Maury Troy Travis
Mugshot of Travis
Maury Troy Travis
October 25, 1965
|Died||June 10, 2002(aged 36)|
|Cause of death||Suicide|
Span of crimes
|June 7, 2002|
Maury Troy Travis (October 25, 1965 – June 10, 2002) was an American murderer and suspected serial killer who committed suicide in custody in St. Louis County, Missouri, after being arrested for murder. Travis was named in a federal criminal complaint for the murders of two women. At the time of the murders, he was a hotel waiter and on parole for a 1989 robbery. While Travis claimed in a letter to have murdered seventeen women, some authorities were doubtful; others thought he may have murdered up to twenty women.
At least one videotape showing Travis murdering and/or torturing some of his victims was found in the search of his home in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. He is believed to have killed two women: Alysia Greenwade, whose body was discovered 1 April 2001 in Illinois (after having been last seen in Missouri), and Betty James, whose body was discovered about two months later in Missouri (after having been last seen in Illinois). Although Travis appears to have acknowledged at least seventeen murders, the police believe his victim count could be as high as twenty.
From May to October 2001, four other women were tortured and strangled: Teresa Wilson, Verona Thompson, Yvonne Crues and Brenda Beasley. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a profile piece on Wilson, to which Travis responded by sending an anonymous letter and a computer-generated map. The letter had a return address of I THRALLDOM, a bondage website, but no other identification. However, the map was recognized to have come from Expedia.com, and further investigation traced it back to Travis, leading to his arrest.
In his letter to the newspaper, Travis wrote, "I'll tell you where many others are." And then: "To prove I'm real, here's directions to number seventeen." Travis was arrested on a federal criminal complaint and, while in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, was housed at a St. Louis County jail facility in Clayton. Investigators discovered a torture chamber at Travis' residence, torture instruments, a stun gun, newspaper clippings of some of his crimes, and videotapes of Travis killing or abusing victims.
Before he could be put on trial for the crimes, Travis hanged himself on June 10, 2002, in his jail cell. Travis had been placed on suicide watch (i.e. checked upon at 15-minute intervals), however two consecutive checks were missed by the guards, allowing Travis his opportunity.
In the media
Forensic Files covered the story of Travis' crime spree in the episode "X Marks the Spot". Cold Case Files covered the story in the episode "A Map to Murder". Evil, I also covered the story in an episode "Hell's Basement".
After watching the Cold Case Files documentary on the A&E network, the current tenant of Travis' house found out about its history. It was revealed that her landlord, who would not return the money or break the lease when confronted, was Travis' mother. Upon being approached by the local housing authority, the landlord subsequently agreed to rescind the lease.
- "Internet Used to Find Man Charged in 2 of 10 Killings". The New York Times. 11 June 2002. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Suhr, Jim (11 June 2002). "Man charged with deaths of prostitutes". Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Simon, Stephanie (17 June 2002). "Virtual Trail Led to Serial Killer Suspect". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- "Serial killer's home movies". ABC Primetime. ABC News. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Ramsland, Katherine. "Murder Cop: A Profile of Vernon J. Geberth". truTV Crime Library. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Suhr, Jim (12 June 2002). "Inmate's Suicide Won't Stall Probe". Southeast Missourian. Associated Press. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Nagus, Chris (9 July 2014). "Catrina McGhaw: St. Louis woman finds out on TV she's renting serial killer Maury Travis' home". KMOV. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Woman found serial killer lived home watching TV". ABC Primetime. ABC News. Retrieved 24 October 2015.