If you’ve never heard of Maury Travis, you can watch the video above, or read this or this. He was a serial killer who predominantly murdered prostitutes — potentially as many as 17 — in the St. Louis (Ferguson, Missouri) area around 2000-2002. He hung himself in jail in 2002 before officially confessing to any of the murders, however. If you click that second link above, there’s some fairly sordid stuff about him and his videotaping of some of the murders; the police chief in the area apparently ordered psychological counseling for anyone who had even watched the footage. Insane.
Here’s where the story gets a lot weirder, 12 years after Travis himself committed suicide: his mother, Sandra, is still the owner of the home where the torturing occurred. And she’s leasing that thing out! Catrina McGhaw rented it from Sandra, and of course, Sandra made no mention of what had happened there. McGhaw found it out via watching a documentary on television. Needless to say, she wanted out of the lease. But, um:
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.
Now get this, though: technically, a landlord doesn’t have to disclose anything about horrors in the home’s past. In this county, you only need to report physical defects of the home (I assume that’s true for a lot of counties, actually). The St. Louis Housing Authority eventually intervened, and McGhaw is moving at the end of this month, despite what Sandra Travis said. But damn, this is a weird story.
On the one hand, I can’t relate to what the mother of a serial killer (suspected or otherwise) must go through. She probably wants to put the whole thing squarely in the past, so she keeps flipping over that house. She’s legally in her right to do that; ethically, perhaps not so much. As for McGhaw, I doubt she believes in curses and hauntings and all that, but regardless, it’s a messed-up situation to be in. She apparently has a two-year old daughter who periodically would play by the same pole in the basement where Maury Travis tied up women. So I get the need to get out as quickly as possible.
St. Louis should probably raze the house, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen either.