Some true crime cases are not for the faint of heart – and the story of the Toy Box killer is definitely among one of the most stomach-churning.
David Parker Ray, the man behind the kidnap, torture and murder of over 50 women, began his killing spree sometime during the mid-1950s and has gone down in history as one of the most sadistic serial killers in US history.
Ray began to form an obsession with BDSM when he was just 14, after accumulating a collection of pornography provided to him by his father.
He later confessed to his first wife that during his teenage years he had tied a woman to a tree to torture and eventually kill her, but this claim was dismissed at the time.
It wasn’t until years later when 22-year-old Cynthia Vigil escaped his capture that authorities got to know the full extent of his crimes.
Vigil was “arrested” by Ray when the mechanic pretended to be an undercover officer charging her with the solicitation of sex work on March 19, 1999.
He then took her to a soundproof trailer he owned nearby and chained her to a gynaecologist-type table.
Over the next three days he raped and tortured Vigil, with help from his girlfriend and accomplices Dennis Roy Yancy and girlfriend, Cindy Hendy and his daughter Glenda “Jesse” Ray.
The stirrups on the chair had been adjusted so far that they would make the joints of his victims dislocate. There was a mirror on the ceiling where victims would be forced to watch what was about to happen to them.
The walls were covered in photos of other victims who he was believed to have killed before going out and finding another vulnerable sex worker to torture.
Ray was believed to inflict pain on them with whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, surgical blades, electric shock machines, and saws.
Some of the twisted killer’s most horrendous acts were using sex toys out of wood with nails sticking out of them on his victims and pouring gravy their genitals and setting his dogs on them.
Sometimes Ray’s friends would be invited to join and rape the women too as they were held down with wooden contraptions which he had made to immobilise them.
He often had a terrifying audiotape recording of his voice played for his victims whenever they regained consciousness.
On the tapes, he reportedly said: “Now, you are obviously here against your will, totally helpless, don’t know where you’re at, don’t know what’s gonna happen to you.
“You’re very scared or very pissed off. I’m sure that you’ve already tried to get your wrists and ankles loose and know you can’t. Now you’re just waiting to see what’s gonna happen next.
“You probably think you’re gonna be raped and you’re f***ing sure right about that. Our primary interest is in what you’ve got between your legs.”
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The killer’s horrific recording went on to tell his victims they would be “raped thoroughly and repeatedly”.
“Because, basically, you’ve been snatched and brought here for us to train and use as a sex slave,” he reportedly told them.
Ray would then either kill his victims or drug them to erase their memories before dumping them on the side of the road.
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But Vigil managed to unlock herself from the torture trailer — which has since been dubbed the ‘toy box’ — and ran down the road for help.
Authorities later arrested Ray and his accomplices and charged them with the torture and murder of over 50 women missing from the area, despite no bodies ever being found.
All three faced a separate trial resulting in Ray agreeing to a plea bargain, in which he was sentenced in 2001 to 224 years in prison. The sadist died of a heart attack in 2002.
Dennis Roy Yancy served 11 years in prison in 1999 before being released on parole in 2011. He violated the terms of his release and was made to serve the rest of his sentence. He is eligible for release this year.
In 2000, Ray’s girlfriend, Cindy Hendy, received a 36-year prison sentence. She was scheduled to receive parole in 2017 but was released after serving two years of her parole in prison on July 15, 2019.
Jesse Ray received a sentence of nine years.