David Parker Ray

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David Parker Ray
David Parker Ray.jpg
David Parker Ray in custody.
Born (1939-11-06)November 6, 1939
Belen, New Mexico
Died May 28, 2002(2002-05-28) (aged 62)
Hobbs, New Mexico
Cause of death
Heart Attack
Other names The Toy-Box Killer
Criminal penalty
224 years imprisonment
Victims 0 confirmed; 14-60 suspected
Span of killings
1950s–March 22, 1999
Country United States
State(s) New Mexico
Date apprehended
March 22, 1999

David Parker Ray (November 6, 1939 – May 28, 2002) was a suspected American serial killer and known torturer of women. Though no bodies were found, he was accused by his accomplices of killing several people and suspected by police to have murdered as many as sixty people from Arizona and New Mexico, while living in the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He has been given the moniker "Toy-Box Killer".[1] Neglected as a child, in his teenage years Ray became dependent on alcohol and illicit drugs. In later life, he built his "toy box", a converted truck trailer that he had soundproofed and equipped with items used for torture.


During his childhood, Ray lived with his grandfather. However, he still saw his father and was physically abused by him. Ray also was bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls, and as a teenager started abusing alcohol and drugs.[2][unreliable source?]

After completing high school Parker worked as an auto mechanic.


David Parker Ray sexually tortured and presumably killed his victims in a $100,000 homemade torture chamber he called his "toy box" that he built out of an old mobile home,[3] which was equipped with what he referred to as his "friends": whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, and surgical blades and saws.[3] It is thought that he terrorized many women while living in the town of Truth or Consequences with these tools for several years, with the added assistance of multiple accomplices, allegedly including several of the women he was dating.

Inside the torture room, 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. Mounted above the gynecologist-type table he used to strap his victims to, was a mirror attached to the ceiling. He has been said to have wanted his victims to see everything he was doing to them during the torture sessions. [1]:3 Ray would often have a recorded audio tape of himself played for his victims whenever they regained consciousness.[1]:2


On March 22, 1999, a living victim, Cynthia Vigil, escaped after being kidnapped and enduring torture in a three-day ordeal. To escape, she waited until Ray went to work and then managed to get the keys to the lock of her chains that Ray's accomplice, Cindy Hendy, left on a table nearby while she was in another room on the phone. After Vigil got the keys, Hendy noticed Vigil's attempt at escaping 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[4] she fell on the floor, and escaped. Vigil ran away naked, wearing only an iron slave collar and padlocked chains. After Vigil's escape, Ray and Hendy were apprehended by the police. Ray was arrested the day his last victim escaped.[1]

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 that there had been no follow-up.[1]

Ray had a video of another victim, Kelly Garrett. This video dated back to about 1993. Garrett was ultimately found in Colorado.[1]

Two other accomplices were uncovered by the investigation: Ray's daughter, Glenda Jean "Jesse" Ray; and Dennis Yancy.[1]

Yancy admitted to strangling a former girlfriend, Marie Parker, after she had been kidnapped and tortured by Ray. He was eventually convicted of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and received two 15-year terms.[1]

Since that murder, Ray has allegedly admitted to having had an accomplice named Billy Bowers, a previous business partner whom Ray also murdered.[1]

The FBI sent 100 agents to examine Ray's property and surroundings, but no identifiable human remains turned up there.[1]

To prevent women from reporting the crimes, he drugged them with agents to induce amnesia. He taped himself telling one woman that the drugs were "sodium pentothal and phenobarbitol". The 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.[4]


A determination was made that Ray would be tried in three separate trials: (1) for Cynthia Vigil (2) for Angelica Montano and (3) for Kelly Garrett. Montano died before trial 2, so it was not conducted. Trial 1 resulted in a mistrial and retrial.[1] Ray's daughter, Glenda Jean "Jesse" Ray was also being tried. Ray suddenly agreed to a plea bargain, under the terms of which he was sentenced to 224 years in prison for numerous offenses involved in the abduction and sexual torture of three young women at his Elephant Butte Lake home.[1]:13 His daughter was sentenced to nine years in prison, leaving five to be served on probation.

On May 28, 2002, Ray was transported to the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, New Mexico, to be questioned by state police. He died of a heart attack before the scheduled interrogation took place.[5][6]

Cindy Hendy, an accomplice who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes.

In 1999, accomplice Dennis Roy Yancy was convicted of the strangulation murder of Marie Parker in Elephant Butte, which was recorded by Ray. He was paroled in 2010 after serving 11 years in prison, but the release was delayed by difficulties in negotiating a plan for residence. Three months after his release in 2011, Dennis was charged with violation of probation. He has been remanded to custody until 2021 to serve the remainder of his original sentence.[7][4][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l David Parker Ray: The Toy Box Killer By Katherine Ramsland
  2. ^ http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Psyc%20405/serial%20killers/Ray,%20David%20Parker.pdf
  3. ^ a b Fielder, Jim (2003). Slow Death. New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. (pgs. 10, 11 and 28). ISBN 0-7860-1199-8. 
  4. ^ a b c "I Escaped Death", Season 1, Episode 8 - "Lair of a Sadist" - aired on Discovery Channel.
  5. ^ Glatt, John (2002). Cries in the Desert. Macmillan. p. 276. ISBN 9780312977566. OCLC 49937160. 
  6. ^ Fielder, Jim (2003). Slow Death. Kensington Pub. p. 315. ISBN 9780786011995. OCLC 51455524. 
  7. ^ Kim Holland. "Murderer paroled in sex torture case". krqe.com. 
  8. ^ "NM Court Lookup Case # D-721-CR-199900040". 

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