Where Is The Dorothea Puente Murder House Located?

Dorothea Puente was convicted of murdering three tenants of a boarding house she ran from 1985 to 1988, after a police investigation led to the discovery of seven bodies buried behind the property located at 1426 F St. in the Mansion Flats area of Sacramento, California. 

According to KCRA (posted on YouTube) the two-story Victorian style house was built in 1895. Puente started renting the home in 1985 after she was released from prison, where she'd served three years of a five-year sentence after being convicted of drugging patients at a boarding house she ran previously in 1982, per the Los Angeles Times. In 1978 she was convicted of check forgery involving her tenants' social security checks, so her track record for running a boarding house was shady at best.

While Puente had been prohibited from operating another boarding house, she did so anyway when she rented the house at 1426 F St. Seven of her boarders ended up buried in the back yard while she continued to cash their social security checks until she was caught at age 59. 

Dorothea Puente's boarding home was purchased in 2010 by a couple named Tom Williams and Barbara Holmes, per a short film titled "The House in Innocent," but by then it had already been dubbed a murder house. The couple said they thought the backstory was intriguing and that they could "overcome the stigma," Holmes said in the film, which was shown at multiple film festivals and later published by The Atlantic (also posted on YouTube).

Today Dorothea Puente's boarding house is a tourist attraction

Even though the house had a macabre backstory, its historical designation meant it could not be torn down, former homicide detective John Cabrera said in the documentary. And from Holmes' point of view, another bonus was that they got the four-bedroom, one-bath, 1,834-square-foot-home "for cheap," she said. According to Realtor the house last sold in 2010 for $226,000.

Williams and Holmes went to work renovating the place and trying to add a little eccentricity and cheer, but soon realized that no matter what they did, the public still considered the house a "murder house," so they decided to accept what is and try to make something good come from it. In conjunction with the release of "The House is Innocent" in 2015 Williams and Holmes opened their home to tours for a few hours one day and sold tickets whose proceeds would benefit an organization that helps the homeless, called Francis House, as many of Puente's boarders struggled with homelessness, per the Sacramento Bee.

Cabrera said in the film that he thinks the house has been reborn. "Yeah. Seven people were buried in the yard," he said. "Yes, this was a house of horrors, but it no longer lingers." Williams said, "We really put our heart and soul in here ... People love coming by the house, the whole darkness thing is gone ... You know, humor is great for healing."

Oxygen will air a documentary about Puente, "Murders at the Boarding House," on April 17.