Dorothea Puente was accused of killing nine elderly individuals and convicted of killing three. Many wonder about the background of such killers, especially women.
Throughout her life, Dorothea Puente was known to be a compulsive liar, claiming to be the youngest of 18 children, when in reality, she was the sixth. She often pretended to be the sister of the ambassador to Sweden and told many people that she and Rita Hayworth were close friends.
Childhood and Early Life
Many speculated that Puente began lying at an early age to gain attention. Puente was born in Redlands, Calif., in 1929, and her childhood was difficult, as her father died of tuberculosis when she was only eight, and her mother died in a motorcycle accident a year later. Puente and her siblings were split up and sent to live in many different places, and by the time Puente was 16 she was living in Olympia, Wash. There, she worked as a hooker and in a milkshake parlor.
Before long, she met 22-year-old Fred McFaul, and the couple were soon married in Reno. Puente claimed she was 30 years old on her marriage certificate and noted that she called herself Sherriale A. Riscile. Before long, the couple had two children. Puente moved to Los Angeles and McFaul left her. Puente’s children were raised by McFaul’s mother and adoptive parents.
Timeline: Life of Crime
By 1948, Puente had graduated from hooking to stealing and forging checks. She was convicted of forgery that year when she forged a check to buy clothing and accessory items, and Puente spent four years in jail. When she was released in 1952, she immediately broke with her probation and skipped town.
The same year, Puentes married her second husband, Axel Johansson. The marriage was a rocky one, but the couple stayed together for 14 years.
By 1960, Puente had been convicted of living in a brothel. Of course, she claimed that she did not know the establishment was a whorehouse and had only been visiting a friend.
in 1968, Puente married her third husband, 21-year-old Robert Jose Puente. The couple opened a halfway house together, and within a year the pair was divorced. The halfway house also closed with the marriage, as Puente had accrued more than $10,000 in debts in that year.
By 1976, she was managing a boarding house and married one of the tenants, Pedro Angel Montalvo. In 1978, she was convicted of forging 34 checks, sentenced to five years probation, and forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation. The psychiatrist diagnosed her as schizophrenic.
Soon, Puente’s crimes would become much more sinister.