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Leona Carpenter’s murder may not have ever come to light if it a social worker hadn’t followed up on one of her clients, Alvaro “Bert” Montoya. He was a man with mental health issues and developmental delays who had checked into Puente’s boarding house and subsequently disappeared. At first Puente claimed Montoya had gone to Mexico, per Sactown Magazine. As further investigation revealed, he had gone not far at all, but instead, he was dead and buried in Puente’s backyard. He had been poisoned. His was not the first body discovered behind Puente’s home. The first belonged to Leona Carpenter, per New York Post.

Additional victims of Puente’s include Everson Gillmouth, Dorothy Miller, Benjamin Fink, James Gallop, Betty Palmer, Ruth Monroe, and Vera Faye Martin. Each one had been poisoned, and some of them strangled, before Puente buried them. Many of Puente’s victims were on social security, and the checks continued to arrive at her address, which she cashed — all part of her plan. The condition of Leona Carpenter’s body when it was discovered reveals what a macabre place Puente’s home really was.

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