St. Louis woman says she learned home was a torture chamber in A&E documentary
By Jay Dillon
A woman watching a documentary about serial killers was astonished when one of the homes in the special turned out to be her very own. Catrina McGhaw of Saint Louis, Missouri signed the lease without worry, until a family member told her to check out a cold case documentary about serial killers airing on the A&E Network. As she was watching, the very home she was sitting in popped up on the screen. It turns out, the home she was renting for just over $800/month was the same house serial killer Maury Travis used as a torture chamber. The landlord even gave her the same dining room table pictured in crime scene photos. But it's what happened downstairs that freaked her out the most. It's the part of the house where Travis recorded some of his crimes, at one point sending the local paper a map to identify victim 17. "This whole basement was his torture chamber and its not okay," McGhaw said. It was too much for the woman to handle so she called her landlord, begging to get out of the lease. That's when the situation got even stranger. It turns out, the landlord wasn't just non-sympathetic, she was the killer's mother. "She said, 'No you signed a lease you need to stay there until the lease is up,'" McGhaw said. A local reporter called the landlord, who claimed she told her renter about the house's dark past. But McGhaw says that's not the case, and that she would have remembered the "people murdered in the basement" part. According to real estate expert Laura Wehnes at Keller Williams, murders, suicides and violent crimes don't require disclosure; only material defects need to be noted. The Saint Louis Housing Authority stepped in and McGhaw says she will be moving at the end of July. It's not clear how many women Maury Travis murdered -- he killed himself in the St Louis county jail in 2002.
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