ST. LOUIS - A woman who discovered her rental home was the likely site of several slayings by a suspected serial killer is moving out early after appealing to St. Louis public housing officials when her landlord wouldn't budge.
Turns out the landlord is the accused killer's mother, according to CBS affiliate KMOV.
The station reports that Catrina McGhaw currently rents a house in Ferguson, Mo., that was once home to Maury Troy Travis. The 36-year-old waiter committed suicide in a county jail in 2002 after he was charged with killing two St. Louis area women. Police said he was a suspect in as many as 20 murders.
The lessee said she had no problems with the home until a family member told her to check out a cold case documentary about serial killers that was airing on television, KMOV reports. McGhaw was shocked to turn on the program and discover that her rented home was once a crime scene.
According to the station, Travis allegedly used the house as a torture chamber. McGhaw said the landlord even gave her the dining room table that was featured in crime scene photos of the murder investigation.
"When she showed us the house, she said you can have this table if you want," McGhaw told KMOV.
The home's basement - where Travis allegedly recorded some of his crimes - is what freaked McGhaw out the most. Some of the victims were discovered there, tied to a pole.
The woman told the station her landlord was unsympathetic. "She said, 'No, you signed a lease. You need to stay there until the lease is up,'" McGhaw said.
Travis' mother told KMOV that she had previously revealed the home's morbid history to McGhaw, a claim she denies. A local agent said murders, suicides and violent crimes are not things that landlords are required to disclose to potential renters.
However, the St. Louis Housing Authority has said McGhaw can break the lease and move out at the end of this month. The lessee told the station August can't come soon enough.
McGhaw said she can't stop thinking about an incident with a 2-year-old relative who was playing in the basement near the pole where the victims had been tied up.
"[The child] looked over... like she was scared. Like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there," McGhaw recalled to KMOV.