David Parker Ray

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David Parker Ray
David Parker Ray.jpg
Ray in custody.
Born David Parker Ray
(1939-11-06)November 6, 1939
Belen, New Mexico, U.S.
Died May 28, 2002(2002-05-28) (aged 62)
Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Other names The Toy-Box Killer
Criminal penalty 224 years' imprisonment
Children 1
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), also known as the Toy-Box Killer,[1] 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 60 people from Arizona and New Mexico, while living in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, approximately 7 miles north of Truth or Consequences.[2] He soundproofed a truck trailer that he called his "toy box", and equipped it with items used for torture.

Ray was convicted of kidnapping and torture in 2001, for which he received a lengthy sentence, but he was never convicted of murder. He died of a heart attack about one year after his convictions in two cases (the second of which resulted in a plea deal).

Early life[edit]

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.[2]

He started abusing alcohol and drugs as a teenager[3][unreliable source?]and his sexual fantasies of raping, torturing, and even murdering women developed. Around this time, his sister discovered Ray's sadomasochistic drawings, as well as erotic photographs of bondage acts.[2] After completing high school, he worked as an auto mechanic.[citation needed] He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, where his service also included work as a general mechanic.[2]


Ray sexually tortured and presumably killed his victims in a $100,000 homemade torture chamber he called his "toy box", which he built out of an old mobile home[4] and equipped with what he referred to as his "friends": whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, surgical blades, and saws.[4] It is thought that he terrorized many women with these tools for many years, while living in New Mexico, 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 showing different methods and techniques for inflicting pain, there was a homemade electrical generator that was used for torture. A mirror was mounted in the ceiling, above the gynecologist-type table he used to strap his victims to. 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


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 prostitution, 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.[5][6] 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 whilst 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.[7] 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.[6]

After Vigil's escape, police apprehended Ray and Hendy, and Ray was arrested.[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 there had been no follow-up.[1]

Ray had a video of another victim, Kelli Garrett, which dated back to 1996.[8] Garrett was ultimately found in Colorado alive, after police identified a tattoo on her ankle.[1] 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.[9]

Two other accomplices were uncovered by the investigation: Glenda Jean "Jessie" Ray (Ray's daughter) and Dennis Yancy.[1] 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.[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, 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.[10]


A determination was made that Ray would be tried in three separate trials: (1) for Cynthia Vigil, (2) for Angelica Montano, and (3) for Kelli Garrett. Trial 1 resulted in a mistrial and retrial, with a conviction in the retrial on all 12 counts for which he was accused.[1]:12 Montano died before trial 2, so it was not conducted.[1] Ray 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 Ray's daughter, Glenda Jean "Jesse" Ray was also tried; she was sentenced to nine years in prison, leaving five to be served on probation.[citation needed]

In 1999, accomplice Dennis Roy Yancy was convicted of the strangulation murder of Marie Parker in Elephant Butte, which Ray recorded.[7][10][11][12] Cindy Hendy, an accomplice who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes.[when?][citation needed]

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.[13][14]

In 2010, Yancy was paroled 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, Yancy was charged with violation of probation. He was remanded to custody until 2021, to serve the remainder of his original sentence.[7][10][12][15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ramsland, Katherine Ramsland. "David Parker Ray: The Toy Box Killer". TruTV. Archived from the original on June 4, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Glatt, John. Cries in the Desert. St. Martin's True Crime Library. ISBN 0312977565. 
  3. ^ "David Parker Ray : CV" (PDF). Maamodt.asp.radford.edu. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Fielder, Jim (2003). Slow Death. New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. (pgs. 10, 11 and 28). ISBN 0-7860-1199-8. 
  5. ^ Proctor, Jeff (November 19, 2011). "Updated: Victim Tells of Captivity". www.abqjournal.com. Albuquerque, N.M.: Albuquerque Journal. Journal Staff. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b McMahan, Elysia (May 5, 2015). "The Horrifying True Story of a Woman Who Escaped the 'Toy Box Killer'". firsttoknow.com. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c I Escaped Death (Season 1, Episode 8). Lair of a Sadist. Discovery Channel. 
  8. ^ "Ray Gets 223-Plus Years For Sex Torture". amarillo.com. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Cold Case Files | "Toy-Box Killer" David Parker Ray - Crime Documentaries". youtube.com. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Toy Box: Where The Evil Lurks. MSNBC. May 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ Kim Holland. "Murderer paroled in sex torture case". krqe.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "NM Court Lookup Case # D-721-CR-199900040". 
  13. ^ Glatt, John (2002). Cries in the Desert. Macmillan. p. 276. ISBN 9780312977566. OCLC 49937160. 
  14. ^ Fielder, Jim (2003). Slow Death. Kensington Pub. p. 315. ISBN 9780786011995. OCLC 51455524. 
  15. ^ Kim Holland. "Murderer paroled in sex torture case". krqe.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. 

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