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David Parker Ray (November 6, 1939 – May 28, 2002) was an American serial killer best known as the Toy Box Killer. 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.
He soundproofed a truck trailer that he called his "toy box", and equipped it with items used for sexual 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).
During his childhood, Ray and his younger sister Peggy lived with their disciplinarian grandfather. He was sporadically visited by his violent, alcoholic father who would supply him with magazines depicting sadomasochistic pornography. At Mountainair High School, in Mountainair, New Mexico, he was also bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls.
His sexual fantasies of raping, torturing, and even murdering women developed during his teenage years. Around this time, his sister discovered his sadomasochistic drawings, as well as pornographic photographs of bondage acts. 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.
He was divorced four times and had two children, including Glenda Jean "Jessie" Ray.
Ray sexually tortured and presumably killed his victims using whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, surgical blades, and saws. 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 upon which he would strap his victims. Ray would also put his victims in wooden contraptions that bent them over and immobilized them while he had his dogs and sometimes other friends rape them. He has been said to have wanted his victims to see everything he was doing to them during the torture sessions. Ray would often have a recorded audio tape of himself played for his victims whenever they regained consciousness.
Upon his capture, 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. Montano died before trial 2, so it was not convicted. Ray agreed to a plea bargain, under the terms of which he was sentenced in 2001 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. Ray's daughter, Glenda Jean "Jesse" Ray was also tried on charges of kidnapping; she was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, with an additional five years to be served on probation.
In 1999, accomplice Dennis Roy Yancy was convicted of the strangulation murder of Marie Parker in Elephant Butte, which Ray recorded. 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 will be remanded to custody until 2021, to serve the remainder of his original sentence.
In 2000, Cindy Hendy, an accomplice who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes. She was scheduled to receive parole in 2017. She was released on July 15 2019 after serving the 2 years of her parole in prison.
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.