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Four Bodies Found Buried Near Boardinghouse; Digging to Continue

November 13, 1988

SACRAMENTO (AP) _ The bodies of four elderly people were unearthed near a boardinghouse, one wrapped ″like a mummy″ in a table cloth, and police said the victims’ Social Security checks had been stolen and cashed regularly.

Police were looking for the manager of the boarding home, Dorthea Montalvo Puente, late Saturday, said police Lt. Joe Enloe. He said Montalvo, 71, was not prevented from walking away from the well-kept Victorian house earlier in the day, but police later decided they had sufficient evidence to arrest her for investigation of homicide.

″We do not believe she acted alone,″ Enloe said. ″Someone else probably had knowledge of what was going on.″ He did not elaborate, except to say that robbery was believed to be the motive.

Police said victims’ Social Security checks were cashed apparently after their deaths.

Montalvo was convicted in 1982 of grand theft in a case stemming from charges she drugged three elderly people and took their possessions after meeting them in bars, police said.

The remains of an elderly woman wrapped ″like a mummy, all the way up and around her head″ were discovered Friday when police received a tip there was a body buried in the yard, Enloe said.

The other bodies were discovered Saturday, one in a plastic bag, and digging was expected to continue for several more days, police said.

Police did not release the victims’ names, but said the elderly woman may have been buried since April. The victims did not meet violent deaths, Enloe said.

Police went to the house on Monday after neighbors reported that former tenant Bert Montoya had been missing since August.

There were eight rooms for tenants in the house, and at least three people were living there this week, police said.

The bodies were found in the back yard and along both sides of the house. Several recently planted trees had to be removed and a gazebo in the back yard torn down to uncover the graves, said Enloe.