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 60 people in the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He is occasionally known as the “Toy-Box Killer”.
Ray’s childhood was the start of what many believe turned him into a murderer. Ray lived with his grandfather. He still saw his father, but his father physically abused him. Parker also was bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls. As a teenager, he started abusing alcohol and drugs. Ray’s rough start continued to progress into adulthood and eventually lead to the victimization of young women.
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, 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 home-made 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.
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 icepick 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 re-trial. Hendy, who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes.
David Parker Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison at a hearing in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico – having been convicted of numerous offences 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 behaviour 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 wants Ray to live a for 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.