They had no idea what they would eventually uncover -- the bodies of seven people, buried in the garden around the home.
The Dorothea Puente case became one of California's biggest murder trials, and her crimes still captivate and haunt people to this day.
FOX40 dives deeper into the story with season two of our podcast, EXPOSED, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.
Episode One - The House
At 1426 F Street in Downtown Sacramento there's a charming Victorian with a dark history. It's where Dorothea Puente ran a boarding house, taking in elderly and disabled tenants. But in the fall of 1988, Sacramento Police Detective John Cabrera and his team dug up what he called "Dorothea's Graveyard." Was the grandmotherly woman a serial killer? Investigators were determined to find out.
Episode Two - The Chase
A suspect on the run. Seven bodies were found in the backyard of the boarding house at 1426 F Street and Dorothea Puente was gone. The grandmotherly criminal would soon be accused of nine murders. But how did they find her and who were her victims?
Episode Three - The Intrigue
In 1993, it was the longest jury deliberation for a murder trial in California history. Dorothea Puente went to prison for some of the deaths at 1426 F Street. Thirty years later was justice truly served? Did Dorothea have help committing her crimes?