During his childhood, David Parker Ray lived with his grandfather. However, he still saw his father and was physically abused by him. At Mountainair High School, in Mountainair, New Mexico, he was also bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls, and he started abusing alcohol and other drugs as a teenager. As a teenager, his sexual fantasies of raping, torturing, and even murdering women developed. Around this time, his sister discovered Ray’s sadomasochistic drawings, as well as erotic 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. David Parker Ray sexually tortured and presumably killed his victims in a $100,000 homemade torture chamber he called his “toy box”, which he built out of an old mobile home and equipped with what he referred to as his “friends”: 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 he used to strap his victims to. 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.
On March 22, 1999, a victim, Cynthia Vigil, escaped after being kidnapped and enduring torture in a three-day ordeal. To escape, she waited until David Parker Ray went to work and then managed to get the keys to unlock her chains that Ray’s accomplice, Cindy Hendy, had left on a table nearby while she was in another room on the phone. After Vigil got the keys, Hendy noticed Vigil’s attempt to escape, and a fight ensued. During the struggle, Hendy broke a lamp on the victim’s head, but Vigil managed to unlock her chains and stab Hendy in the neck with an icepick. Hendy fell to the floor, and Vigil escaped. Vigil ran away naked, wearing only an iron slave collar and padlocked chains. After Vigil’s escape, police apprehended Ray and Hendy, and Ray was arrested. After the publicity surrounding the arrest, another victim, Angelica Montano, came forward. She told a similar story and said that she had reported the incident to police, but there had been no follow-up. Ray had a video of another victim, Kelly Garrett, which dated back to about 1993. Garrett was ultimately found in Colorado alive. Two other accomplices were uncovered by the investigation: Glenda Jean “Jesse” Ray (Ray’s daughter) and Dennis Yancy. Yancy admitted to strangling a former girlfriend, Marie Parker, after Ray had kidnapped and tortured her. Yancy was eventually convicted of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and received two 15-year terms.
Since that murder, David Parker Ray has allegedly admitted to having had an accomplice named Billy Bowers, a previous business partner, whom Ray also murdered. The FBI sent 100 agents to examine Ray’s property and surroundings, but no identifiable human remains turned up there. To prevent women from reporting the crimes, Ray had drugged them with agents to induce amnesia. He taped himself telling one woman the drugs were “sodium pentothal and phenobarbitol”. One woman remained uncertain that her recollections of the abuse were anything but nightmares until contacted by the FBI. After questioning, she came to remember her mistreatment in increasing detail. A determination was made that Ray would be tried in three separate trials: (1) for Cynthia Vigil, (2) for Angelica Montano, and (3) for Kelly 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 conducted. Ray agreed to a plea bargain, under the terms of which he was sentenced 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; she was sentenced to nine years in prison, leaving five 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. Cindy Hendy, an accomplice who testified against Ray, received a sentence of 36 years for her role in the crimes. On May 28, 2002, David Parker 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. 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 was remanded to custody until 2021, to serve the remainder of his original sentence.
- November, 06, 1939
- Belen, New Mexico
- May, 28, 2002
- Hobbs, New Mexico
Cause of Death
- heart attack