy Godmother to the needy.

But, in November 1988, Judy called the police to file a missing person’s report. The missing person was Bert.

So, the police went to Dorothea’s home. Dorothea told the police that Bert had left with his relatives.

But, some of the tenants had news for the police.

One Tenant Asked the Police Officer for a Secret Meeting

One of the tenants told the police to meet him later on as the police headed out.

The tenant told the police that Dorothea had asked all tenants to lie for her. They were asked to say that Bert left with his relatives.



Lioness Rue

Blending true crime, history, and psychology to tell stories. Inspired by the magic of Love!