David Parker Ray was an American serial rapist and suspected serial killer who preyed on women and subjected them to depraved acts of violence to satisfy his brutal appetite for sexual dominance. His MO led him to be dubbed the 'Toy-Box Killer'.
Imagine waking up, naked, bound, and gagged in a steel box with no windows. As your eyes focus, you realise the walls are littered with instruments of torture. A mirror on the ceiling reveals your spread-eagled body tied to a gynaecologist’s chair. Fear rises, and you push against your restraints, but your attempts are futile.
The sound of your heart beating out of your chest is broken by a man’s voice. Your eyes dart around the room, searching for the monster that’s done this to you. The room is empty. The voice a recording. You listen as he explains what has happened to you and what will happen to you.
In graphic detail, he describes your future is one of pain and submission. You are his sex slave. You will be subjected to daily rape and torture by multiple assailants for as long as he wants. You have to listen to every depraved act of brutality he’ll inflict upon you. The tape makes it very clear there’s no other option. The life you had is over. Your freewill is gone. To him, you are not human. You are his plaything, a disposable toy for him to exact his vile perversions on. The recording continues. You realise he’s done this before. He’s gotten away with this before. You’re not his first.
It sounds like the nightmarish introduction to a book or film. A piece of fiction to prey on mankind’s worst fears. But this was reality for the victims of David Parker Ray, The Toy-Box Killer.
Born on 6 November 1939 in New Mexico, Ray worked as a mechanic for New Mexico’s Parks Department and, to the outside world, he was a regular, hard-working guy. In reality, he was a depraved torturer of women, a sexual sadist, and a suspected serial killer. His toy box was a motor home he allegedly spent $100,000 converting into a soundproof torture room. The room was equipped with whips, chains, clamps, leg spreaders, sex toys, surgical blades, and saws, syringes, and it’s own electricity generator so Ray could administer electrical shocks to his victims. He liked to strap them to a gynaecologist’s chair that had a mirror above it. He liked his victims to watch their own torture.
Ray had several accomplices, including Cindy Hendy, a woman with an appetite for torture, and his own daughter, Glenda Jean ‘Jesse’ Ray. However, in 1986, Jesse warned the FBI her father was kidnapping, raping, and torturing women, but the allegations were vague and the authorities didn’t take it any further. Jesse soon became her father’s accomplice. She and Hendy, would help ray lure women back to the toy box, and the nightmare would begin.
Some victims were held for months at a time, and subjected to some of the most depraved acts of sexual violence and torture. Transcripts of the audio tape Ray would play to his victim on their first day of captivity reveal the full horror of what they would have to endure.
Ray’s appetite for sadism went beyond physical torture. He wanted to mess with his victims minds, too. He would drug them, so they were susceptible to hypnosis. One victim, who managed to escape, was convinced her memories of rape and torture were nothing more than a terrible nightmare until she was contacted by the FBI. This was the reason Ray let so many of his victims loose after he’d finished with them.
Ray was finally caught in 1999, after one of his victims, Cynthia Vigil, escaped. After three days of captivity, she waited until Ray went to work. Then, she grabbed a set of keys Hendy had left nearby. She unchained herself, stabbed Hendy, and fled wearing only an iron slave collar, to a nearby house. The homeowner alerted police, and Ray was arrested on 22 March.
When news spread of the heinous crimes, and with mounting publicity, more victims came forward. The FBI launched an investigation, and uncovered a further accomplice, Dennis Yancy. He admitted to strangling a former girlfriend, after Ray had kidnapped and tortured her.
The investigation uncovered video tapes of Ray torturing his victims. They also found Ray’s diary, which had details of all the women he’d abused. Ray had also written about women he’d killed, but no details of where the bodies had been dumped, and the FBI never found any remains.
Police estimate Ray raped, tortured, and killed up to 60 women. Despite this evidence, Ray was offered, and agreed to, a plea bargain. He was sentenced to 224 years in prison for the abduction and sexual torture of three young women. He was never convicted of murder. He died of a heart attack in 2002, while he was awaiting interrogation at the Lea County Correctional Facility in New Mexico, and the location of his alleged victims died with him.