The Horrifying Truth of David Parker Ray, the Toy Box Killer

Between the mid-‘80s and 1999, David Parker Ray kidnapped, tortured, and drugged dozens of women. When New Mexico officials finally captured him after his final victim escaped, they were horrified by what they found in his soundproof trailer. Unfortunately, the bodies of his victims were never recovered.

David Parker Ray / Cynthia Vigil / Jesse Parker Ray / The Toy Box.
Source: Getty Images

Ray had accomplices who knew exactly what he was doing and never tried to stop him. He used drugs and brainwashing techniques to prevent women from remembering what happened in the trailer. He had no criminal record and appeared to be a nice guy, but there was something evil inside David Parker Ray.

The Beginning of the End

On March 19, 1999, 22-year-old Cynthia Vigil was getting frisky with a man in a parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when a man knocked on the window. He claimed to be an undercover cop and was arresting her for solicitation of sex work. He handcuffed her and put Vigil in the back of his car.

An image of David Parker Ray in court.
David Parker Ray. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The man was David Parker Ray, and he brought Vigil to his nearby soundproof trailer, which he called the “Toy Box.” Once Ray had Vigil inside, he chained her to a table in the center of the space and held her captive for three days with the help of his girlfriend and accomplice, Cindy Hendy.

She Thought She Was Going to Die

Ray and Hendy used several instruments to torture Vigil. Before he did things to her, Ray would play a cassette tape with a detailed recording of exactly what she would endure. On the tape, Ray explained that she was to refer to him as “master” and the woman as “mistress.”

Vigil tells her story to reporters.
Cynthia Vigil. Photo by Jim Thompson

Vigil said it seemed like he knew what he was doing, and this wasn’t his first time. Ray told her she would die “like the others,” and she was terrified. Vigil did everything to survive despite the horrific experience, and when she saw her moment of opportunity, she took it.

She Spotted the Keys

On the third day of captivity, Ray left for work like he did the other days. She was left alone with Hendy, who accidentally left the keys to Vigil’s restraints on a table nearby. When Hendy left the room, Vigil knew there were only a few seconds to escape.

A dated image of Vigil at the time of her kidnap.
Cynthia Vigil. Source: Pinterest

As quickly as she could, Vigil grabbed the keys and got her hands untied. Hendy realized what was happening and tried to stop her, but Vigil stabbed her in the neck with an icepick when she approached. She got her legs free of the restraints and ran out of the trailer.

He Was Finally Captured

Vigil was naked with just a dog collar and padlocked chains. In desperation, she ran to a nearby mobile home, where the owner brought her inside and called the police. Authorities arrived quickly, arresting both Ray and Hendy before they had a chance to get away. Their reign of terror was finally over.

Vigil cries during a televised interview.
Cynthia Vigil. Source: YouTube

Although Vigil was lucky to have gotten away before he could have killed her, she was still left with mental and physical scars that would haunt her for the rest of her life. She could tell Ray had done this before but didn’t realize how many women had been in that trailer before her.

Inside the “Toy Box”

After the police apprehended Ray, they searched his home and trailer, finding things that shocked and disturbed them. His trailer contained a gynecologist-type chair with a mirror mounted on the ceiling, so his victims had to watch. They found all types of horrific instruments used to hurt his victims.

An interior shot of the “Toy Box.”
Source: Pinterest

Investigators reported a wooden contraption used to bend over and immobilize Ray’s victims so he and his friends could assault them. Additionally, the walls were covered with detailed diagrams depicting different torture methods. They also found a key piece of evidence.

Posing as a Police Officer

Part of Ray’s method to kidnap his victims was to pose as an undercover police officer. Inside his trailer, investigators found duct tape and items used to make it appear to be an official police vehicle so that the women thought they were actually being arrested.

An image of people lining up to view the preliminary hearing of David Parker Ray.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

However, once the women were inside, they were surrounded by torture weapons and disturbing posters. Ray covered the walls with drawings of things he wanted to do and photographs of the torture he inflicted on previous women. He also kept a copy of American Psycho.

Another Survivor Came Forward

The case created a media frenzy because of the disturbing circumstances of Ray’s crimes. It led another woman to come forward with a similar story. Angelic Montano was Ray’s acquaintance, who went to his house to ask for some cake mix.

A closeup on David Parker Ray’s facial expression in court.
David Parker Ray. Source: YouTube

She told the police that she had been drugged, assaulted, and tortured by Ray. He left Montano on the side of the highway in the desert. When police found her, they took her story, but there was no follow-up on her case. Montano thought she would never get justice.

He Didn’t Kill Everyone

One of Ray’s methods was using drugs to induce amnesia and memory loss in his victims. He used sodium pentothal and phenobarbital, so the women couldn’t remember exactly what happened to them. He wanted to torture them but didn’t want them to tell on him.

An exterior shot of the “Toy Box.”
Source: YouTube

By using these drugs, Ray immobilized his victims but didn’t put them to sleep. He wanted them to stay awake throughout the torture because it satisfied him more. He was a sadist and got off on the fear and pain he inflicted on these terrified women.

Hendy Cracked Under Pressure

In the trailer, police found a tape from 1996 showing a terrified woman being assaulted and tortured by Ray and Hendy. With this strong evidence and case against them, Hendy cracked under pressure. She told the police what she knew about the murders and other accomplices.

A mugshot of Cindy Hendy.
Cindy Hendy. Source: Pinterest

Hendy said Ray’s daughter, Glenda “Jesse” Ray, and a friend, Dennis Roy Yancy, helped in the abductions and murders. Ray had been married and divorced four times in his life, and Jesse was a child from one of those marriages.

The Truth Starts to Unravel

When Hendy gave the names of Jesse and Yancy, the police arrested them. It didn’t take long for Yancy to admit to participating in the murder of Marie Parker. She was a woman abducted, drugged, and tortured for days by Ray and his daughter.

A dated portrait of Cindy Hendy.
Cindy Hendy. Source: YouTube

Yancy said he strangled Parker to death in 1997. Ray hadn’t been working alone, and many people knew what he was doing and sometimes joined in on the torture for their own pleasure. In return, they didn’t rat out Ray, and he got to keep hurting women.

The Woman in the Video

After releasing information about the woman in the video found in Ray’s trailer, she was identified by her ex-mother-in-law as Kelli Garrett. She was a friend of Ray’s daughter, Jesse. According to reports, Garrett got into a fight with her then-husband on July 24, 1996.

Kelli Garrett tells her story during an interview.
Kelli Garrett. Source: YouTube

Garrett decided to spend the night playing pool at a local bar with Jesse. While Garrett was distracted, Jesse roofied her drink and helped Ray put a dog collar on Garrett, before bringing her to the “toy box.” She was confused and hazy from the drugs.

They Tried to Get Rid of Her

When Garrett was in the trailer, Ray and Jesse kept her drugged for two days while they assaulted and tortured her. She was barely lucid for the experience, but Garrett was terrified. After those two long and horrifying days, Ray slit her throat, hoping to kill her.

A portrait of Ray’s daughter.
Jesse Ray. Source: Pinterest

He dumped her on the side of the road, but she miraculously survived. Unfortunately, no one believed Garrett’s story, not her husband or the police. Instead, her husband thought she cheated on him and filed for divorce. She was left with nothing and almost wished she had died.

No One Believed the Survivors

Because of the drugs, Garrett had little memory of what happened in Ray’s trailer during those two days. However, she remembered being assaulted by him, but it didn’t seem reliable because she only had pieces of a story.

An interior shot of the “Toy Box.” / An image of Ray getting arrested.
Source: YouTube

Like many of the other women Ray let live, the drugs and women’s socio-economic standing made it challenging for their testimonies to be readily accepted by jurors. These women had endured to most awful experiences of their lives and couldn’t get any kind of justice.

He Treated His Victims Like Dogs

When law enforcement found Vigil, she was wearing nothing but a dog collar and chain. Ray reportedly treated his victims like dogs, forcing them to eat on the floor while bound with a leash. Vigil said Ray bathed her like a dog.

Vigil speaks during an interview.
Vigil. Source: YouTube

She said he forced her to perform sexual acts for him and his accomplices. Vigil’s unfathomable experience didn’t just include assault or torture, but Ray also used a form a beastiality on her. While we will spare you the details, Vigil will never forget.

There Was a Second Trailer

During the police investigation, they found a second trailer. It contained surgical tools, anatomy texts, and a self-authored manual on how to restrain his victims. They also found a diary written by Ray suggesting he had murdered several victims.

An exterior shot of Ray’s trailer.
Source: Pinterest

In his book, Ray wrote that bondage was a must, and the neck collar was permanent. He included psychological torture methods, like a blindfold and the use of a slow approach. His manual said to keep the victims “off-balance,” so their minds and bodies would be in a state of stress.

The Dungeon Master

Ray described himself as a “dungeon master” on one of his audiotapes. He said he had an affiliation with the Church of Satan and his victims were not just for him but all the members of the congregation. He claimed there were others like him.

A photo of a sign inside the trailer where Ray tortured his victims.
Source: Pinterest

The women were forced to listen to this tape, making them believe many others would assault them. For every threat Ray made on the tapes, he had an instrument to carry it out. He would photograph some of the things he was doing for his records.

A Large Search Effort

The investigation team had the task of collecting and labeling each item. The evidence had to be handled carefully so that it would not be thrown out of court. Police believed Ray was a serial offender, possibly a serial killer, and wanted to be sure to put him away.

A video still inside of Ray’s “Toy Box.”
Source: YouTube

New Mexico Public Safety Director Darren White told reporters that what he found was so disturbing it made his stomach turn. Authorities were reluctant to give out details, but White told residents that the “nightmare was behind bars.” However, reporters were hungry for more details.

No One Suspected Him

Reporters went around the area to learn more from those who knew Ray. People said he seemed like a regular guy. No one ever had problems with him, and he didn’t have a criminal record, so there was no suspicion about what he might have been doing.

An image of Ray in court.
Source: YouTube

Ray was like everyone else in the town, and people always saw him coming and going from the property that he leased. His neighbors knew he had a job and never heard or saw anything suspicious. It made police wonder how long he had been doing this.

Expanding the Search

After looking in his trailers, police turned their attention to Ray’s property. They found bone fragments, but they were from animals, not humans. The FBI had over 100 agents on the case and widened their search into Arizona and Texas to look for potential victims.

A mugshot of Ray.
Source: Pinterest

Leads took agents to Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, and Mexico. There seemed to be more to this case that the public didn’t know. Profilers were used because there was an assumption that Ray had a much longer history of abuse and practiced it for a long time.

His Accomplice

Police dove into the background of those who helped Ray. His main accomplice, Hendy, was from Seattle, where she had three children. She fled to New Mexico to avoid arrest for forgery, theft, and drug possession. She was on the run when she met Ray.

An image of Ray outside court.
Source: YouTube

Investigators discovered that Hendy told a friend that she’d helped Ray with the attacks because it gave her an “adrenaline rush.” She confided to her that he had killed, dismembered, and tossed four to six people into the local lake. But the friend didn’t believe her.

Hendy Made a Deal

In exchange for a reduced sentence, Hendy provided details of Ray’s alleged murders. She said Ray killed his business partner, Billy Bowers, and she helped dump the body in the lake. However, the body floated to the surface. She said Ray learned to make the remains sink.

A portrait of Hendy.
Source: Pinterest

Hendy also claimed that Ray disposed of many bodies in the lake and ravines around south-central New Mexico. Authorities followed the leads in ten different states, using radar and cadaver dogs, but no remains were found. Hendy received 36 years for her role in the crimes.

His Daughter Pled Not Guilty

Hendy gave information about Ray’s other accomplices, including his daughter Jesse. She was arrested and charged with kidnapping women for sexual torture. Jesse’s lawyer, Billy Blackburn, entered a “not guilty” plea. He stated Jesse denied any involvement with her father and his supposed crimes.

An image of Jesse in court.
Jesse Ray. Source: YouTube

However, years earlier, Jesse reported her father to the FBI. She said that Ray had abducted and sold women in Mexico, but no victims were identified. The allegations were non-specific, so the FBI didn’t file a report. Jesse was only given two and half years in prison, with five years of probation.

Yancy Got a Reduced Sentence

Yancy, who admitted to killing one of Ray’s victims, told the police about Jesse’s involvement in the kidnapping and torture of Marie Parker. Ray and Jesse came to him when they were “done with her” and instructed him to kill Parker and dump the body.

A interior shot of the Toy Box.
Source: ABC News

To reduce his sentence, Yancy attempted to show the police where the body was but couldn’t find it. Ray might have moved it in case Yancy cracked. Yancy was charged with second-degree murder, evidence tampering, and conspiracy. He received a reduced sentence of 36 years.

He Had Three Trials

Authorities decided that Ray would have three trials: one for his acts against Vigil, a second for those on Montano, and a third for Garrett. His first trial began on March 28, 2000, for the kidnapping and assault of Vigil. The judge made it difficult to use all the evidence.

A photo of the FBI inspecting the “Toy Box.”
Source: YouTube

The judge suppressed Ray’s early interviews with the FBI and New Mexico State Police and banned the media from the jury selection. Judge Mertz created holes in the case. It was like he didn’t want Ray to be convicted of his awful crimes.

More Delays

After the jury selection, Ray suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. He had a history of heart trouble, but the prosecutor thought he was trying to delay proceedings. The judge postponed the trial for a week, resulting in more delays and excluding expert witnesses.

A picture of Ray talking to his lawyer in court.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Unexpectedly, Judge Mertz decided to start a different trial for the kidnapping and torture of Garrett. It had the weakest evidence, but Mertz scheduled it anyway. The delays pleased Ray because he felt like he was manipulating the system. It made him feel powerful.

Excluding Evidence

Judge Mertz excluded a printed sheet of Ray’s procedures for handling his victims and the devices found in the trailer. He claimed no one could prove the evidence had been there in 1996. The prosecution still had the victim’s testimony and the videotape.

A headshot of Ray during the trial.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ray’s lawyers claimed that the items Garrett had seen were not the same ones acquired in the 1999 search. The judge seemed to be working in Ray’s favor. This disgusted and angered the prosecution because the judge saw all the gruesome evidence and excluded it.

The Injustice Continued

On May 7, 2000, Montano died from pneumonia. After her ordeal, she became a drug addict to cope with the pain Ray inflicted, and without her testimony, the trial was called off. Ray got away with Montano’s kidnap, rape, and torture, but there were still Garrett and Vigil’s trials.

A video still of Ray’s arrest.
Source: YouTube

After Hendy was sentenced for her involvement, Garrett’s trial finally got back underway. Ray faced 12 counts of sexual abuse, kidnapping, and conspiracy. Garrett claimed Ray tied her up and kept her naked in his trailer the entire time.

A Mistrial

Garrett had a hazy memory of the events because of the drugs, but she clearly conveyed that she was held against her will. The jury saw a videotape, and Garrett insisted it was not consensual. However, she was not a good witness.

Reporters try to talk with Hendy on her way to court.
Source: YouTube

On July 14, 2000, Judge Mertz declared a mistrial. The jurors deliberated for eight hours and couldn’t come to an agreement about the 12 charges. Two jurors couldn’t find Ray guilty of assault; some voted to acquit because Garrett wasn’t persuasive, and others didn’t believe it was torture.

It Wasn’t the End

Garrett received a retrial after the mistrial. Two days into the trial, Judge Mertz died. This caused even more delays, but it picked up again in April 2001. The Court of Appeals upheld Mertz’s ruling to exclude certain pieces of evidence like the items found in the trailer.

A photo of the handcuffs Ray kept in his trailer.
Source: YouTube

It was another uphill battle, but the prosecutor was more than prepared to get a conviction. The same people testified, including Garrett. She described being on a leash and strapped into the chair. Ray’s attorney questioned why it took her so long to come forward.

Finally, a Conviction

Although Ray’s lawyer hounded Garret about the differences in her testimonies, she could only explain that her memory was clouded because she was drugged. Ray’s audiotapes and videotapes were played in court, and she cried as she watched. The jury showed no reaction.

A photo of Ray in court / An image of Hendy in court.
David Parker Ray, Cindy Hendy. Source: YouTube

Ray vowed that he was innocent and would fight all the way to the Supreme Court if convicted. The jury found him guilty on all 12 charges for Garrett’s case. Finally, there was some justice for the women he hurt, but their pain would never disappear.

He Gave an Interview

After his conviction, Ray gave an interview to offer his side. He said, “I feel raped. I got pleasure out of a woman getting pleasure. I did what they wanted me to do.” It was unbelievable to hear the words come out of his mouth, but he didn’t stop there.

A picture of Ray in court.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ray said his sadistic tapes were a source of entertainment for him. He said there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the tape stating that it was for adult entertainment only. Ray had one conviction behind him, but the worst was yet to come.

Vigil Got Justice

Vigil’s trial was initially interrupted when Ray had a heart attack, but it continued after Garrett’s trial. Ray started with his claims of innocence, but within a week, he had reached a plea deal. There was too much evidence in Vigil’s case, and he had no chance of winning.

A deputy district attorney Jim Yontz holds photographs presented as evidence during the trial.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ray received more than 223 years in prison. He said, “I can only be sorry for what I did.” Some believe he took the deal because he wanted redemption and the time to reflect on what he did and “make it right with God.”

He Tried to Appeal

Ray quickly tried to appeal his sentence. He claimed that his plea was involuntary, and his “exhausted mind was clouded by his ill health, medication, and pressure applied by his lawyers.” A panel of judges rejected his appeal, stating he was not pressured.

A photo of investigators searching the grounds of a lot that belonged to Ray.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ray also stated that he wasn’t allowed expert witnesses to testify that the medication confused him. The judges said he was on a normal dose of medication. On May 28, 2002, Ray was being transferred to the general prison when he suffered a heart attack and died.

There Were Many Unknown Victims

In the investigation, police found evidence of several more killings. Ray detailed about 50 of them in a diary, but authorities couldn’t create a case. Hendy and Yancy identified areas where Ray supposedly disposed of bodies, but police found nothing.

FBI investigators continue to search for more bodies on the grounds of a lot belonging to Ray.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Experts believe that someone who put so much effort into his “toy box” and killed numerous women over many years would likely have a larger number of victims. The unidentified personal effects and jewelry found in his trailer also point to more victims. As of 2011, the FBI was still getting leads.

How Did He Become the “Toy Box Killer?”

Ray was raised by his grandfather, though his father maintained an abusive relationship with him as a child. He was bullied in school for being unusually shy around girls, causing him to turn to drugs and alcohol as a teenager. He tried to turn his life around after school.

A headshot of Ray during the trial.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After graduation, Ray enlisted in the army, but he was honorably discharged at the end of his enlistment. He then became a mechanic and worked for the New Mexico Parks Department. Many believed he evaded detection because he seemed normal, but there were warning signs.

He Was a Violent Teen

Ray’s first ventures into sadism started in the 1950s when he was just a teenager. After his father left him and his sister to live with his grandfather, Ray developed a secret fascination with sadism. He told his first wife about the first crime he committed.

A picture of a teenage boy behind a shadow glass.
Photo by Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images

Ray alleged that he kidnapped a woman, tied her to a tree, tortured and murdered her when he was just a teenager. His wife shared that she was aware of his fantasies but didn’t know the extent. They reportedly got divorced because he had sadistic relationships with prostitutes.

Moving On

Since Ray died, Vigil has tried to move on and help other people. In 2010, she founded Street Safe to support and protect sex workers on the streets of Albuquerque. Although she can never get rid of the memories, Vigil started a new life.

An image of the FBI investigating the grounds of Ray’s lot.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

She eventually got married and had three sons. Vigil continues to share her story in hopes of helping the FBI identify more victims. She feels lucky to have survived and said, “If I didn’t get away, I wouldn’t have my three wonderful boys. I wouldn’t be here.”

Hendy Got Out of Jail

Although Hendy was sentenced to 36 years in prison, she became eligible for release after serving half of her sentence. Additionally, her last two years in jail counted as parole, so when she was released in 2019, Hendy didn’t have to report to the state.

A mugshot of Cindy Hendy / An interior shot of the “Toy Box.”
Cindy Hendy. Source: Pinterest

Yancy was also released after 11 years but returned to prison three months later for a parole violation. He was to remain in jail until 2021 to serve the rest of his original sentence. None of them should have been allowed out of jail for helping a monster.