Some folks go looking for love in all the wrong places. Everson Gillmouth was one such man. In the early 1980s, the seventy-something wood carver met serial killer Dorothea Puente while she was in jail for dosing elderly people in her care and stealing their Social Security checks. But Gillmouth, or Gil, according to the L.A. Review of Books, didn’t let a pesky thing like a history of violence and deception get in the way of what had to have been true love. So he continued to play pen pal with Puente until her release in 1985. He picked her up at a halfway house after she got out of prison, and the two began to talk about getting married. Gil apparently didn’t think it was suspicious at all when she mentioned she wanted to open a joint bank account with him.
Unfortunately for gullible Gil, he made himself a perfect target for the woman who would go on to earn the nickname the “Death House Landlady.” Not only did he invite the convicted criminal into his life, he also didn’t expect her at all when his benefits checks stopped coming in. He wrote the Social Security Administration in April 1986 asking them to send him his check. Despite the parade of red flags Dorothea Puente put up, Everson Gillmouth walked unwittingly into her trap and ended up paying a heavy price for his mistake.
Everson Gillmouth became one of Dorothea Puente's many victims
For some reason, although the courts had ordered that Puente not be able to work with the elderly or handle government checks, she was able to buy a boarding house with Gillmouth in Sacramento and get right back to exactly that. She targeted the city’s vagrant population, people without safety nets and suffering from addiction, homelessness, mental illness, and other vulnerabilities. The seven deaths (at least) by her hand in that boarding house between 1985 and 1988 were not reported, and Puente continued to receive their checks, forge their signatures, and collect their government benefits.
According to California Dreaming, Everson Gillmouth was not seen after moving to the boarding house with Puente. It is believed that he was in a wooden box she hired a handyman to throw into the river. Puente, however, continued to write Gillmouth’s family as though he were alive and sign his checks that came in the mail. The Los Angeles Times reports that his body was found in a wooden box on the banks of the Sacramento River on New Year’s Day, 1986. But Gil wasn’t the only person who was utterly clueless as to Puente’s murderous nature. Police didn’t dig up the seven bodies in her back yard until two years later.
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