Woman Watching TV Learns of Her Home's Violent Past
Her landlord is the mother of an alleged serial killer, and it only gets worse
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2014 8:22 AM CDT
A stock photo of a front door, hopefully one that doesn't lead into a serial killer's former home.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – When Catrina McGhaw signed a lease on a house in Ferguson, Mo., she didn't think to ask whether she'd be living in a former torture chamber. But when a family member told her to watch a documentary about serial killers on A&E, there was her house—including the basement where many killings took place, the beam women were tied to, and even the dining room table—given to her by the landlord—found in crime scene photos. That landlord, the mother of alleged serial killer Maury Travis, claims she told McGhaw about the home's dark history, but McGhaw tells KMOV she'd remember the bit about multiple murders in the basement.

It turns out Missouri is one of 47 states that doesn't require the disclosure of a "psychologically impacted property" involving murder, suicide, or violent crimes when selling a house; in 15 states, a would-be buyer or renter must be told if they specifically ask. Ever since McGhaw found out she was living in Travis' home, though, she has been haunted, and the St. Louis Housing Authority has helped her break the lease early, reports ABC News. Travis, who boasted about 17 victims in a letter and made a map of where one of the bodies was buried, was never actually charged with murder; he killed himself in his cell a few weeks after being arrested for kidnapping. ABC News in 2003 reported that police found a nightmarish video in the home, labeled "Your Wedding Day," that showed some of the torture. (Meanwhile, it took 33 years to find this man and charge him with murder.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Woman Watching TV Learns Her Home's Murderous Past is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 29 comments
Jul 11, 2014 9:02 AM CDT
It was her responsibility to research the property she was going to lease, and it is unfair for the St. Louis Housing Authority to break her Section 8 lease just because she's an idiot. She should have to pay the rest of the lease in full if she wants to move. Also, screw Section 8 for bringing people who can't afford to live in a certain neighborhood into it in the name of "diversity" which usually means ruining the neighborhood with drugs, violence and noise. The people who live there work hard to afford to live there, meanwhile "underserved" people just get free money for doing nothing!
Jul 10, 2014 1:52 PM CDT
Granted, Travis amphetamine use probably had a lot to do with his propensity for torture and murder but I find it hard to believe that the fruit fell all that far from the tree. Lots of Americans are amphetamine users but they don't become some of the most notorious serial killers since H.H. Holmes. Mom likely has more than a few screws loose herself. Anyone else would have wanted to just sell the property, not rent it and keep the house and furniture to hold on to a few "dear memories".
Jul 10, 2014 1:32 PM CDT
"Ever since McGhaw found out she was living in Travis' home, though, she has been haunted" Yet without this knowledge she was perfectly happy. Ignorance truly is bliss.