Woman learns her home was scene of murder, torture

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St. Louis, MO — It sounds like a made-for-TV movie, but instead it’s a real life nightmare for one St. Louis woman.

It’s a typical North County ranch house on a tree-lined street.  Catrina McGhaw signed the lease without worry. Her section 8 voucher covered $810 in rent.

Until a family member told McGhaw to check out a cold case documentary about serial killers airing on the A&E network.

McGhaw is living in the same Ferguson, Missouri house serial killer Maury Travis used as a torture chamber. The landlord even gave her the dining room table; the same one from the crime scene photos.

“When she showed us the house, she said you can have this table if you want,” McGhaw said.

But it’s what happened downstairs that freaks her out the most. That’s where Travis recorded some of his crimes; at one point he sent the St. Louis Post Dispatch a map to identify victim 17.  Some of the victims were tied to a pole in the basement.

“This whole basement was his torture chamber and it’s not okay,” she said.

McGhaw called her landlord, begging to get out of the lease, but the landlord wasn’t sympathetic.

Turns out the landlord is the killer’s mom.

“She said ‘no you signed a lease you need to stay there until the lease is up.”’

News 4 called Travis’ mother; she claims she told McGhaw about the home’s dark past. McGhaw says that’s not true, she would have remembered the people murdered in the basement part.

A local agent said murders, suicides and violent crimes don’t require disclosure – only material defects need to be noted.

Although News 4 couldn’t get Travis’ mom to budge, the St. Louis Housing Authority did.

McGhaw says she will be moving at the end of July, which can’t come soon enough.

She says things keep getting weirder, and can’t stop thinking about an incident with a 2-year-old relative that was playing in the basement near the pole where Travis tied up his victims.

“She looked over and she was like she’s scared like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there, nobody there,” McGhaw recalled.

It’s not clear how many woman Maury Travis murdered. He killed himself in the St. Louis County Jail in 2002.


  • Chris

    Really? That is like crazy! The house didn’t do a thing, and it isn’t structurally unsound because of it. The killer isn’t still there to stake it out to do more. JMHO!

  • American

    Oh no Chris you might want to do some research friend . I know a preacher that deals with this kind of stuff it is called demon possession her is how it works . A Demon takes up residence in a place where crimes of this nature have been committed and stayes there . One family I know had bought a foreclosure house and ended up moving into the house . Well they had a boy and a girl and the teenage boy started having sexual feelings toward his sister that he didn’t have until they moved into this house . The parents got into contact with a evangelist by the name of Tom Sooter and he asked them to do research on the house . They did and it come to find out that the owners before had swinging relationships . They left a demon behind.

    • Dakota

      Hahahahahaha!!!!!!! Or, the kid started feeling what every male teenager feels… “Demonic possession” over a previous owner who was a swinger… Oh that makes me laugh

  • Jessica

    We bought a house a few years back and after we moved in found I started getting these creepy feelings… Then we find out that the previous owner that had built the house, ended up taking his own life in the driveway. It looked like they had patched over where he had done it with concrete? But, I was never comfortable knowing that had happened. Knowing that such a tormented soul so desperate that he took his own life had lived and died there was very unnerving. We have since moved out and I don’t know that the current owners are aware, but I think what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but once you do find out, it’s hard to not always have it in the back of your mind. Kinda like a dark cloud hanging over your home…

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  • David

    The first thing that struck me was that the renter gets $810 in federal housing subsidies!!! Taxpayers are competing against these people for rental units. No wonder rent is so high in many places. Next, I would NOT want to rent from a mother who would conceal what her son did in that house.

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