by Susie Felber
Maury TravisIn March, Catrina McGhaw moved into a rented house in Ferguson, Missouri.
The house seemed fine except McGhaw claims her 2-year-old niece was playing in the basement when something freaky happened.
According to CBS News, McGhaw told local station KMOV, "[The child] looked over ... like she was scared. Like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there."
Of course a little kid running scared would never have made the news. Except for the fact that McGhaw learned that her rental, and specifically the basement, came with a secret dirtier than a toddler's diaper.
After a friend alerted McGhaw about a cold case documentary on TV, McGhaw learned that her current home was the home of suspected serial killer Maury Troy Travis, a hotel waiter who police say used the home as a torture chamber. Travis was a suspect in as many as 20 murders and committed suicide in 2002 after being charged with killing two women.
After watching the TV program, McGhaw saw graphic videos of her basement that police say were made by the suspect, including one of a nude woman tied to a pole before being killed by a belt. And McGhaw realized that the suspect's mother was her landlady and that even the free furniture provided had a tainted past -- a dining room table was seen in crime scene photos of the murder investigation. That might put a damper on your dinner parties, no?
Reportedly, the landlady didn't want to allow McGhaw to break her lease, but with intervention, she finally agreed to let her tenant move at the end of the month. So it's great McGhaw was able to break her lease, but was the landlord obligated to tell about what went on? Apparently, the law has something to say about it.
And what the law says in this state, Missouri, is that a landlord does not need to disclose. A representative from the St. Louis Housing Authority, who stepped in and helped end the lease, said that in other states, there are disclosure laws, but it's not for rentals and "mostly for selling houses."
Because the thing is, when you think about it -- the house wasn't unsafe, it was a former tenant who was unsafe. Was the landlord supposed to advertise it? Like, "Lovely 3 bd. home, wood floors, TV room, A/C, close to transportation, former house of my son the alleged lady killer but don't worry he knocked himself off in prison."
Perhaps it's grizzly -- OK, yeah, it's actually totally the most horrible thing to imagine continuing to live there -- but instead of freaking out and breaking the lease, perhaps the smart financial decision would be to negotiate a mega-major reduction in rent?
What do you think? Is this home haunted?
Would you ever be able to continue living in a place after finding out the grisly stuff that allegedly happened there?