David Parker Ray – New Mexico’s Toy Box Killer
There are some serial killers who will go down in history as the greatest monsters who have ever walked the earth, but none of them hold a candle to the scariest man to ever set foot in New Mexico, David Parker Ray. Also know as the Toy Box Killer, Ray kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered as many as 60 women from the mid-80s all the way up to 1999, when he was finally captured after his final victim managed to escape and run down the highway in nothing but a dog collar. Together, these shocking facts about the Toy Box Killer form a picture of a man who saw the people around him as pawns in his sick game of manipulation, sex, and murder.
He died before he could be tried for all of his crimes, which may date to as early as the 1950s. Despite testimony and evidence of murder, he was never found guilty on that count.
Ray’s childhood was the start of what many believe turned him into a murderer. During his childhood, Ray lived with his grandfather. However, he still saw his father and was physically abused by him. At Mountainair High School, in Mountainair, New Mexico, he was also bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls.
After completing high school, he worked as an auto mechanic. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, where his service also included work as a general mechanic.
David Parker Ray only had one child from an early marriage, but boy was she a doozy! Glenda Jean “Jesse” Ray was 32 in 1999 when her father was arrested for his gruesome crimes, and it turns out that she had tried to warn the FBI about what he was up to way back in 1986. According to FBI agent Doug Beldon, “She alleged that David Parker Ray was abducting and torturing women and selling them to buyers in Mexico.” Unfortunately, the allegations were so non-specific that they couldn’t act on her claims and stopped looking into Ray.
By the time 1999 rolled around, Jesse Ray had gone from dropping a dime on her dad to helping him kidnap and sexually assault women. After her father was arrested, Jesse was quickly captured and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, plus five years of probation in connection with her father’s sex torture case.
David Parker Ray tortured and presumably killed his victims in a $100,000 homemade torture chamber he called his “toy box”, which was equipped with what he referred to as his “friends”: whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, and surgical blades and saws. With these tools, it is thought that he terrorized Truth or Consequences for several years with the added assistance of multiple accomplices.
Inside the torture room (which he called his “toy box”), along with numerous sex toys, torture implements, syringes and detailed diagrams (made by Ray himself) showing different methods and techniques for inflicting pain, there was a homemade electricity generating device that was used in torture. Ray would often have a recorded audio tape of himself played for his victims whenever they regained consciousness.
THIS VIDEO IS A FULL DOCUMENTARY ON RAY’S CRIMES
In the torture shed next to his trailer, he spent upwards of $100,000 in order to build his dream space where he could work without ever worrying if his homemade breast electrocuter would work, or if his leg spreaders would rust.
Aside from the implements mentioned above, Ray kept sex toys, syringes, a fur-lined coffin where Ray would place his victims to torture them, and a box with a hole cut out to hold victims’ heads. And the centerpiece of the entire toy box was the surgical steel gynecological chair where he would strap his victims before getting down to work.
Ray posed as an undercover police officer and approached Cynthia Vigil in a parking lot. He told her she was under arrest, for solicitation of sex work, and handcuffed Cynthia Vigil. He put her in his trailer and took her to Elephant Butte. After three days of captivity, Vigil escaped from his trailer at Elephant Butte on March 22, 1999.
To escape, she waited until Parker went to work, then managed to get the keys to unlock her chains that Ray’s accomplice, Cindy Hendy, had left on a nearby table while Hendy was in another room on the phone. After Vigil got the keys, Hendy noticed Vigil’s attempt to escape and a fight ensued. During the struggle, Hendy broke a lamp on the victim’s head, but Vigil managed to unlock her chains and stab Hendy in the neck with an icepick.
Hendy fell to the floor and Vigil escaped. Vigil ran away naked, wearing only an iron slave collar and padlocked chains. Once Vigil escaped, she ran down the road seeking help, later getting assistance from a nearby homeowner. The homeowner took Vigil in, comforted her and called the police. Her escape finally led officials to the trial and capture of Parker and his accomplices.
After Vigil’s escape, police apprehended Ray and Hendy, and Ray was arrested. After the publicity surrounding the arrest, another victim, Angelica Montano, came forward. She told a similar story and said that she had reported the incident to police, but there had been no follow-up.
Ray had a video of another victim, Kelli Garrett, which dated back to 1996. Garrett was ultimately found in Colorado alive, after police identified a tattoo on her ankle.
Garrett later testified that she had gotten in a fight with her husband, and decided to spend the night playing pool with friends. On July 24th, 1996, Ray’s daughter, who was friends with Garrett, took her to the Blu-Water Saloon in T Or C, and roofied the beer she was drinking. Garrett managed to make it to the parking lot when Ray hit her from behind, knocking her unconscious. Ray took her to his trailer and attached a dog collar and leash to Garrett. Garret awoke, but blacked out several times during 2 days of torture and date rape drugs. During this time, Ray noticed she was breathing and slashed her throat open. Thinking he had killed her, Ray dumped her on the side of the road near Caballo. She was later treated for her injuries at a local clinic. Neither her husband, nor police, believed her story. Her husband believed she had been cheating on him the night she was attacked. He filed for divorce, and Garrett relocated to Colorado. She was later interviewed on Cold Case Files about her ordeal.
Two other accomplices were uncovered by the investigation: Glenda Jean “Jessie” Ray (Ray’s daughter) and Dennis Yancy. Yancy admitted to strangling a former girlfriend, Marie Parker, after Ray had kidnapped and tortured her. Yancy was eventually convicted of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and received two 15-year terms.
Since that murder, Ray had allegedly admitted to having had an accomplice named Billy Bowers, a previous business partner, whom Ray also murdered.
The FBI sent 100 agents to examine Ray’s property and surroundings, but no identifiable human remains turned up there.
To prevent women from reporting the crimes, Ray had drugged them with agents to induce amnesia. He taped himself telling one woman the drugs were “sodium pentothal and phenobarbitol”. One woman remained uncertain that her recollections of the abuse were anything but nightmares until contacted by the FBI. After questioning, she came to remember her mistreatment in increasing detail.
Trial and conviction
On March 22, 1999, a living victim, Cynthia Vigil, escaped after being kidnapped and enduring torture in a three-day ordeal. To escape, Vigil waited until Ray went to work and then managed to get the keys to the lock of her chains which Ray’s accomplice, Cindy Hendy, left on a table nearby while she was in another room on the phone. After getting the keys, Hendy noticed Vigil’s attempt at escaping and fighting ensued. During the struggle, Hendy broke a lamp on Vigil’s head, but she still managed to unlock her chains and then proceeded to stab Hendy in the neck with an ice pick she found on the floor and escaped. Vigil ran away naked, wearing only an iron slave collar and padlocked chains. After Vigil’s escape and rescue, Ray and Hendy were apprehended by the police.
Parker was arrested the day his last victim escaped. Throughout the trial, the prosecution brought forward two victims along with the mother of a deceased victim. Cynthia Vigil and Kelly Garret testified against Ray, describing the horrible tortures they endured. Garret was one who said she did not want him to receive the death penalty because she thought that was too easy. She wanted him to endure the pain she went through. She wanted him to stay in prison for his entire life.
Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison after being convicted of numerous offenses involving the abduction and sexual torture of three young women at his Elephant Butte Lake home.
His first trial ended in a hung jury in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. His trial was then relocated to a small town where he had been raised decades before. He was convicted of his crimes against Angie Montaño, and then admitted his crimes against Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo and another young woman, as part of a plea deal for a light sentence for Ray’s daughter. He died eight months after sentencing, having been held for two and a half years while awaiting trial and retrial. Hendy, who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes.
David Parker Ray
David Parker Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison at a hearing in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico – having been convicted of numerous offenses involving the abduction and sexual torture of three young women at his Elephant Butte Lake home. Ray was earlier convicted for his crimes against Kelly Van Cleave, formerly of Truth or Consequences, in July 1996. He later pled guilty to charges involving two other victims, the late Angie Montano of T or C and Cynthia Vigil of Albuquerque, in 1999.
Mary Ellen O’Toole, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in Virginia and the FBI’s foremost expert in the field of investigating criminal sexual sadism, testified that examination of Ray’s home, the trailer he had converted into his infamous “toy box” and the sexual paraphernalia and drawings found there suggest that Ray is a “criminal sexual sadist.”
She said Ray’s toy box and custom equipment were extremely impressive in terms of sexual sadism, their potential lethality and the time, money and effort it took to keep them a secret. O’Toole said there is no known therapy for Ray’s paraphilia (psycho-sexual disorder) and that its corresponding behavior can be stopped only by apprehension.
Ray’s victims made their statements to the court and to Ray before the judge pronounced sentence. Kelly (Van Cleave) Garrett who earlier was crying and holding hands with Cynthia Vigil in the courtroom, said she wanted Ray to live a for a long time and suffer in prison. She said the sick pervert will find no friends in prison and she hopes he will be controlled and used in the same manner that she and Ray’s other victims had. Garrett said, however, she is not a victim but a survivor. Loretta Romero, Angie Montano’s mother, said her daughter had a good heart but had lost all respect, lost her smile, lost everything because of David Ray. Mrs. Romero said she is here for Angie and her two little boys whose lives Ray had ruined. Mrs. Romero said she feels sorry for David Ray, that she forgives him and that her (now deceased) daughter would forgive him. But Angie’s mother said she never will forget. Less forgiving was Cynthia Vigil’s grandmother, Bertha Vigil. Mrs. Vigil told Ray he is a poor excuse for a human being and asked him how he would like it if she did to his daughter what he had done to Cynthia.
Bertha Vigil said her granddaughter has nightmares every night and that Ray had ruined not only her life but her whole family’s. Cynthia’s grandmother said she prays Ray will suffer every day for the rest of his life. “Satan has a place for you. I hope you burn in hell forever,” Mrs. Vigil said.
“I bare scars outside and inside that will never heal,” Cynthia Vigil said. She said no punishment is equal to the agony she has suffered. Vigil said she is afraid of being tied down and helpless, afraid of the dark and of going out alone. Cynthia Vigil, crying, said she hopes David Ray will spend the rest of his life inside four walls and suffer the way he made her suffer.
Ray, who seemed to be in good spirits during his sentencing hearing and unmoved while his victims cried, said he is having a hard time expressing himself. Despite his handicap as a public speaker, Ray told the court that no one but his attorney had heard his side. Ray said many lies and distortions have been told in his case.
Ray said he had entered into a plea agreement to get his daughter released. Ray’s daughter, Glenda Jean “Jessy” Ray, was Ray’s accomplice in the abduction and sexual torture of Kelly Van Cleave.
Ray said he had lost everything following his arrest including his home, all other material assets, and his health.
Ray said the two and a half years in confinement since his arrest has allowed him to reflect, read his Bible and “get right with God.” Ray said he has put his life in His hands and that he can’t change the past but can only be sorry.
David Parker Ray died 8 months after sentencing – having served a total of only 3 years.