House of horrors: Woman’s home was once torture chamber of serial killer

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – It sounds like a made-for-TV movie, but instead it was a real life nightmare for one St. Louis woman.

When Catrina McGhaw signed the lease  on her typical North County ranch house, she had few worries. Her Section 8 voucher covered the $810 rent.

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

McGhaw then discovered the house she rented was once the home serial killer Maury Travis used as a torture chamber. The landlord even gave McGhaw the same dining room table seen in 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 freaked 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 said her landlord was not 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.”’

Travis’ mother later told news reporters she told McGhaw about the home’s dark past. McGhaw said that was 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.

The St. Louis Housing Authority intervened on McGhaw’s behalf. McGhaw said she will be allowed to break her lease at the end of July.

She said she can’t stop thinking about an incident with a two-year-old relative who 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.

Source: KMOV


  • iqdou

    oh boo hoo…..she should just be thankful she has us taxpayers to thank for her section 8 and quit whining.

    • Jenny McClease

      Speaking of whining, stop whining over your tax dollars like you will ever see it again. Taxes also goes toward public schools, I guess you want to see those closed down too.

  • bunnychi75 (@bunnychi75)

    Really??? Would YOU live there, then?? Something tells me NO! That’s just like with Jeffery Dahmer’s house: NO ONE BOUGHT IT!! No one would touch that sucker with a 20 ft. pole! To this day, it’s STILL unsold! Why?? Because NO ONE wants to live in a house that a serial killer used to live in!

    • iqdou

      if it was basically a free roof over my head (paid by taxpayers) h3ll yeah I’d live there. Not EVERY property for rent is rented to those with section 8 vouchers you know…

    • Lemora Smitt

      Thats because people are weak sheep. The house itself has nothing to do with the crimes that happened there. The person who committed them does. Thats like blaming a gun for a shooting. If I liked a home, and I liked the price, and I liked the area, I would buy it, not because of what did or did not happen there, but because I’m not a feeble minded fool.

  • The Don

    Give me a break …I guess she wants a $1000 a month home paid for by the people…or would she rather live in public housing…why is this even news?? I guess she wants $$ for pain and suffering as well !!

  • ChiefSlapaHo

    She is living there on the taxpayers dollar…If she doesn’t like it the answer is simple…Quit suckling on the government teat and go live in a cardboard box…

  • Jenny McClease

    That is very creepy! I wouldn’t want to live in a house with a murderous past. I could understand why she would be upset about it. Regardless if the woman is poor and needs a Section 8 voucher to keep from “living in a cardboard box” she is still entitled to her own opinion. If my memory serves me well, a Section 8 voucher only pays a portion of the rent, the recipient has to have a job or some form of income to cover additional costs. It’s easy to make negative comments under faceless usernames.

Comments are closed.