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Buried Beneath the Boarding House

A Shocking True Story of Deception, Exploitation and Murder
Narrated by: Steve White
Length: 3 hrs and 57 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1988, detectives from the Sacramento Police Department were called to investigate the disappearance of a man at his last known address - a boarding house for the elderly, homeless, and mentally ill. The owner, Dorothea Puente, was an adorable old lady who cared for stray cats and the rest of society’s castaways. She had a strong standing in the community and was celebrated for her selfless charitable work.

The search revealed nothing untoward but one of the guests recalled some unusual incidents leading up to the disappearance. He shared stories about holes being dug in the garden and filled in overnight. Guests who were taken ill and vanished overnight and a number of excuses why they couldn’t be contacted. This was enough to launch a thorough investigation and on November 11, 1988, the Sacramento police department headed back to the boarding house with shovels in hand.

Were they wasting their time pursuing a charming and charitable old lady or were they closing in on a clandestine killer who exploited the most vulnerable members of society? The investigation gripped the entire nation and the answers lay buried beneath the boarding house.

Ryan Green presents a dramatic and chilling account of one of the most bizarre true crime stories in American history. Green’s riveting narrative draws the listener into the real-live horror experienced by the victims and has all the elements of a classic thriller.

Warning: This book contains descriptive accounts of abuse and violence. If you are especially sensitive to this material, it might be advisable not to listen to it.

©2019 Ryan Green (P)2019 Ryan Green

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Profile Image for Polly Poizendem
  • Polly Poizendem
  • 25-12-2019

Her Wonderful Rose Garden . . .

This might be one of my favorite Ryan Green books so far! It’s amazing how much you can get away with when you’re nice, sweet and VERY helpful to those around you! Quite convenient if you ALSO happen to be in the business of knocking off the sick and elderly that get government checks. And she did it without hardly batting an eyelash it seems. Done. Nexxxxxt. She apparently didn’t have a care in the world or even consider that she’d ever get caught. Im sure her rose garden must have looked absolutely stunning with all that ahem....natural fertilizer. I thoroughly enjoyed how this story was told. Never a dull moment, it just rolled along wonderfully. The trivial details that set the scene truly make it come to life! The narrator is most pleasant, and makes it easy to listen to despite the subject matter. I was gifted this in exchange for a review - and if I had used a credit, I still would NOT have had any regrets. I liked this, and will for SURE listen to it again! Especially if my roses start looking poorly . . .

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  • Sistaseven
  • 09-12-2019

Sweet evil old lady

I had heard about Ms. Dorothea Puente before and always wanted to know more, thus I couldn't wait to listen to this one. It was what I had suspected, a very interesting lead up to the murders at the boarding house. Little Ms. Puente had quite a past, quite a salacious past. She had a hard knock life and a determination to pull herself up by her bootstraps, but eventually things went too far and she gave in to evil. This was a great telling of her life's story and ALL the gruesomeness that went down at the boarding house. I really like the narrator as well, his voice is almost like a throw back to those old movies. I don't know how to explain it but his voice just makes listening to the story more enjoyable. Steve White is now my 2nd favorite narrator. -This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

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  • David
  • 02-11-2019

Slightly Tamer but Still Thrilling

Ryan Green writes True Crime books that don't just report on gruesome murders or a psychopath's life of horrific acts. He has a way of pulling the listener deeper into these dark stories of murder, psychological degradation and mayhem, often from inside the killer's head, rather than telling the story from a reporter's 3rd person remove. No author I've read does that better, and it makes every book of his a new experience that I found to be just as compelling as his many other books. "Buried" tells the story of a deeply disturbed woman who slowly becomes a serial murderer, committing her crimes with a psychopath's intellect and total lack of remorse, while showing the world around her a surprising likability, charity and social charm, What is most interesting to me about this particular murderer is the horrible intelligence she brought to her task, setting herself up as a caregiver to dozens of the most vulnerable and least connected humans available: homeless alcoholics, drug addicts and mental patients. She found them at bars and hospitals, offered them a place to live and a caregiver to help care for them, and one by one they would move in with their killer. Then, at a leisurely pace, she would drug, rob and murder them before burying them in her garden. Nobody in the outside world missed most of them --- she was actually celebrated as selfless and charitable for taking society's discards in and caring for them. Once a room or two were "vacated," more and more victims just walked into her doors, often assisted by government agencies and legit homeless or rehab charities. It was striking and quite sad how most of her victims genuinely liked and appreciated her, right up to and including the moment when the drugs knocked them senseless so Dorothea could kill them. As with some of Green's other subjects, she even recruits an accomplice who helps her move and bury the bodies as she gets older and more frail. The story of a killer's willing and worshipful accomplice -- who isn't a murderous psychopath but openly assists one --- is always fascinating to me. Because Dorothea mostly murdered with drugs, this story isn't as violent or gruesome as many True Crime stories, but even though I've come to appreciate those more shocking true stories for what they are, this one didn't suffer from the lack of it. The narrator is one of the handful Green uses to read all his books, and he did an equally good job with "Buried." That professional narration, coupled with Green's propulsive writing style and an unusual and fascinating subject, makes "Buried" a True Crime book that just about any fan of the genre should enjoy.

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  • Kayla Krantz
  • 21-12-2019

Maintaining an Image

Before there was Aileen Wuornos there was Ms. Dorothea Puentes. A lot of serial killers start out by having terrible childhoods, and I wasn’t surprised to find out Dorothea was no different. It seemed though that a lot of her problems growing up were caused by her inability to see the world for what it was. She wanted to be what she wasn’t and did what she had to do to make that image a reality. Since this happened in a time when mental illness was taboo to talk about and the scope of mental health was different, I wonder what she could’ve been if she had her illnesses properly diagnosed and cared for. Image was so important to Dorothea that she literally killed to maintain it. It's crazy to think that just about anyone can be a killer if their desires push them toward it. Dorothea didn’t murder her boarding house inhabitants for pleasure, she did it for monetary gain. Even though she looked to be nothing more than a sweet old lady with a heart of gold, she was nothing but pure evil. This audiobook left me with a lot more thoughts than Ryan Green’s books usually do. I wonder a lot about how she maintained such order over the boarding house members, and how she got so many of them to stay quiet about what she was doing for so long. Regardless, this is a very fascinating audiobook. Steve White did a perfect job with the narration as always. This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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  • Milica
  • 03-11-2019

An epic and memorable true crime story

Dorothea, a seemingly sweet and kind old lady caring for the elderly and mentally ill, had a secret no one could ever believe. Ryan has yet again described an amazing true crime story. He clearly does proper research and takes factual elements of a story and makes them into a masterful story. I have heard many of his true crime stories and he never disappoints. He is the best true crime writer i have ever experienced. Steve is a fantastic narrator and i thoroughly enjoyed his performance. The Ryan and Steve duo for true crime audiobooks is the best i have ever heard and i recommend this story as well as all of the other true crime books written by Ryan. Thank you for such an awesome and entertaining story! Note: This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this objective review voluntarily.

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  • Gadennas
  • 29-10-2019

Well done, and the narrator does a very good job.

I have read the e-book and enjoyed it very much, but it absolutely did not take away from the enjoyment of the audio book, the narration was very well done, and the narrator managed to do the voices with enough difference that you didn't have to think about who the character was.So overall it is more than worth listening to even if you have read the book.

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  • Andrea
  • 29-09-2020

a good disturbing story

I really liked this story and the narration was good too. Easy to listen to. The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because a few times I had to rewind and listen again because I got confused or lost. That's because of the story line. The main character fabricated so many stories about her life that I sometimes got lost as to what happened. This happened early on and as the book went on it made more sense and got better. I still think its a good book and I suggest it just not a favorite of mine. I did enjoy that you get to hear about her some life and what made her the person she was.

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  • txdoc
  • 21-02-2020

Sweet little ol' lady???

In Sacramento, California, during the 1980’s there was a most unexpected serial killer at work who was ostensibly providing room and board to various disadvantaged individuals including the elderly, the mentally ill, alcoholics, and addicts. In reality, however, she was stealing their benefit checks and burying her victims out in her garden. This is the story of Dorothea Helen Puente which, understandably, drew a frenzy of media attention when her treachery was finally exposed. Ryan Green has once again penned a riveting expose that draws you in and firmly holds your attention from start to finish. The story flows smoothly and with such explicit detail that you can picture the events in your mind as clearly as if watching them unfold on the big screen. If you choose to listen to the audio version of this book you will be treated to another impeccable performance by the narrator, Steve White. I always look forward to the collaboration of this author with this narrator as they never fail to provide an educational and enjoyable experience. While I did purchase a copy of this story in The Ryan Green True Crime Collection: Vol. 4, I was provided with an audio copy of the story by the author for which I am voluntarily offering my honest and unbiased review.

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  • C
  • 10-02-2020

Another winner

Ryan Green does it again. He packs such a punch into his short stories you literally have to listen to them in one sitting because you can’t stop. This one chilled me to the bone thinking about how a little old lady could commit such crimes. Expertly done!

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  • Ann Beauregard
  • 07-02-2020

Must read

Once again the author has not disappointed, he has a great talent for sharing TRUE CRIME incidents. He stayed on topic and giving the meat and potatoes of the crime(if I dare to say with some of the criminals he has written about). Look forward to his next.

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  • Cindy
  • 21-08-2020

A complete biography of a killer.

A superb biography of the life of a murderer. From birth to death Ryan Green gives you the insight of how a killer is created both by nurture and nature. A really good narrator who reads the words, exactly as Ryan Green would want them to be read. He leads you through the labyrinth of the many pathways and decisions made by the serial killer to her final demise.

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  • Pixar.Kitten
  • 07-11-2019

Excellent!

Absolutely loved it! Steve White, as always, did an absolutely fantastic job of bringing Ryan Green's book to Audible. Normally, when Ryan tells us about a murderer, I find something to empathise with, some tragedy that made the person into what they are or were. Not so in this case. This woman was just plain evil. She didn't kill out of some misguided ideal, or some head injury /mental illness, not can we blame drugs. Sure her childhood wasn't ideal, but nor was it the worst ever. (Though yeah, it WAS bad). To summarise, Ryan has yet again written a book worthy of 10 stars, and Steve deserves the same for his reading! Thank you to both!