FERGUSON, Missouri — 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 two 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.