In March 1999, a naked woman wearing only a dog collar and chain frantically pounded on the front door of a trailer home in the hot and barren town of Elephant Butte, NM, begging its residents to call police. Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo said she’d been held captive as a sex slave for three days by a local worker for the Parks Department named David Parker Ray.
Southern New Mexico is where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated back in the 1940s, and it looks like it. The entire area is a giant flat dust bowl that appears to be devoid of life and seemingly stretches on forever.
Here in one of the nation’s least densely populated and most impoverished states, there are wide open stretches where drifters and people on the run go to escape justice or avoid trouble. Over the years, the town of Elephant Butte, and the slightly larger but still tiny city of Truth or Consequences, became magnets for drifters and grifters and criminals.
The nauseating case of David Parker Ray, who inflicted unconscionable levels of pain on his kidnapped sex slaves, is intriguing not only because he got away with it for decades, but because his own daughter, girlfriend, and other friends participated in the crimes with him.
Birth of a Sexual Sadist
David Parker Ray was born in the small town of Belen, NM, about a half-hour south of Albuquerque, in 1939. He was raised mainly by his grandfather but had frequent visits from his alcoholic father, who beat him mercilessly.
His father also supplied young David with graphic S&M porno magazines, sparking an interest that would last with David until death.
David was also bullied by peers for being awkward around girls, which may have had an effect on the development of his sadistic power fantasies.
He allegedly told his first wife that at age 15—which would have been in the mid-1950s—that he abducted a woman and tied her to a tree before murdering her.
According to Ray’s notes that police discovered, he kidnapped, raped, and murdered women throughout his life.
Although it’s difficult to tell how much of Ray’s personal accounts were true and how much involved exaggeration, the three women who testified against him in court on kidnapping and torture charges describe extended abuse that suggests Ray wasn’t lying about anything.
He would sometimes pose as a policeman, pointing a gun at a victim and forcing her into his car before taking her back to the white trailer that was his “Toy Box.” Other times he’d spike the drinks of women he met at the Blue Waters Saloon in Truth or Consequences.
Once his victims were injected with drugs and strapped into the gynecological chair in the Toy Box, Ray—and often his girlfriend Cindy Hendy and sometimes numerous others, all of which Ray alleged were members of the Church of Satan—would take turns raping the woman in every orifice. If they resisted, they would be beaten down and threatened. In his notes, Ray claims to have cut the nipples off one victim and the clitoris of another who’d gotten too feisty.
Hendy claims that she accompanied Ray to several sites where he disposed of bodies and says he once confessed to her that he’d killed about 40 women.
The “Toy Box”: David Parker Ray’s $100,000 Torture Chamber
Sitting amidst Ray’s sprawling, dusty property was a soundproofed white trailer that he had specifically rigged for performing torture on unwilling victims.
Festooned on every wall were whips and chains and pulleys and clamps and handcuffs and dildos—many of which were spiked and elephant-sized. Many were store-bought while others were hand-crafted to deliver maximum pain.
In the center of the trailer sat a gynecological chair in which victims were strapped and drugged before enduring days of rape and torture.
He kept the trailer well-stocked with syringes as well as sodium pentathol and phenobarbital, which would not only render his victims unconscious—it would erase every single memory of their time in captivity.
There was also a fur-lined coffin, steel devices designed to spread out a woman’s legs to the point where it caused severe pain, medical instruments, and a hand-designed instrument to deliver electrical shocks.
Ray’s Toy Box also contained a steel cage custom-fitted to enable Ray’s dogs to rape his sex slaves while he and his friends watched and laughed.
On the wall was a large sign in block lettering that read: SATAN’S DEN.
The Audiotapes: Sadistic Brainwashing
Perhaps even more startling than the equipment in David Parker Ray’s “Toy Box” were the audiotapes he’d play for his victims when they regained consciousness. In them—which usually start with a “Hello, bitch”—Ray goes into psychotically cruel detail about the tortures that face his prey and how they’re helpless to do anything about it.
The following are excerpts from these incomprehensibly cruel audiotapes. These and other David Parker Ray quotes are at Quote Catalog.
Warning: These are EXTREMELY GRAPHIC—possibly the most stomach-churningly graphic things you’ll ever read.
Hello there, bitch. You’re chained, handcuffed, scared, and disoriented….
You are here against your will. You probably think you’re going to berated. You’re right about that—you will be raped thoroughly and repeatedly….My female companion and I are very selective. We’ll snatch anything clean, young, and well built. We’re basically like predators. We’re always looking. I don’t want to kill unless it’s absolutely necessary. If I killed every victim I ever kidnapped, there’d be bodies all over the country.
Hello, bitch. I’m sure you’re wondering why you’ve been kidnapped and what’s going to happen to you….
I’m a dungeon master for a local chapter of the Church of Satan, Lucifer, or the Devil to you. You have been abducted so that your body can be used during rituals, and for sexual purposes for the congregation after the meetings….
Now this is the beginning of a very trying ordeal for you. This experience is going to be very traumatic. The nights when you are taken to the church are going to be the worst by far. Each time you are going to experience about ten hours of pure hell.
Satan is a harsh taskmaster.
Hello there, bitch. Are you comfortable right now? I doubt it. Wrists and ankles chained. Gagged. Probably blindfolded. You are disoriented and scared, too, I would imagine….You probably think you’re gonna be raped and you’re fuckin’ sure right about that. Our primary interest is in what you’ve got between your legs. You’ll be raped thoroughly and repeatedly, in every hole you’ve got. Because, basically, you’ve been snatched and brought here for us to train and use as a sex slave….The thought of being brainwashed may not be appealing to you, but we been doin’ it a long time and it works. And it’s the lesser of two evils. I’m sure that you would prefer that, in lieu of being strangled or having your throat cut.
Arrest, Sentencing, and Death
When the naked and dog-collared Cynthia Jaramillo had a neighbor of Ray’s call police, Ray and Hendy were quickly apprehended.
Although Hendy initially kept quiet, she cracked under pressure and started telling police everything she knew. She accepted a plea deal on kidnapping and rape charges and was sentenced to 36 years. She will likely be paroled in 2020.
For her role in helping him procure sex slaves and actively participating in the days-long torture and murder of a friend, Ray’s own daughter Jesse received a nine-year sentence.
Ray was charged with kidnapping and rape in the case of three women: Jaramillo, a local woman named Kelli Van Cleave, and a Colorado woman he had abducted in 1996. He was found guilty and sentenced to 224 years.
Police continued investigating Ray on murder charges and found a break in the case when a coworker of Ray’s named Dennis Roy Yancy confessed to torturing and killing Yancy’s ex-girlfriend along with Ray.
Yancy was found guilty of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. He was handed two 15-year terms. He was paroled in 2010 but violated his parole almost immediately, which sent him back to prison for his full sentence. He is scheduled to be released in 2021.
About a year after his conviction, Ray died of a heart attack while being transported for an interrogation on suspicion of murder.
Police have never found a single corpse they could pin on David Parker Ray. Even though he died in prison, it was of natural causes.
He very likely got away with murder. At least one. Or as many as sixty.