Travis (October 25,
1965 – June 10, 2002) was an American serial
killer who committed suicide in a St. Louis
county jail, after being arrested for murder.
Travis murdered at least 12 prostitutes, and
claimed to have killed 17, all in separate
incidents between 2000 and 2002 in his home in
He was caught
when he anonymously mailed a map to the body of
one his victims to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
which was later found to have come from
Expedia.com and linked to his computer.
Serial Killer Caught By
His Own Internet Footprint
By Peter Shinkle - St.
June 17. 2002
FBI and police tracked down suspected serial killer Maury
Troy Travis, they didn't need bloodhounds, lab tests,
fingerprints or other standard tools of criminal
agents simply tapped into the wealth of information that
Microsoft Corp. and other Internet companies keep on people
who visit their Web sites and use their services.
stunning breakthrough in what had seemed a difficult case
underscored why such information is a valuable resource for
police -- and sometimes a concern for civil libertarians.
arrest June 7 was set in motion two weeks earlier, when a
Post-Dispatch reporter received an anonymous letter praising
a story profiling a slain prostitute. Accompanying the
letter was a map of part of West Alton, marked with an "X"
to show where a body could be found.
finding a skeleton there, authorities focused on the map,
which appeared to have a come from an Internet service.
Detectives found an apparent match on Expedia.com, according
to affidavit by FBI agent Melanie Jimenez.
30, Expedia told Jimenez that Microsoft, based in Redmond,
Wash., provides the information for its map site.
FBI, using a subpoena, requested records of any maps of West
Alton made between May 18, the date of the newspaper story
that spurred the letter, and May 21, the postmark on the
envelope. It took four days to get an answer.
3, Microsoft reported back that only one computer had done
it. The company said that on May 20, the computer had "zoomed
in on the map of the West Alton, Missouri, area
approximately 10 times in a chronological order to end with
an exact match of the map" sent to the Post-Dispatch,
Jimenez said in the affidavit.
Microsoft could provide no name. Just an address that is
meaningless to most people: It was the Internet Protocol
address of 18.104.22.168.
translate the IP number, the FBI turned to WorldCom Inc.,
which provides local telephone numbers to connect Internet
services to their dial-up customers. WorldCom assigns a
temporary IP address to each customer for each Internet
session. The question wasn't just who used 22.214.171.124,
but who used it at the time in question.
day, on June 4, WorldCom's Internet division, UUnet,
identified the user the evening of May 20 as MSN/maurytravis,
Jimenez said. The MSN stands for Microsoft Network.
went back to Microsoft Network later the same day to
identify the customer. It was Maury Troy Travis of Ferguson.
the groundwork for surveillance and, on June 7, an arrest
and search warrant that authorities said helped solidify the
case with DNA and tire tread evidence linking Travis, a 36-year-old
waiter, to some of the killings. He was charged with two
counts of kidnapping in federal court documents that also
linked him to seven murders overall. Police think he may
have killed 10 or more.
17, without ever admitting guilt, Travis hanged himself in
left on the Web
appeared that Travis had been unaware of the ease with which
Internet use can be traced. In fact, it is that lack of
awareness - coupled with the easy use of technology by law
enforcement and the sheer abundance of information on the
Web - that troubles civil libertarians.
users are not aware of the tracks that are left behind when
they surf the Web and visit various sites," said David Sobel,
general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center
users have an illusion of anonymity when they use the
Internet, which a case like this demonstrates is not well-founded
because there is quite a bit of traceability on the
Internet," he said. Sobel said that is why he supports
strengthening the protections already in federal law.
Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 requires
federal law enforcement agencies to take various steps to
obtain information from Internet companies. The law requires
prosecutors to issue a subpoena or obtain a court order or a
search warrant from a judge for certain types of information.
allows prosecutors to accept information given voluntarily
by an Internet company.
Department of Justice described the law as "unusually
complicated" in a manual for prosecutors published last year.
"Navigating through ECPA requires agents and prosecutors to
apply the various classifications devised by ECPA's drafters
to the facts of each case before they can figure out the
proper procedure for obtaining the information sought," the
left unclear whether a simple subpoena could obtain an IP
address or if a prosecutor needed an order signed by a judge,
said Cindy Cohn, attorney for the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. It is a civil liberties group based in San
the lack of clarity meant prosecutors did need a judge's
order. But Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said
the agency believed only a subpoena was necessary.
debate was resolved after the Sept. 11 attacks, when
President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act, giving
the Justice Department new powers to fight terrorism. It
provides prosecutors clear authority to obtain temporarily
assigned IP addresses and other information from Internet
companies through use of a subpoena.
check and balance"
Travis case, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in
Illinois have not revealed how they obtained the information
from Microsoft and WorldCom - whether by subpoena, search
warrant or neither.
Microsoft said Thursday that federal prosecutors had issued
said that given the strong link between the map sent to the
Post-Dispatch and the crimes, there is little doubt that
prosecutors were right to pursue the information and could
easily have obtained a search warrant.
he said, permitting prosecutors to obtain such information
through use of a subpoena - a unilateral step that does not
require the oversight of a judge - is not sufficient
protection for the public.
no check and balance," he complained. "If law enforcement
says, 'We want this information, and all we need is a
subpoena,' there are not many (Internet service providers)
that are going to say, 'No, you need a warrant.' There's a
high level of cooperation."
the Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on
whether a subpoena sufficiently protects privacy. "The
Patriot Act was passed by bipartisan majorities of the House
and Senate and it is now the law of the land," he said.
part of the confusion comes from the fact that the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act has not been widely
tested in the courts, and there are few legal precedents,
high-profile case was that of Timothy McVeigh, a sailor of
no relation to the Oklahoma City bomber with the same name.
McVeigh's sexual orientation was discovered when a Navy
investigator asked America Online Inc. for information from
McVeigh's user profile.
sought to discharge McVeigh on the grounds that he had
identified himself to America Online as gay. But in 1998, a
federal judge in Washington said America Online had violated
McVeigh's rights under the Electronic Communications Privacy
Act by releasing the information without McVeigh's
Stanley Sporkin, also barred the Navy from discharging
McVeigh, a highly decorated master chief petty officer.
America Online also agreed to pay unspecified damages to
settle a lawsuit brought by McVeigh and agreed to adopt
policies aimed at protecting the privacy rights of customers.
Microsoft, which critics have often accused of failing to
protect customers' privacy, warns that it may have to reveal
customer information to comply with the law. Its privacy
policy says, in part, "Microsoft may disclose personal
information if required to do so by law or in the good faith
belief that such action is necessary to: (a) conform to the
edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on
Microsoft or the site."
Klause, a Microsoft spokeswoman, said the FBI had a subpoena
for the information that identified Travis.
does not sell such information or share it with business
partners, Klause said. Asked how long the company retains
data on an individual's use of Expedia's mapping site,
Klause said in a written reply only "a very short time
spokeswoman Sudie Nolan said, "WorldCom makes every effort
to assist law enforcement agencies, but always subject to
the appropriate legal processes."
said WorldCom does not reveal how long it retains
information identifying the IP addresses used by computer
users. WorldCom does not sell the IP address information,
Terry, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law,
says he is less concerned about prosecutors' access to
Internet data than about what Internet companies are doing
with the data they collect.
other developed countries had online privacy laws that were
more stringent than those in the United States. For instance,
the European Union passed a law in 1995 that permits
Internet companies to use information given to them only for
the purpose intended when a consumer first gives the
to stop a Web site from collecting information about the
maps we access - and anything else we do online - and
selling it to other persons," Terry asked. "That is what is
going on much more than catching serial killers."
AN IP ADDRESS?
FBI, Microsoft Corp., The Computer Glossary
address, written as four numbers separated by periods,
identifies a particular computer's location on the Internet.
Computers linked to a network through a fixed connection
typically have a permanent address, while computers that
dial over a telephone line to reach the internet are
assigned an IP address for each session.
MATCHING IP ADDRESS
65 . 227
. 106 . 78
set of numbers ex. 65:) Identifies network to which a
numbers: ex. 227.106.78) Identifies the actual computer on
downloaded from the Internet led the FBI to suspected serial
killer Maury Troy Travis.
Someone dials up MSN and downloads a map from Expedia.com.
The map is mailed to the Post-Dispatch.
The Post-Dispatch gives the Illinois state police the map
and letter. They identify the map as from Expedia.com.
FBI GETS INVOLVED
Expedia.com informs the FBI that records of access to the
map can be obtained through Microsoft Corp.
4. THE IP
Microsoft tells the FBI that only one computer downloaded a
map of the area during the time in question. Microsoft
provides the IP address of that computer.
The FBI asks WorldCom Inc. to identify the user name for the
computer assigned the IP address on May 20. WorldCom
provides the user name MSN/maurytravis.
The FBI asks Microsoft for the account information on MSN/maurytravis.
Microsoft provides the name Maury Travis along with his
address and phone number.
After round-the-clock surveillance reveals that Travis lives
at the house, he is arrested.
If John Robinson is the first serial killer to lure
victims via the internet, then Maury Travis has the dubious distinction
to be called the first serial killer apprehended because of the
Things were going well for Travis. He was successfully
slaying drug addicts and prostitutes in St. Louis, Missourri, and
neighboring East St. Louis, Illinois. Police were reluctant to admit
that a serial killer was responsible for the rash of killings. His
activities had caused barely a ripple even in the cities he prowled.
Perhaps because of this apparent lack of attention, he
decided it was a good idea to point authorities to the decomposing
remains of an undiscovered victim near West Alton, Missourri, by sending
directions to a local newspaper. The woman's body (she is still
unidentified) was found sure enough just across a road from where two of
Travis' earlier victims were discovered.
Unfortunately for Travis he had
enclosed an internet-generated map with his typed letter. Police soon
traced the map back to the only IP address to download it recently. The
user was MSN/maurytravis.
On June 7, 2002, police arrested Travis and began an
extensive search of his Ferguson, Missourri, home. Their suspect told
investigators he knew why they had come to get him but would make no
direct confessiuons under initial interrogation. And he never would.
Travis managed to hang himself in his cell three days later despite
being under a suicide watch.
Investigators are now left to forge ahead
knowing they will get no help from the one man who knew precisely what
happened to the numerous women he killed and dumped like trash. They
also must deal with the prospect that they are collecting evidence
against a man that has already avoided justice.
At least the police search turned up a wealth of
evidence against Travis, a 36-year-old waiter and former convict
described by neighbors as quiet but smart and friendly. Blood splatters
were found throughout Travis' home and belts and ligatures discovered
were also smeared with blood.
The most damning evidence, however, was
videotapes that searchers found secreted inside a wall. The tapes
documented Travis engaged in bondage and rough, sadistic sex with women
and what appear to be at least two killings.
Only one woman on the
tapes, Betty James, has been identified. She has been found murdered
though her killing is not shown on the tapes. Travis' basement had been
modified into a kind of sadistic torture chamber and likely was where
several women breathed their last breath.
At this early date it appears that Travis is
responsible for at least seven slayings though the letter that led to
his downfall claimed a total of seventeen. Three more murders fit his
pattern and police in Atlanta, Georgia, are interested in Travis'
possible involvement in the unsolved killings of six prostitutes that
coincide with a period in 1994 when Travis was living in that city.
10/23/2002 - Police have turned again to the
gruesome videotapes of bondage and torture found during the search after
Travis' arrest in the hopes of identifying at least four unidentified
victims. One tape found hidden in a wall features many women, all of
those presumed to be dead, some of which were forced to state their
names on camera. Two of those remain unidentified possibly because they
gave street alias' instead of stating their real names. It is now
reported that police believe Travis' total victims number between twelve
Mystery of killings unravels slowly
By Bill Smith, Tim O'Neil and Bill Bryan -
Post-Dispatch (St. Louis)
Maury Travis was restless.
As he sat in the interrogation room at police
headquarters downtown on the afternoon of June 7, the 36-year-old
waiter drummed his fingers nervously on a tabletop. He slid back
and forth in his chair, sometimes pushing to the very edge of
his seat and staring intently, almost defiantly, into the face
of St. Louis police Sgt. Tim Sachs.
"We need you to help us," Sachs told him. "We
need closure for the families of the victims."
Sachs can still remember the sneer that crept
across Travis' face.
"Hmmph, victims . . ." Travis replied.
The message felt cold, and clear.
"To him," Sachs said, "these women were less
Now, nearly two weeks after Travis was found
hanged inside his St. Louis County Jail cell, investigators
continue to sift through the pieces of his puzzling life,
looking for answers to why this seemingly quiet man, who was
often seen washing his car in the driveway of his home in
Ferguson, would torture and kill at least 11 women in the St.
So far, at least, the answers have been
painstakingly slow in coming.
"It may be weeks before we know more," said
Capt. Harry Hegger, the St.
Louis detective who oversaw a
multijurisdictional investigation into the slayings of local
women - most of them drug addicts and prostitutes. "There is
still a lot to piece together."
Police have set up a separate, locked
evidence room just to store and catalog items seized from Travis'
home. Included is the computer that Travis used to contact an
Internet mapping service so he could pinpoint the location of
one of his victims. The map, printed out and mailed with a
letter to a Post-Dispatch reporter, was traced by the police and
the FBI through the Internet back to Travis.
There are indications of as many as 20
victims in the St. Louis area, many bound with ropes or
handcuffs before they were strangled in sudden bursts of
Four women, believed to be victims of Travis,
still have not been identified.
Videotapes, discovered in the basement of his
home, show him with bound victims. In one segment, it appears
that he uses a belt to strangle or break the neck of a woman.
Police technicians said DNA from semen found
in two victims links their deaths to Travis. So does a tire
track on one victim's leg.
By the time he died, Travis was charged on
two federal kidnapping counts that could have carried a death
penalty. Prosecutors in St. Louis and the counties of St.
Charles, St. Clair, Madison and Monroe were reviewing evidence
against him for possible state charges.
"A million questions"
In many respects, Travis offers an almost
textbook portrait of a serial killer, police say - cunning and
self-indulgent yet almost "invisible" in the communities where
he lived. And true to form, he victimized people of his own race.
But there are striking differences too.
Police have been unable to find any evidence
that Travis' killing spree was preceded by instances of animal
abuse and arson - a path known to be followed by many serial
Also, most known serial killers have been
white, while Travis was African-American. And only a handful
have ever been known to videotape their victims, as Travis did.
Detectives also say they found nothing in
Travis' past, such as child abuse or an unusually traumatic
relationship with a close family member, that might have
festered and ultimately triggered the killings.
"There are still a million questions," Sachs
Details of Travis' early life are sketchy.
Records show he was born Oct. 25, 1965, the
son of Sandra A. and Michael V.
Travis, who lived in the Carr Square public
housing complex just northwest of downtown. He attended St.
Louis Public Schools from 1971 to 1975.
He was 10 when his family moved to a simple
ranch house in Ferguson. Records show his parents divorced in
1978. The records also show that his mother remarried, but
divorced again in 1993.
A neighbor in Ferguson described Maury Troy
Travis as a quiet, respectful boy who sometimes mowed her lawn
without being asked and showed her how to use an electric hedge
She knew him by his nickname, Toby, and said
he was a pleasant child with a soft heart.
"I don't believe he could kill a fly," she
Other longtime neighbors said they have
virtually no recollection of the boy.
"Very quiet and withdrawn"
Records in the Ferguson-Florissant School
District show he was enrolled in 1981 as a ninth-grader at
Ferguson Junior High School. By 1982, he was a student at
McCluer High School.
Several students who attended McCluer at the
same time said they cannot remember Travis. If he is pictured in
any of the yearbook photographs, he is not identified.
Sue Hanan, a retired English teacher at
McCluer, said she immediately recognized Travis' name and
photograph at the time of his arrest.
She remembers him as a student in her basic
English class, for students who failed an earlier English course.
She describes him as "very quiet and
withdrawn, incredibly quiet for a teenager."
"Even the quiet ones can be noisy sometimes,
but not him," she said.
School records show Travis graduated in 1985.
Other documents indicate he then served two years in the Army
Reserve, working as a medical and dental assistant. He took a
variety of jobs with trucking companies in the area and
volunteered at a local nursing home.
By 1987, at age 22, Travis enrolled at Morris
Brown College in Atlanta, a school with some 2,000 students and
affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
It was about that time, he would tell a judge
later, that he became addicted to cocaine.
In March 1988, while home in Ferguson on a
college spring break, he ran headlong into serious problems with
Hooked on what he described as a $300-a-day
cocaine habit, and short on cash, Travis robbed five shoe stores
in north and west St. Louis County in an eight-day period in
Joe Spiess, who as a St. Louis County police
detective arrested Travis based on a car description, said
recently: "He was respectful and quiet and reserved. He wasn't
your typical type of criminal."
Travis pleaded guilty of the robberies on Jan.
19, 1989, telling the court that he had used a plastic toy gun
to steal money to pay for drugs. He told the judge he was so
strung out that he barely remembered the robberies.
At the sentencing hearing six months later,
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Steven Goldman said letters of
support seemed to indicate the crime spree was "an aberration in
your character" resulting from the drug habit.
Travis told the judge he had gone through a
drug rehabilitation program and was "clean."
"I got all that stuff out of my system," he
said, adding that he was "rehabilitated."
Among the documents in Travis' court folder
is a one-page letter from former U.S. Rep. William L. Clay.
Written on congressional stationery, it asks the court for
"I have known Mr. Travis and his family for a
number of years and I feel he is deserving of special
consideration in this matter," Clay wrote.
"Since January 1988, Mr. Travis has conducted
himself in such a manner as to pose no threat to society. I am
pleading that he be given leniency and probation with the
condition of voluntary service at a charitable community agency
. . ."
Reached last week, Clay says he does not
remember Travis or his family.
During his congressional career, Clay said,
he sent "thousands" of similar letters.
On July 5, 1989, the judge sentenced Travis
to 15 years in prison. He was four months from his 24th birthday.
Two months later, Travis wrote a three-page
letter to Goldman from the Farmington Correctional Center.
Carefully hand-printed on yellow legal paper,
the letter pleaded with the judge to reconsider the sentence.
"Daily and hourly also at any given moment I
think of taking my life,"
"The condition here are excruciatingly
tormenting to say the least. Staying in my cell and crying
myself to sleep most every night will not help, but it's so very
hard to believe this has happened to me.
"This whole situation is horrid and
"If it weren't for such a caring cellmate,
I'm very sure Id've committed suicide after my first day here at
The letter complains of homosexual rapes,
cramped living conditions, poor food and a proliferation of
drugs. There is no specific claim that he was raped.
He asks that his sentence be replaced by a
120- or 180-day "shock" imprisonment.
"You sir, are my last hope," he wrote.
"Please give me another chance in society.
There is no indication that the letter had
any impact on his sentence.
A considerate neighbor
Travis was paroled after five years and three
months behind bars for the robberies, working in the prison's
janitorial and food service areas. None of his 13 conduct
violations were particularly significant, according to a
spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Shortly after Travis was paroled on June 14,
1994, he moved into a duplex in the 8800 block of Lucas & Hunt
The Rev. Linda Harrison, whose home shared a
common wall with Travis', said there was "not the tiniest" of
problems while he was there.
Once, she said, she was in the basement of
the building doing wash when he surprised her coming down the
"He startled me," she said, "and he was so
apologetic. He said 'Ms.
Harrison, I'm so sorry.'"
After that, she said, each time Travis came
down into the shared basement, he would break into a hum or a
song to let her know that he was coming.
Harrison's son, Zabray Harrison, said he
often drank a couple of beers with Travis in front of their
"I don't have a bad thing to say about him,"
Zabray Harrison said. "I guess you never know what happens
behind closed doors."
In the years that followed - between two more
prison stints on drug-related charges - Travis worked several
restaurant jobs. During the summers of 2000 and 2001, he was a
waiter at the restaurant at the Mayfair Hotel downtown.
A co-worker, Dave Wucher, remembers Travis
counseling him on the dangers of drugs.
"He told me that crack and heroin were the
worst thing that God put on this earth."
Wucher said Travis also talked "every day"
about his 2000 black Mitsubishi Eclipse. "He told me how to wax
my car, how to take care of the engine."
Wucher called Travis' car his "pride and joy."
Once, Wucher said, he told Travis about a
friend whose car was stolen and later found burning in East St.
"Maury told me that East St. Louis was a good
place to dump things because there's not many police around,"
Wucher said. The bodies of at least four of Travis' suspected
victims were found in the East St. Louis area.
But it was a conversation between Travis and
Wucher's girlfriend, Julie Kroenig, that continues to haunt
Wucher and Kroenig.
Kroenig said she was working as an intern for
KDNL (Channel 30) news last July when Travis "asked if my
station had done a story on prostitutes getting killed."
"He said he had friends who knew about bodies
getting dumped." She said Travis specifically referred to a
Kroenig said she pitched the story to her
boss at the TV station, but it "went nowhere" after they could
find no information about serial killings of prostitutes.
It would be three months later before police
would say publicly in a Post-Dispatch story that a serial killer
or killers may have been preying on local prostitutes.
"Oh, my God," Kroenig thought when Travis was
arrested. "He told us all about it."
"You know why we're here"
When police with a search warrant finally
banged on the door of 1001 Ford Drive the morning of Friday,
June 7, Travis was still sleeping. He met them in his underwear
- groggy and agitated. He was not a particularly imposing man,
not a bodybuilder. He seemed more wiry, but still strong.
"A very normal, average type of guy," St.
Louis homicide Detective Roy Douglas remembers. "Intelligent."
"It's seven in the morning," Travis grumbled
as he met the investigators.
"Why are you here so early?"
"You know why we're here," they told him.
He dressed hurriedly and joined the police in
the living room - on sofas arranged in what police called a kind
of "conversation pit" around a coffee table. It was, they said,
"a very normal living room" in "a very normal house."
Sachs and an FBI profiler, an expert on the
behavior and questioning of serial killers, talked with Travis
as two other investigators on the case - Douglas and Illinois
State Police Special Agent James Walker - waited nearby.
As they talked, Travis' calico cat strolled
through the room, moving from one visitor to the next. Each time
one of the investigators reached down to pet the animal, Travis
stiffened and moved to the edge of his seat.
"He didn't appreciate it at all," said Sachs,
42, a 22-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department who had
headed the investigation into the serial killings.
At one point, Travis picked up the cat and
sat it next to him, out of reach of the investigators.
They sat there for the next two hours -
investigators trying to engage Travis in small talk, and Travis
deflecting questions one by one.
"Where did you grow up?" they asked him.
"Where did you grow up?" Travis asked.
"What did you do as a child?" they asked.
"Nothing," he said. "Went to school. What did
"He kept trying to redirect everything, every
question," Sachs said. "He wanted to be in control."
Sachs said Travis never once asked police why
they had come, why they were sitting in his house.
He never admitted anything, they said, but he
never denied anything either.
He seemed more interested in how they had
been able to find him. "He wanted to know what led us here, how
we knew that he was the guy," Sachs said.
Finally, investigators told him about the map.
He had "had a problem" when he downloaded the map, they told him.
Travis cursed: "(Expletive) computer!" he
said. "Damned Internet!"
Eventually, investigators guided Travis
outside and into a police car where they continued to talk with
him. He agreed to accompany them to police headquarters downtown.
"He said he was born like this"
Sachs would sit with Travis in an
interrogation room for the next three hours, until almost 2
p.m., trying somehow to work his way into Travis' mind, trying
to understand what had made him who he was.
Sachs asked him about girlfriends.
Yes, Travis said, he had dated.
He asked him about prostitutes.
Yes, Travis said, he had paid for prostitutes.
Had he been abused as a child, Sachs asked
"No," Travis said. "How about you?"
At one point, Sachs said, he talked to Travis
about the debate over whether the kinds of crimes Travis was
suspected of committing were "inherent" or "learned" behavior.
"He said I would never understand," Sachs
said. "He said he was born like this. He said he'd been like
this since he could remember."
Police said that during their interview,
Travis seemed to show genuine affection and concern for only one
person - his mother.
"He seemed very fond of her," Sachs said.
But throughout the nearly eight hours of
questioning, police said, they never saw any remorse, any
feelings of guilt.
"Absolutely none," Sachs said.
Still, as the evidence against Travis mounted
through the day, he often nervously tapped his fingers on the
"You know what we found in your basement,"
police told him.
"Yeah, I knew you'd find it," Travis said.
They did not discuss specifics, which
included restraints that appeared stained with blood and the
videotapes, which show at least one woman who was among those
Several times, as the full realization of
what was happening struck him, Travis dropped his head.
"I'm toast," he said. "I'm toast."
Sachs questioned Travis for nearly eight
hours, before giving way to Douglas and Walker, who immediately
began a more direct, more "in your face" confrontational
interview that had produced results with past suspects.
Just 19 minutes into the interview with
Douglas and Walker, police said, Travis asked for an attorney,
and the interview was stopped.
"I am not going back to prison," Travis told
his interrogators. "I am not going back."
Three days later, without being questioned by
police again, he was dead - a pillowcase pulled over his head
and his hands tied behind his back - in a hanging that Clayton
police and the St. Louis County medical examiner agreed was very
odd but a suicide nonetheless.
A woman from Pagedale whose daughter dated
Travis just last year said she never could have imagined that he
was what she called "a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
"He always seemed so happy, so laid-back,"
said the woman, who wanted her name withheld.
"He was the perfect gentleman."
Maury Travis timeline
Oct. 25, 1965: Travis is born in St. Louis.
He and his parents live in Carr Square Village, near downtown.
April 1976: His family buys the house at 1001
Ford Avenue in Ferguson.
June 1978: His parents, Michael V. and Sandra
A. Travis, are divorced in St. Louis County.
1985: Travis graduates from McCluer High
1986-88: He attends Morris Brown College, a
private college in Atlanta.
March 1988: While home from college, he holds
up five shoe stores in St. Louis County. A year later, he pleads
guilty of five counts each of robbery and armed criminal action.
March 1989-June 1994: Travis serves his
sentence in the Farmington Correctional Center.
February 1998-January 1999: He returns to
prison for violating parole by possessing drugs.
July 31, 2000: The body of Mary Shields, 61,
is found in East St. Louis. Police now believe she may have been
Travis' first murder victim.
Nov. 29, 2000: Travis returns to prison a
second time for violating parole, again for drug possession.
March 19, 2001: He is released from prison.
April 1, 2001: The body of Alysa Greenwade,
34, is found in Washington Park. Police now suspect Travis in
April 4, 2001: A woman, 44, is found near
death in East St. Louis but is never able to help police
identify her attacker. Police now suspect Travis.
May 15, 2001: The body of Teresa Wilson, 36,
is found in West Alton. Police now suspect Travis.
May 23, 2001: The body of Betty James, 46, is
found in St. Louis. Later, police recognize James from a
videotape found in Travis' home and match a tire on his car to a
track left on her leg.
June 29, 2001: The body of Verona Thompson,
36, is found in West Alton, just 16 feet from where Wilson was
found. Police now suspect Travis.
Aug. 25, 2001: The body of Yvonne Crues, 50,
is found in East St. Louis. Police have linked Travis to DNA in
semen found in her.
Oct. 8, 2001: The body of Brenda Beasley, 33,
is found in East St. Louis. Police have linked Travis to DNA in
semen found in her.
Jan. 30, 2002: An unidentified woman's
skeleton is found near Mascoutah. Police now suspect Travis.
March 11: An unidentified woman's skeleton is
found near Highland. Police now suspect Travis.
March 28: An unidentified woman's skeleton is
found in Columbia, Ill. Police now suspect Travis.
May 21: The postmark date of a letter to
Post-Dispatch reporter Bill Smith that includes a map to another
body and suggests there may be others.
May 25: Police find an unidentified woman's
skeleton in West Alton, where the map said it would be. They
later track the map to Travis' home computer.
June 7: Police and FBI agents arrest Travis
at his home on Ford Drive in Ferguson and search the house. He
is charged with two federal counts of kidnapping and taken to
the St. Louis County Jail. U.S. marshals ask jailers to put him
on a suicide watch. County officials later admit taking few
precautions against suicide.
June 10: Travis is found hanged in his cell.
He had written a suicide note, and investigators rule his death