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
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
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
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.