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Grandmother Kills Seven People After Lacing Cake With Poison

Hiding behind the mask of a little old lady, Dorothea Puente - who ran a boarding house - would offer her tenants some freshly-baked cakes.

Enthusiastically accepting the freshly-baked treats, her guests would gulp a slice down in front of the seemingly sweet old lady, not knowing they were laced with sleeping pills, rendering her pray incapacitated in their beds.

Over a period of a decade, Dorothea Puente suffocated seven of her tenants before burying their dismembered bodies in a mass grave in her garden. 

The petite, silver-haired old lady - who died in 2011 - rented out rooms in her Californian duplex to boarders (primarily the disabled and elderly), and took their social security cheques for herself. Her tenants tended to be wards of the state, meaning most didn't have a family that would come looking for them if they went missing. 

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It wasn't until the 1988 disappearance of Alberto Montoya that Dorothea Puente's plan came to a halt. The police were initially suspicious of the grandmother until they arrived at the property to find a smartly-kept home and an elderly woman with a sweet personality.

From the perspective of the authorities, she was just an innocent old lady. 

It wasn't until they investigated her backyard that they felt something wasn't right. They discovered a suspicious mound of soil among her vegetable patches and rose bushes, prompting authorities to dig up the yard.

It was here that they discovered the body of 78-year-old Leona Carpenter, as well as six more corpses. Some were wrapped in cloth, sheets and tape, and others were missing their head, hands and feet.

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An autopsy showed that the victims had been poisoned, with Dorothea admitting to lacing her tenants' meals with lethal amounts of sleeping pills. Once unconscious, she would then suffocate them with a pillow, and move their bodies to holes in the garden, which had already been dug up by ex-prisoners she had hired. 

The reason behind the murders? Money.

Dorothea Puente made approximately close to $8,000 a month from cashing her 'missing' tenants' social security cheques.  

In 1993, the corrupt landlady was convicted of three murders, and received three life sentences. 

Up until her death in 2011, the 82-year-old maintained her innocence, insisting that he tenants had died of natural causes. However, questions around the reason they all ended up buried in her garden remained unanswered.

The current owners of the house have opened their doors, allowing people to tour the crime scene. The 'museum' features mannequin reenactments, and the exact spot where Puente allegedly drained her victims bodies of blood. 

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In 2014, the mannequin monument of the grandmother - which donned a replica of her wielding a shovel - was stolen and dismembered, despite being bolted to the front of the house. 

Dorothea Puente is one of the world's most famous granny-killers, giving a new meaning to the term 'money hungry'. 

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