Travis, a 36-year-old hotel waiter, hanged himself in jail before admitting to any of the murders, but St. Louis police believe he killed between 12 and 20 women. They have identified 12 of his victims as drug-addicted prostitutes whose bodies were dumped along city streets and country roads in the St. Louis area between March 2001 and May 2002.
When police in St. Louis searched the home of suspected serial killer Maury Travis last summer, they found a secret torture chamber in the basement, with bondage equipment, a stun gun and clippings about the slayings he was suspected of. But, most chilling of all, they found a videotape containing footage of his crimes. The tape, labeled “Your Wedding Day,” showed Travis tying women up and torturing and raping them. One scene showed him apparently strangling one of his victims to death. The scenes on the tape were so disturbing that Police Chief Joe Mokwa ordered psychological counseling for the officers who viewed them. “They’ll give you nightmares,” he told ABCNEWS’ Primetime.
But in a letter Travis sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — which helped lead police to him — he boasted of killing 17 women. “He claims he killed 17 women. We’re missing five of them,” said Mokwa. St. Louis police released excerpts from the videotape to ABCNEWS, which are being broadcast nationwide for the first time on Primetime Thursday.
Police believe Travis picked up prostitutes along a strip of Broadway just north of St. Louis that is riddled with crack houses and prostitution, then took them to his ranch-style home in Ferguson, a nearby suburb. They found numerous videotapes in Travis’ home showing him giving the prostitutes crack cocaine to smoke, then having consensual sex with them. He apparently let some of the women leave at that point.
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