From the mid-1950s to the late 1990s, David Parker Ray kidnapped dozens of women in New Mexico — and brutalized them in his "Toy Box" torture chamber.
On March 19, 1999, 22-year-old Cynthia Vigil was hooking in a parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when a man claiming to be an undercover cop told her she was under arrest for solicitation of sex work and put her in the back of his car. That man was David Parker Ray, and he brought Vigil to his nearby soundproof trailer, which he called his “Toy Box.”
Then, he chained her to a table in the trailer. Over the next three days, he raped and tortured Vigil, with help from his girlfriend and accomplice Cindy Hendy. Ray and Hendy used whips, medical and sexual instruments, and electric shocks to torment Vigil. Just before her torture, Ray would play a cassette tape with a recording detailing what she would be forced to endure.
On the cassette, Ray explained that she was to refer to him only as “Master” and the woman with him as “Mistress” and never to speak unless spoken to first. He then went on to explain exactly how he would rape and abuse her.
“The way he talked, I didn’t feel like this was his first time,” Vigil said in a later interview. “It was like he knew what he was doing. He told me I was never going to see my family again. He told me he would kill me like the others.”
On the third day, while Ray was at work, Hendy accidentally left the keys to Vigil’s restraints on a table near where Vigil was chained up. Seizing the opportunity, Vigil lunged for the keys and freed her hands. Hendy attempted to stop her escape, but Vigil was able to stab her with an ice pick.
She ran out of the trailer naked, wearing only a slave collar and padlocked chains. In desperation, she knocked on the door of a nearby mobile home. The homeowner brought Vigil inside and called the police, who promptly arrested both Ray and Hendy — and learned of their many sickening crimes.
The Early Life Of David Parker Ray
David Parker Ray was born in Belen, New Mexico in 1939. Little is known about his childhood, outside of the fact that he was mainly raised by his grandfather. He also regularly saw his father, who often beat him.
As a young boy, Ray was bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls. These insecurities eventually drove Ray to drink and abuse drugs.
He served in the U.S. Army and later received an honorable discharge. Ray was married and divorced four times, and he eventually found work as a mechanic with New Mexico State Parks, according to KOAT.
To this day, it’s unclear exactly when Ray began his crime spree. But it’s believed that it started at some point during the mid-1950s.
And it only came to light after the escape of Vigil.
Inside The Toy Box Killer’s Torture Chamber
After arresting David Parker Ray for the abduction of Vigil, the police quickly obtained a warrant to search his home and trailer, according to truTV. What the authorities found inside the trailer shocked and disturbed them.
Ray’s “Toy Box” contained a gynecologist-type table in the middle with a mirror mounted to the ceiling so that his victims could see the horrors delivered upon them. Littering the floor were whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, surgical blades, saws, and numerous sex toys.
Authorities also found a wooden contraption, which was apparently used to immobilize Ray’s victims while he and his friends raped them.
Chilling diagrams on the walls showed different methods for inflicting pain.
But of all the disturbing discoveries found in the Toy Box Killer’s trailer, perhaps the most horrifying one was a videotape from 1996, which showed a terrified woman being raped and tortured by Ray and his girlfriend.
The Known Victims Of David Parker Ray
Amidst the publicity of the arrest of David Parker Ray after his abduction of Cynthia Vigil, another woman came forward with a similar story.
Angelica Montano was an acquaintance of Ray’s who, after visiting his house to borrow cake mix, had been drugged, raped, and tortured by Ray. Montano was then left by a highway out in the desert. Luckily, she was found there alive by the police, but there had been no follow-up on her case.
Ray often drugged his victims while tormenting them, using substances like sodium pentothal and phenobarbital so that they could not properly remember what happened to them if they survived their torture.
But now, since both Vigil and Montano were willing to testify to Ray’s crimes, the case against the Toy Box Killer grew stronger. Police were able to press Ray’s girlfriend and accomplice Cindy Hendy, who quickly folded and began telling authorities what she knew about the abductions.
Her testimony led the police to discover that Ray had been helped by multiple people during the kidnappings and rapes. Ray’s accomplices included his own daughter, Glenda “Jesse” Ray, and his friend, Dennis Roy Yancy. And at least some of these vicious attacks ended in murder.
Yancy later admitted to participating in the brutal murder of Marie Parker, a woman who had been abducted, drugged, and tortured for days by Ray and his daughter, before Yancy strangled her to death in 1997.
Despite this horrific story — and its chilling implications for David Parker Ray’s other unknown victims — at least one more woman survived the Toy Box Killer’s torture chamber. Surprisingly, it was the same victim who was seen being raped and tortured in the 1996 videotape found in Ray’s trailer.
After some details were released to the public about the woman in the video, she was identified by her ex-mother-in-law as Kelli Garrett.
Garrett was a former friend of David Parker Ray’s daughter and accomplice Jesse. On July 24, 1996, Garrett had gotten into a fight with her then-husband and decided to spend the night playing pool at a local saloon with Jesse to cool down. But unbeknownst to Garrett, Jesse roofied her beer.
At some point afterward, Jesse and her father placed a dog collar and leash on Garrett and brought her to the Toy Box Killer’s trailer. There, David Parker Ray raped and tortured her for two days. Then, Ray slit her throat and dumped her on the side of the road, leaving her for dead.
Garrett miraculously survived the brutal attack, but neither her husband nor the police believed her story. In fact, her husband, believing that she had cheated on him that night, filed for divorce that same year.
Due to the effects of the drugs, Garrett had limited recollection of the events over those two days — but remembered being raped by the Toy Box Killer.
The Disturbing Legacy Of The Toy Box Killer
David Parker Ray’s crime spree is believed to have spanned from the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. He was likely able to get away with it for so long because he targeted many women who were of low socioeconomic status. In addition, the fact that he drugged his victims made it far less likely for the few survivors to remember exactly what had happened to them.
Chillingly, much about Ray’s crimes remains unknown, including how many victims he may have killed. Though he was never formally convicted of murder, it’s been estimated that he killed over 50 women.
While police were investigating the Toy Box Killer’s trailer, they uncovered evidence of numerous murders, including diaries written by Ray, which detailed the brutal deaths of several women. Authorities also uncovered hundreds of pieces of jewelry, clothes, and other personal effects, according to the FBI. These items were believed to have belonged to Ray’s victims.
That plus the effort that David Parker Ray put into his “Toy Box” points to a horrifically large number of potential murder victims. But despite all the evidence, the authorities were unable to create additional cases. And although both Hendy and Yancy identified areas they believed Ray disposed of bodies, police found no human remains in any of these locations.
But while we may never know exactly how many people Ray murdered, his confirmed crimes against his surviving victims Vigil, Montano, and Garrett were fortunately enough to put him away for life.
The Toy Box Killer was ultimately sentenced to 224 years in prison. As for Jesse Ray, she received a sentence of nine years. Cindy Hendy was given 36 years in prison. Both were released early — and they walk free today.
David Parker Ray died of a heart attack on May 28, 2002, not long after his life sentence began. He was 62 years old at the time of his death.
Though several years have passed since then, authorities are still working to connect the Toy Box Killer to his many suspected murder victims.
“We’re still getting good leads,” FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal in 2011. “As long as we’re getting those leads, and as long as the exposure in the press keeps generating interest in the case, we’re going to keep investigating this.”
After reading about David Parker Ray, the Toy Box Killer, learn about Rodney Alcala, the serial killer who won “The Dating Game” during his murder spree. Then, read the bizarre story of Hungary’s “vampire” serial killer.