Netflix It: “Worst Roommate Ever”


Illustrated by Chris Callison

“The animation made everything scary #WorstRoommateEver” wrote @callmeaysiab on Twitter.

Savanna Yelling, Contributor

This docu-series features three roommate horror stories. Not the typical roommate complaints you may hear on campus about dishes in the sink, loud music, or messy bathroom counters, this series deep dives into the criminals who con and kill their roommates.

Between the chilling music, victim and expert testimony, eerie animations, and photos from the crime scenes, each episode of this four-part docu-series keeps viewers at the edge of their seats.

Netflix features the victims of these crimes to speak on their traumatic experiences. However, some of these “worst roommates” leave no victims to tell their stories.

The first episode of this series is “Call Me Grandma,” the story of Dorthea Puente is perhaps the most shocking of them all. Puente portrayed herself as a woman 20 years older than her true age. Her chiffon dresses, bags and daily makeup were a part of her act to be perceived as innocent to best take advantage of others.

Puente operated a home for the impoverished. She was seemingly a sweet old lady who aimed to help those in need in her community. What was portrayed as a group home turned out to be a slaughterhouse.

Puente’s life of crime began when she posed as a medical doctor to take advantage of elderly women, even administering drugs to them to rob them of money and their belongings. Puente was arrested in 1982, when articles were written on her crimes, other victims began to speak out.

Bill Monroe, son of victim Ruth Monroe, contacted a reporter after seeing an article on Puente in the local paper. He speaks in the episode about his mother and her experiences with Puente.

Monroe said his mother was Puente’s roommate and she drained her bank account whilst slowly poisoning her. He spoke in the first episode about Puente’s deceptive ways and how it lead to the death of his mother.

“Dorthea had talked about being a nurse at one time so we felt she knew what she was doing and that she would take care of her.” said Monroe.

Due to the lack of forensic technology, Monroe’s death was ruled a suicide. However, many, including Monroe’s son, believe that she was murdered by Puente.

“Mom did not commit suicide. Dorthea murdered my mother,” said Monroe.

Monroe was one of many relatives of victims that grew suspicious of Puente’s work. The local police departments took all of these complaints into account and began to dig up Puente’s garden, in which they found the remains of several of Puente’s victims.

Puente was responsible for an estimated 25 deaths. She was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder.

Other episodes include the stories of murderer K.C Joy, con artist Youssef Khater and serial squatter Jamison Bachman. Although they are not serial killers such as Puente, Netflix hones in on the trauma they caused their former roommates.

This docu-series and animation mash up is a unique portrayal of true crime. The animations were far more captivating than still images of the crime scene of the perpetrators, and the muted color palette used added an eeriness that typical true crime dramitization tends to lack.

“The animation made everything scary #WorstRoommateEver” wrote @callmeaysiab on Twitter.

“I just closed my eyes during the animation. The darkness in the eyes, the personality changes, and jump scares. TEEEEWWWW MUUUUCH #WorstRoommateEver” responded @kjsmithofficial