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

(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.)

A stock photo of a front door, hopefully one that doesn't lead into a serial killer's former home.
A stock photo of a front door, hopefully one that doesn't lead into a serial killer's former home.   (Shutterstock)
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