David Parker Ray was born in Belen, New Mexico in 1939. He was raised by his grandfather, though his father maintained an abusive relationship with him. He had a younger sister, but they were split up when their grandmother died. In school, Ray did poorly and was teased for being unusually shy around girls. As a teenager, he abused alcohol and drugs. When he was an adult, he served in the U.S. Army and later became a mechanic. He also married four times, each of them ending in divorce. He had two daughters, one of whom he lived with for some time. At some point, he started abducting, raping and torturing women, presumably killing them as well. Exactly how many victims he claimed over the years is uncertain, though he may have started as early as the 1950s, when he was still a teenager. He spent $100 000 on a trailer, fitting it with sex toys and torture devices. He nicknamed it "the Toy Box".
Arrest and Death
The killings of David Parker Ray are believed to have come to an end in March of 1999, when he was 59. On the 22nd, an intended victim, Cynthia Vigil, escaped in Elephant Butte, New Mexico after being held captive and tortured in the Toy Box for three days. She had waited for Ray to go to work and then taken the keys from his accomplice, his girlfriend Cindy Hendy. In an almost cinematic moment, Hendy struck her on the head with a lamp in an attempt to knock her out, but Vigil managed to unlock her chains, stab Hendy in the neck with an icepick from the floor and run away, wearing only an iron slave collar and the padlocked chains. She made it to a mobile home, the owner of which let her in, gave her a robe and called 911. Police officers were already on their way to Ray's address since a 911 call had been made from there, but been interrupted. Both Ray and Hendy were arrested, claiming to have abducted Vigil in an attempt to help her get rid of a heroin addiction. When the officers looked inside the Toy Box and found, besides the torture devices and sex toys, the fake police badge Ray had used to abduct Vigil in Albuquerque and evidence of Vigil's struggle with Hendy, they arrested them both and charged them with 12 different criminal charges, including kidnapping and aggravated assault.
As the investigation continued, evidence of more victims emerged. A past victim, known as "Angelica M.", came forward, telling the authorities about how she was abducted by Ray a little over a month before Cynthia Vigil; she had reported her kidnapping, but for some reason the police didn't investigate it. They also found photos of another victim in the trailer and animal bones buried in the nearby ground. Ray's trial began on March 28, 2000. Just after the jury selection was done, he suffered a heart attack and the trial was postponed. Cynthia Vigil and another surviving victim, Kelly Garrett, testified against him. For some reason, the judge postponed the trial further in order to try Ray for a 1996 murder in Colorado, even though the evidence wasn't very strong; a sheet listing routines for keeping prisoners was excluded along with the torture devices in the Toy Box since it couldn't be proven that they were in Ray's possession in 1996. On May 7, shortly before or during Ray's trial for the Colorado murder, Angelica M. died of a drug overdose, taking her testimony to the grave. On May 23, the jury selection for Ray's new trial was finally done and he was charged with 12 counts of kidnapping, sexual abuse and conspiracy. In July, the judge declared a mistrial because the jury couldn't agree on a verdict; not all of them were persuaded that the testifying victims had been held against their will.
In November, a retrial began. A few days into it, the judge passed away. The proceedings couldn't resume until April the next year. This time, Ray was not as fortunate and was found guilty on all twelve charges. In June, his second trial began. He made a plea bargain to plead guilty in exchange for his daughter, who had been an accomplice in at least one murder, receiving five years of probation. Consequently, Ray faced at least 223 years in prison. Unfortunately, he never got to serve his sentence. On May 28, 2002, just as he was about to be transferred to prison, he suffered another heart attack and died at the age of 62. With him dead, the case became a dead end; no bodies were found, no possible victims were identified and no old suspicious deaths related to Ray were ever officially linked to him. In November of 2002, the Toy Box was opened to the public with the hope that it would lead to more surviving victims coming forward. In October of 2011, the FBI performed a search of McRae Canyon near Elephant Butte Lake looking for potential victims, but found none. In February of 2012, the Australian Federal Police contacted the FBI about a potential victim known only as Connie, who had been mentioned in a letter from a man named Mark that was postmarked in Sydney and was found in Ray's residence after his arrest.
Ray (and his occasional accomplices) targeted prostitutes, luring them with some kind of ruse such as soliciting them or pretending to be a police officer. He would then take them to his homemade torture chamber, the "Toy Box", which was filled with sex toys, surgical instruments, chains, straps, spreader bars, syringes and diagrams of the human body. There was also a device used for electric torture. Ray would also record the torture, either by audio or with a video camera, and take trophies such as clothing and jewelry. At least some of victims were let go after a few days. According to Cindy Hendy, the fatal victims were dismembered and buried, dumped in the Elephant Butte Lake or dumped in ravines.
Cynthia "Cindy" Lee Hendy
Has three children from a prior relationship
Moved to New Mexico to avoid being prosecuted for forgery, theft and drug possession
Sentenced to 36 years in prison for her involvment in the kidnappings and tortures
Glenda Jean "Jesse" Ray
Aided Ray in killing Marie B. Parker together with Yancy (see below)
Sentenced to five years of probation for a second-degree kidnapping
Dennis Roy Yancy
Aided Ray and Glenda Ray in killing Marie B. Parker
Sentenced to two consecutive 15-year sentences for kidnapping and second-degree murder
1950s-1999: As many as sixty victims, mostly women. Known ones include:
?, 1995: Connie (last name unrevealed; possibly)
September 30-October 1, 1995: Jill Troia (suspected)
February 17-21: Angelica M. (full surname unrevealed; abducted and held captive; was released)
March 19: Cynthia Vigil (abducted and held captive; she escaped)
Billy Bowers (alleged by Hendy; killed, dismembered and disposed of in a lake)
Marie B. Parker, 22
Kelly Garrett (abducted and held captive; was released)
Unnamed 22-year-old woman (abducted and held captive; was released)
Angie Montano (abducted and held captive; was released)