Murder, mayhem, ghosts and live TV
Posted on Saturday, 27 November, 2010 | 3 comments
Columnist: Nancy Bradley
The Dorothea Puente Murder House in Sacramento, California at this moment is a powder keg waiting to explode. Especially at floor level. The percolating Victorian house located at 1426 F. Street is building to a crescendo with all the negativity and horror that has happened there. The release can only come when the women known to have caused the misery, killing so many and then burying them on the property, dies. The new owners are waiting and watching for strange occurrences at the property. They have plans to relax and live there eventually and hopefully in total peace and comfort. It is common that once a perpetrator of horrible crimes dies, the negative energy of what they created releases, having nowhere else to go. The imprint of the event can remain, but the charged energy will start to dissipate. This murderer's death is eminent and slowly closing in. Today, the property waits as it gives off an air of strangeness, uncertainty, pain and uneasiness. You easily feel vertigo at the site. And of course disruptive energy causes things to go haywire, which is typical on these kinds of investigations.
For those of you who do not remember, this home in Sacramento, California was the site of national headlines in the late 1980's. A known and repeated felon on several accounts, gray haired, pixie and 'cute as a button' soft-spoken grandma looking Dorothea Puente somehow fell through the bureaucratic cracks and was able to get yet another license as a care provider. She became well known in the community as someone who would take in ‘difficult’ cases, homeless, those with a history of drugs, violence and mental disorders. She set up ‘shop’ in a two-story blue Victorian house on an old section of Sacramento, a tree lined street with other beautiful and stately homes. Looking back, it must have seemed like a good place to hide a crime, it was a good neighborhood and only a few blocks from the Governors Mansion. Today, it's quite eerie traveling down, this unsuspecting street with the manicured lawns and yards only to remember what happened there. For quite some time, no one suspected anything strange or odd going on for a long time way back then though, with the exception of her immediate neighbors. The odor coming from the house and property was unbearable. They insisted on wanting to know what the ‘stench’ was that was coming from her yard. Sweet little old Ms. Puente made a host of excuses as she smiled at them - sewer problems, rats, to perhaps it being the fertilizer she used in the yard. Of course she kept one small fact to herself, and that was not mentioning that the majority of that fertilizer was human flesh decaying. Always the accommodating pleasant neighbor, old lady Puente tried her best to camouflage the odor coming from her yard with continual bags of lime and the planting of roses and trees and other plants with lingering flower smells. Puente kept a deep dark secret. She was drugging and killing her residents when they angered her or became too needy and annoying for her to deal with. Moreover, she got rid of most of the bodies by burying them in the yard. As a bonus, she continued to keep their social security checks coming in each month. It remained a lucrative business for her for a long while, bringing in as much as $5,000 a month off her dead ex-tenants checks.
Over time this little lady lavished herself with furs and designer clothes and some say expensive jewelry as well. It is told that she provided herself with an upstairs well stocked bar with the most expensive liquor, bottles of $100 perfume, and toiletries. Other than those perks she provided for herself, life went on for the outside world as if nothing was amiss in the life of Dorothea Puente for a good long time.
But then, fortunately, social workers began to notice that they could not make contact with some of the people that were supposedly living in that house. They alerted the authorities who, on these tips, decided to visit. On November 11,1988, Detective John Cabrera and some of his officers went to the Puente house looking for one of the missing persons, Alvaro “Bert” Montoya. By all reports this tenant was a mentally-retarded person. His social worker was worried about him and after visiting the Puente house and not finding him there, recorded him as missing.
Puente greeted investigators warmly at the door, wearing her standard one strand pearl necklace and nicely pressed blue dress. Friendly and inviting, she asked them in and stated she had no problem with them checking out the yard. When looking around the property the officers noticed newly disturbed dirt and to be thorough they called for shovels and started digging in the yard. Cabrera jumped into one of the holes thinking he was helping things along by pulling up a stubborn tree branch. To his dismay what broke off was a human leg bone. By the following day, Ms. Puente had to know they were on to her. Still, undaunted, she feigned no responsibility and in fact, appeared as shocked as the authorities when the bodies were unearthed from her yard. Over several days, neighbors and onlookers hung onto the wrought iron gate and perched themselves up in trees around the property as law enforcement officials, forensic anthropologists and folks from the coroners office dug up decaying, decomposing and skeletal remains of seven people – five men and two women. At one point during the excavation Puente asked if she could go 'down the street' to the Clarion Hotel for a cup of coffee. From there, with at least $3,000 in her purse, she went to a bar, chugged a few stiff drinks and hitched a ride out of town. When she did not return, an all points bulletin was issued. Puente was on the lam. Later two other deaths would be attributed to Puente, a woman thought to be Puente's business partner who had died earlier in the house of an overdose of codeine and Tylenol, and a man whose remains were found by a fisherman near the bank of the Sacramento River in a make-shift wooden coffin. She was eventually apprehended in So. California and brought back to stand trial for her crimes. She was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and today is serving her time in a Central California prison. Puente is currently in the hospital and is fighting cancer.
October 28th was the date of the first investigation. I, as the Celebrities Psychic, along with McClary from Good Day Sacramento, Robert Reppert of our Gold Rush Ghosts International Paranormal Investigations (WWW.GOLDRUSHGHOSTS.COM), my agent Bill Bradley of ME Communications, and Cat Noble, one of our head investigators, came to the scene early in the morning. It was foggy, cold, and a little damp - great atmospheric condition for an investigation. Besides all the other things that went wrong with the equipment, when the new owners arrived they gave us more bad news. They could not get the key to go inside the house until later that day. Undaunted, we decided to explore the outside grounds as that is where the bodies were buried, hoping to 'dig up' (pun, sorry) as much information as possible. When the cameras finally began rolling, McClary and I walked the property.
It was strange and eerie. Looking up to the house it felt like it was expanding and contracting. We went up the stairs to the second landing and McClary and I both felt off-centered. I asked the camera person to get a wide shot, so the audience could hopefully experience this with us.
During the second segment of the morning, we continued to walk the yard. A feeling of foreboding was there, solemn and still very off-centered. Twice I braced myself so that I did not fall over. Although cement had been poured over where the bodies were originally found, the lingering ghostly images (imprints of what happened) were easy to assess. Our meters went off the charts.
I was approached by one spirit, a man who called himself Gus and told us he was also known as Guy. He kept walking in circles, and as our time for this segment was limited we only followed him for a short time after which a man in spirit came into view. His name was Harold, and he wanted to tell me that he was someone living in the area at the time and that he did odd jobs. He stated that he had on several occasions helped dig holes in the yard. If he were referring to the time that Puente had the house this was great to know, because there was no way this little woman could have dug those holes without help. He stated later to me that he 'made a few dollars' for doing this, and he would be coaxed to continue digging as he was told the hole was not big enough for a tree to go into. When the dirt became too hard and packed to dig through he had 'help' as 'the woman' would soak the soil with water from the hose. He did not refer to the woman by name. There was more information for me to give our audience concerning this property than was known about at the time. I could sense an indentation at the front of the property and knew that a body had been buried there at one time and then dug up and placed elsewhere.
As time grew near to leave, we knew we had to come back at another time to go inside the house. We hoped the equipment would accommodate us and not fail on the next visit.
On Monday, November 8th, 2010, Marianne (GOOD DAY SACRAMENTO) and I, along with Reppert made our way back to the property with the cameras rolling. It was 7:00 am, a cold drizzly morning when we opened the door and went into the Dorothea Puente Murder House. It was an unnerving and a heartfelt assignment even for as seasoned an investigator as myself. I have been in worse situations such as conducting exorcisms with clergy or investigating facilities that tortured poor innocent people, and all of these places took a back seat to this house. I announced to our audience that there were two kinds of energy I was finding at this site, ghostly imprints (a videotape if you will of things that had transpired), and there were spirits of several deceased that were willing to talk to us. Of course you cannot communicate with a ghost, but it was not long before a man in spirit came forward and took my arm. I asked him prior to going on the air if he had something to say to me and to the audience. He told me "I dug my own grave." He looked sad remembering that time. He was a tall man so I had to look up to connect with those piercing eyes, and as I did I asked him "At the time, did you know it was to be your grave?" He answered "No, but it was." He also stated that when the earth was too hard to continue digging, Puente would pour water into the hole so that he could keep digging. "I kept saying that the hole was plenty big enough for a trees root," he said. "But she kept telling me that the hole had to be wider, not deeper." I looked at his calloused hands with cuts on them. I told him how sorry I was and shivered knowing this was his fate. He looked down, "I was poisoned" he said. "And she" he stated, "Too many pills."
As we walked on through the house, I noticed several places that were uncomfortable, especially on the first floor. It was known that Puente kept her tenants on the first floor, herself living upstairs. It was obvious that the upstairs of the building was more stately, groomed and well kept. And, there was less activity on the top floor. This unraveled a secret for GOOD DAY SACRAMENTO. In most reports of the time, it was stated that Puente when confronted with a difficult tenant she was about to dispose of, would tell the other tenants "I am going to take him/her upstairs and make them feel better." From my observation and from the energy, it was plain that she may have said that, but rarely did she ever take one of her charges upstairs but instead, as the night became quiet, took them into her kitchen where she slowly drugged and poisoned them. This made it quite convenient to drag them out the side door and into the waiting graves.
On this investigation McClary spoke with the current owners of the house. They stated that the activity that they have experienced so far is a banging and rapping sound that comes at night, every night, and at the same time. It appeared to be from the kitchen/stairs area. They investigated the first few times and found nothing...nothing they could see. Eerie. I promised to come back once they get settled in or at any time that they have a problem that they are concerned about or need my expertise for. They do need more answers. I have come to love these people, the deceased as well as the new owners of the property. If they get through moving in over the holidays, my crew is prepared to come back in January with our special equipment and record any continual ghosts and spirits that roam the property.
This is an ongoing investigation. As you know spirits come and go. There is much more we will be investigating as things transpire. And so we wait!
As a side note, a person emailed me and said "I was baby-sat as a child by Dorothea Puente in that house. My mother thought she was a sweet old lady." Another woman stated, "My mother worked for the state and recommended the Dorothea Puente facility to several difficult people to place. Two of them eventually were found dead and buried on the property. Today she feels terrible about it." I told her to tell her mom she did nothing wrong, she was a victim of circumstance, there was no way she could have known.
Sad story. Lovely House. Shudder!
The segment can be seen by going to GOODDAYSACRAMENTO.COM and pull up NANCY BRADLEY.
The Celebrities Psychic NANCY BRADLEY is one of the top ten Psychics and Life Coaches in the world. She is the best selling author of many books, among them THE INCREDIBLE WORLD OF GOLD RUSH GHOSTS, BE A GHOST BUSTER WITH INVESTIGATING THE UNKNOWN (her television show) and BIZARRE AND GHOSTLY TALES FOR THE CAMPFIRE. She currently lives in the Sacramento area with her husband, her 7 cats and two dogs where she conducts Readings and Life Coaching Sessions and teaches psychic development classes. She is a regular on Good Day Sacramento, Channel #31, KMAX.
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(530) 622-0977Article Copyright© Nancy Bradley - reproduced with permission.