Maury Travis Tortured 17 Women In His Home, Now His Mom Rents Out His Murder House

In the early 2000s, Maury Travis lured sex workers from the St. Louis area into his home to video tape himself torturing and abusing them. Travis falls into a long line of killers who kept victims in their homes. He would sometimes keep the women he kidnapped in his house for days where he would make them do drugs and physically abuse them until he eventually strangled them to death.

But like many serial killers, Travis wanted to be a known entity: it's likely that Travis would still be adding to his list of victims if he hadn’t sent a letter to a local paper to taunt the police. His overconfidence loss is your gain: now his dungeon is one of the many murder houses that you can rent. After police caught up with this sadistic killer, his mother turned one of the all time creepiest serial killer murder basements into an apartment meant for the set of a horror film.


  • Travis May Have Killed 20 Women During His Murder Spree

    Travis May Have Killed 20 Women During His Murder Spree
    Photo: Forensic Files: Serial Killers / Trifecta Entertainment & Media

    Because Mauray Travis killed himself in jail before detectives could fully investigate his crimes, there's no way to know exactly how many women he killed. Authorities were able to identify the bodies of 12 of Travis' victims, all sex workers whose remains began turning up on desolate roads outside of St. Louis in the early aughts. A letter written by Travis himself that tipped the authorities off to his whereabouts boasted of a 17th victim, but authorities believe that he could have murdered up to 20 women in his home in suburban St. Louis. A detective on the case told ABC News, "He claims he killed 17 women. We're missing five of them.

  • He Filmed His First Kill Along With Eerie Narration

    He Filmed His First Kill Along With Eerie Narration
    Photo: rtfarr1 / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Thanks to Travis committing suicide after his arrest, it's impossible to know his true motivations behind killing so many women and recording himself while doing it. Many serial killers speak about a need to commit the horrific and violent acts that they do. Killers like BTK genuinely got off on the idea of killing someone, and Maury Travis fits right in with that. 

    Travis felt that what he was doing was so special that he filmed his first murder and kept the tape as a trophy among his possessions. In the video, he strangles a woman with a belt until she passes out on the floor as the killer monologues, "This is first kill. Number One. First kill was 19 years old. Name — I don't know. I don't give a f*ck."

  • He Filmed Most Of His Assaults, And He Labeled His Most Graphic Collection 'Your Wedding Day'

    In a sadistic twist to Travis' crimes, he filmed almost everything that he did in his torture chamber. In many of his home movies, Travis brings back a woman, smokes crack with her, and either has consensual sex before allowing them to leave or he brutally tortures and murders them. His worst crimes were captured on a VHS tape labeled "Your Wedding Day," which featured footage of Travis reenacting BDSM fantasies before strangling women to death. After viewing the tape, Police Chief Joe Mokwa ordered that everyone who saw the footage had to undergo psychological counseling. He told ABC News, "They'll give you nightmares." 

  • He Taunted The Police After They Found The Corpse Of A Victim

    He Taunted The Police After They Found The Corpse Of A Victim
    Photo: Forensic Files: Serial Killers / Trifecta Entertainment & Media

    After the police discovered Travis' first victim, she was written about in the local paper. Travis then began a very short cat and mouse game with investigators, writing a letter to the local paper — writing "I THRALLDOM" as a return address — that held a note which complimented the paper's "sob story" and offered up the location to his 17th victim. Along with the chilling note was attached a printed map of West Alton, Illinois, marked with an X. He told the police that if they went to X and walked 50 yards they would find the body of a woman decomposing in a field. 

    Either Travis wanted to play with the police for a while before they caught onto who he was, or like his Midwest brethren BTK, he was hoping that police would capture him. 


  • The Police Used Travis' Letter To Track Him

    The Police Used Travis' Letter To Track Him
    Photo: Forensic Files: Serial Killers / Trifecta Entertainment & Media

    After Travis brazenly sent a letter to the local paper with a map leading investigators to the body of one of his victims, the police managed to figure out exactly who he was by tracing his IP address. The map he sent the police was clearly printed from Expedia, so the police contacted the website and discovered that only one person had looked at a map of West Alton within the previous week. 

    Not only had the online map only been viewed by one person, but that same person zoomed in and enhanced the image until it looked exactly like the map that was sent to the paper. After that the police took the IP address,, to Microsoft and tracked down who owned that specific address. It belonged to someone with the screen name "MSN/maurytravis."




  • His Mom Rented Out His Murder House

    His Mom Rented Out His Murder House
    Photo: Forensic Files: Serial Killers / Trifecta Entertainment & Media

    In 2014 a woman named Catrina McGhaw moved into Travis' old place, which was still owned by his mother, and claimed that no one told her about the home's horrifying history. McGhaw found out about the location's gruesome history when a friend showed her an A&E documentary about Travis' crimes. After the discovery, she begged the killer's mother let her out of the lease but she was told that she was liable for the entire term of the lease. 

    While speaking with KMOV after she found out about her haunted house McGhaw said, "This whole basement was his torture chamber and it’s not okay.” In the state of Missouri, landlords don't have to disclose crimes that occurred on the property of a rental so there was legally nothing to be done. However the St. Louis Housing Authority stepped in and were finally able to negotiate a way for McGhaw to get out of her lease.