'Murder House Flip': The real story of serial killer Dorothea Puente who murdered 9 tenants after drugging them

Puente used to run a boarding house in Sacramento, California in the 1980s, who was found guilty of murdering her elderly and mentally disabled boarders


                            'Murder House Flip': The real story of serial killer Dorothea Puente who murdered 9 tenants after drugging them
Dorothea Puente (Sacramento Police Department)

A home is a place that defines comfort but is it possible to achieve that when you are living in a house of a serial killer? Quibi introduced 'Murder House Flips' with the hopes of changing the lives of people who have been living in these homes, but the secrets behind these mysteries are grave. The first episode of the show featured the house of Dorothea Helen Puente, a serial killer from the 1980s. 

Puente used to run a boarding house in Sacramento, California. She was found guilty of murdering her elderly and mentally disabled boarders. However, once the investigation was started, it was found that Puente killed nine people in total while there were still 6 unconfirmed cases under her name, as reported by the LA Times

Looking back at Puente's childhood, rough times and lack of proper parenting took away a happy childhood from her. Both her parents were alcoholic and did not lead a wealthy life. Her mother was a sex worker while her father tried committing suicide right before her eyes. When her parents failed to take care of her, she was sent to an orphanage where she was sexually abused. 

Puente ended up marrying at the age of 16 and welcomed two daughters from that marriage. However, a couple of years into the relationship, her husband left her. It was only after this that a series of events started which forced Puente to be in and out of jail, frequently. In the 1950s, she was sentenced to a year in jail after she was found guilty of forging signatures, as reported by allthatsinteresting.  

However, she was released from prison six months later on parole. After coming out of prison, Puente tried to relive her life. In 1968 she took over a two-story, 16-bedroom Victorian boarding house in California. Puente became quite famous among the crowd as she took in people who others would often describe as "tough". 

These included people who were alcoholics, drug addict and more. However, in reality, Puente was cashing in on their social security checks and taking the help of her psychotherapist to prescribe tranquilizers and use it to kill these people. It is believed that Puente collected nearly 60 checks. 

However, her crimes came to light when one of her tenants, Alberto Montoya, went missing. He was developmentally disabled and schizophrenic. Puente raised suspicions when one of the social worker who was looking into Montoya's missing report found that Puente's house was unlicensed. 

When she was questioned about Montoya, she informed the police that he had gone for a vacation. However, thew grew suspicious when they noticed disturbed soil which prompted them to get permission to dig the ground. However, she was not being considered as a suspect during this time. 

When the officers got permission to dig the ground, Puente asked them if she could go out to buy a cup of coffee. They agreed but she took this time to flee the place. Meanwhile, the police dug up the entire ground and found the body of six people. The search for Puente was still ongoing and it had been five days but there was still no news of where she was. 

Finally, they received a tip from Los Angeles. It was a man that Puente tried befriending at a bar. Unfortunately for her, the man recognized her from the pictures that were being showcased on television channels and immediately informed the police. She was charged with nine murders but Puente told the reporters that she hadn't done anything and was a good person. 

Throughout the trial, Puente's lawyer tried to paint her as a sweet grandma who did not commit any murder. Later, around 130 witnesses were called who testified against her. The trial disclosed that Puente used to drug people and then kill them. It also revealed that she used to hire people to bury them in the ground. The trial found Puente guilty and she was sentenced to a life sentence. 

She passed away in 2011 at the age of 82.

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