Crime History: The Story of David Parker Ray, the 'Toy Box Killer'

September 30, 2016
By: Terri Osborne
David Parker Ray [screenshot from video]

David Parker Ray [screenshot from video]

Photo by: Alburquerque Journal

Alburquerque Journal

David Parker Ray [screenshot from video]

David Parker Ray called it the “Toy Box.” He’d spent at least $100,000 converting that motor home just for his own carnal desires. For the women in the Southwest that he was convicted of torturing and raping in there, it was Hell on Earth.

In 1999, Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo had been chained up in that Toy Box, which was really just a small motor home that Ray had tricked out with whips, chains, intricate torture devices, and ways to sexually abuse women.

Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo. [screenshot from ID’s House of Horrors]

Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo. [screenshot from ID’s House of Horrors]

Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo. [screenshot from ID’s House of Horrors]

According to reports, Jaramillo had been kidnapped and drugged before she awoke that day in the Box. She had been in there for three days, and was reportedly wearing nothing but a dog collar and chain.

When Ray left for work that morning, Jaramillo took the opportunity to break free. She overpowered Ray’s girlfriend and accomplice, Cynthia Lea Hendy, and made her escape. That was when the world began to know about David Parker Ray.

Police believe that over about 40 years, Ray may have kidnapped, tortured, and killed as many as 40 to 60 women. Unfortunately, they have not been able to locate the bodies of the suspected victims. When Ray was finally brought to trial, he was charged with 37 counts that were just involving three women, including Jaramillo.

Ray kept diaries of his killings, including such details as where and when he’d kidnapped the women, which is why police believe that while they only had hard evidence on a small number of cases, the actual number of victims would be so much higher. Unfortunately, his diary didn’t say what happened after Ray was done with the women. According to some reports, Ray had even recorded a tape to play for his victims, telling them precisely what was in store for them.

Another report details a videotape that was shown during a 2001 retrial of Ray on which he had another victim strapped to a gurney while he tortured her. That was a retrial after the initial jury in the case of a female Colorado victim that had ended in a hung jury. In the retrial, he faced 12 charges involving sexual torture and kidnapping of the Colorado woman.

Finally, Ray ended up being sentenced to 224 years in prison for the crimes against the three known victims. Unfortunately for the other victims, Ray took the details of their suspected deaths with him to his grave. Ray died of a heart attack in 2002, after serving only about three of those years.

New Mexico police are still investigating the cases of Ray’s suspected victims. They’ve searched every lake in the area for bodies and followed every human bone found out in the desert for possible connection to a woman on the list.

As of April 2015, Ray’s “Toy Box” remains in the possession of the Albuquerque FBI. The known facts of Ray’s crimes have also been covered in the book Slow Death by Jim Fielder. There have been numerous documentaries on the crimes since Ray’s arrest, and he is still considered among one of the most frightening and disturbing serial killers to ever exist in America.

Police are still asking anyone with information on Ray or any of the dozens of potential victims to call the FBI. You can reach them at (505) 889-1300.

The Albuquerque Journal brings us this video on the Ray case, including a press conference with Jaramillo:

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