How Did The Toy Box Killer Get His Creepy Name?

Cynthia Vigil was approached by a man in the parking lot of a motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was earning a living as a sex worker. Identifying himself as a cop, he handcuffed her and told her she was under arrest. He forced her into the back of his RV and drove off, later parking it and taking her into his home several hours away. She was stripped of her clothes and chained to a table. 

He was no police officer. His name was David Parker Ray, who would later be known in the media as "The Toy Box Killer."

For three days, Vigil was repeatedly sexually assaulted and tortured by both Ray and his girlfriend, Cynthia Hendy. Before Ray left for work the third day, he told Vigil that he was taking her into his "toy box" when he arrived back home. Knowing she was facing even more horror she began to think of ways to escape.

While Ray was at work, Vigil noticed that Hendy had left his keys within her grasp on a nearby table. She grabbed them, freed herself from the chains, and made a break for it. Hendy attempted to stop her, but Vigil stabbed her with an icepick and was able to make it out (per "Unseen" via YouTube). Naked with a chained collar around her neck, she made it to a nearby home where she was able to get someone to call 911 for help.

A look inside Ray's toy box

Within hours, police placed Ray and Hendy under arrest. On their property was a Ryder truck that investigators opened, probably not imagining what they might find inside. When they entered, they found themselves inside a box truck that Ray had converted into a room that held items he had amassed to satisfy his sadistic desires. Whips, medical tools, syringes full of sedatives, a device that could deliver electrical shocks, and other instruments of torture were arranged inside, along with a wide variety of sex toys. It appeared as though they had stumbled across the "toy box" that Ray had threatened to take Vigil to.

The investigation into Ray and Hendy yielded two more torture victims being identified. Kelli Garrett, a friend of Ray's daughter Jesse, had been drugged and subjected to the same violence that Ray had inflicted on Vigil. Ray had her drugged so much that she couldn't recall what happened when she was found days later. A videotape of Garrett being victimized by Ray was discovered during the police search of Ray's property, eventually leading to Garrett being identified as a victim that survived Ray (per All That's Interesting). 

Ray was also linked to the disappearance of Marie Parker, who had been missing since 1997. A co-worker of Ray's, Dennis Roy Yancy, with the help of Ray's daughter Jesse, drugged and kidnapped Parker. Yancy would admit that he and Ray both tortured and sexually assaulted the woman, who was Yancy's ex-girlfriend. Yancy strangled Parker to death and disposed of the body (per Thought Catalog). 

The Toy Box Killer had one mistrial

Ray was tried in court for the kidnapping and sexual assault of Garrett. But two female jurors wouldn't vote to convict him, claiming that they didn't believe Garrett's story according to the Associated Press (via FBI Vault). The judge was forced to declare a mistrial. But prosecutors had the option of retrying the case, and the next time they would secure a conviction. In his second trial, David Parker Ray was found guilty of all 12 charges (via Tru TV).

Ray's trial for his crimes against Vigil didn't drag through the courts as long. After the trial was underway, Ray struck a plea deal with prosecutors, landing him a 223-year sentence in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. (via Las Cruces Sun News).

For their roles in various crimes, both Ray's daughter and his girlfriend were handed prison sentences. His daughter pled no contest to kidnapping and was given a nine-year sentence with six years suspended. Her involvement being much more substantial, Hendy was given a much longer sentence of 36 years. She was eligible for parole in half that time, leaving prison in 2019 after only serving 18 years (via KRQE). As of March 2022, she was reported to be living in the Bitterroot Valley region of Montana, per KPAX.

Ray was able to evade a charge for Marie Parker's murder. Yancy was tried and convicted and sentenced to two 15-year terms (per Thought Catalog). Ray died after serving a year of his sentence. The Toy Box Killer suffered a massive heart attack behind bars in 2002 (per All That's Interesting).

Was Ray a really a killer?

Extensive searches of his property, along with thorough searches of various properties believed to be dumping grounds for Ray's alleged murder victims, have turned up no hints of human remains. Despite this, multiple factors point to Ray being a serial murderer.

In an interview, survivor Vigil revealed some terrifying words that Ray uttered to her during her time in captivity. According to Vigil, Ray told her that she would never see any of her loved ones again. "He told me he would kill me like the others" (via All That's Interesting). When this threat is taken into consideration with the details investigators found in Ray's diaries, it paints an even more horrific picture. In them, he gave detailed descriptions of raping, torturing, and murdering as many as 50 to 60 women. Hendy also told police that Ray had admitted to her that he had murdered dozens of women and that she had been with him when he disposed of some of the bodies (per Thought Catalog).

The FBI also has photographs of hundreds of items from Ray's trailer that they believe were taken from multiple unidentified victims. Whether these belonged to women that he had tortured and were freed or were from the possibly dozens of murder victims they believe Ray committed has never been determined. The personal items include rings, necklaces, and other jewelry, along with various items of clothing. The agency has them listed online, in hopes that victims or their family members will recognize them and tie Ray to the crimes that were committed against them.