Woman finds out her house was torture chamber through TV show

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — 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 dollars 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.

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18 comments

  • Mr. fn Right

    Must be nice having ur rent paid by us tax payers so u can afford several 60″+ flat screens and marble coffee table! Good help being misused and still gonna complain when its free! The nerve of sum bums these days!

    • bossladi71

      Forgive me but I think the major point is being missed.People were killed in this house. The mother even gave her the table from the crime scene photos, that’s just pure insanity. The mother was only interested in renting the property. Smh…..I wonder if the shoe had been on the other foot if she would want to stay in a property where multiple murders have occurred.

  • kris

    they should condem the house, it reminds me of the amanda berry case being tied up to a pole. Tear the house down and make a garden,

  • Jersey

    Wow, she has some nice things and a big screen television to enjoy ALONG WITH FREE RENT! Come on now, instead of helping this woman move out of a free house, we should be making her find a job and start working and paying her own bills, not asking for more help when she does not look like she needs it when you look at her home furnishings!

    • Jessica Matt Poff

      Granted, I would not want to live in this house either. Eerie just thinking about it. But you are so right. It just really floors me that WE, Hard working citizens are paying her rent for her to live in a nice house (though its dark past) and have all that nice furniture, big screen tvs. Yeah, I see clearly she needs help paying her rent (sarcastically speaking).

  • FaithC

    This woman has two big screen TVs, leather furniture downstairs, living room furniture upstairs, she has enough clothes that she has them hanging downstairs, and some other nice things. Must be so nice to have us pay her rent and $37 of her utility bill. I am sure we provide her with food stamps too.
    This pig needs to get a job.

  • C

    Guys forget section 8 for a minute murders happened there what about the victims. The murderers mom just wanted to get paid no one wants to live there the house should have been knocked down.

  • SMH

    For those b**ching about her personal belongings and being on Section 8 know your facts, you come off as jealous and hateful that someone that is granted Section 8 has nice things. What? Would you have her with shabby furniture and black and white 1950’s televisions? Know that Section 8 has very very strict rules and guidelines and some recipients work jobs so they can afford to buy nice things. As a tax paying citizen and former section 8 tenant you people would have been pi$$ed at the personal belongings in my home back then. SMH

    • Britt

      They should work to pay rent, that should be their first priority. They wouldn’t have those nice things if the working , tax paying people of this country didn’t pay their rent for them.

    • fed up

      ” some recipients work jobs so they can afford to buy nice things”….How about they “work jobs” so that they can PAY THEIR BILLS?! People like you and her are the reason this country is going down the tubes. I can’t even believe this. It seriously disgusts me. It’s AWESOME that the government takes 30% of my hard-earned income every year to give to pieces of garbage like you so you can “buy nice things” while living on MY dime.

      • Maravia Blount

        Shut up.. you all are not paying anyone’s rent.. people kill me calling people names as if you handed them your money. You do not know this persons’ story and why she is on section 8 you just think people should care about you individually like they know who you are. Think of it as charity and SHUT UP.!!

      • anonymous

        And where do you think they get the money for all the free hand outs?! Money doesn’t grow on trees… They take it from the people they tax, meaning our checks, that we work for. So yes, we do help fund that, and no I don’t think most people who use it genuinely need it. If I can survive on what I make, pretty much anyone can. And NO ONE gives me anything.

    • truth-hurts

      For FREE rent I would move in a flash.
      Nice house for Free.
      I don’t believe in ghosts or the boogeyman.

  • anonymous

    I agree with Britt! I pay for all my own things. I make 8.75 an hour and I am a single mom. If I can afford rent, a new car payment, and all my own food, just about anyone should be able to. People always have to live beyond their means. I have a couch from the 90’s, BC I couldn’t afford a new one. I don’t like excuses as to why people can’t afford food but have coach purses. Buy your necessities and live modestly. Don’t get it all free from the government and then spend your money on things society tells you that you need.

  • cg

    That’s not fair who wants to live in a house when a serial killer use to live there and torture women i don’t care about her living situation smh

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