The coroner on Thursday identified the second of seven bodies unearthed at a boarding house where police believe the landlady killed her tenants for their assistance checks and buried them in the yard.
The body was that of Alvaro "Bert" Montoya, 52, a former tenant whose disappearance prompted the initial police investigation, the coroner's office said.Police believe landlady Dorothea Montalvo Puente, 59, a petite, matronly ex-convict who spent nearly three years in prison for drugging and robbing bar patrons, killed tenants for their Social Security and other assistance checks. She was listed as a payee on some checks under a routine procedure to ensure that her often down-and-out and unstable boarders used their checks to pay their rent.
Although a suspect in seven deaths, Puente has been charged with only one count of murder, that of Montoya. The investigation started when Montoya vanished but his checks continued to be cashed.