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The Toy Box Killer (David Parker Ray) is one of the most notorious serial killers of the last 100 years. He crimes included the rape, torture and killing of young women from the 1950s to 1999. While the direct reasons for his killings are unknown, it is a well known speculation that Ray killed and abused his victims to feel a sense of control he lost in his childhood. The events he experienced as a child were traumatizing enough to have completely changed Ray’s mind and sense of what is right and wrong. His first murder coincidently happened when Ray was just 15 years old; from then on, Ray continued on an deadly spree of rape and torture. Ray murdered upwards of 60 women over a 40 year time sequence. Ray tortured his victims without mercy, many being raped and whipped multiple times a day in a trailer Ray called “The Toy Box”. Rays reign of terror ended in 1999 when an escaped victim Cynthia Vigil alerted police of his crimes.

David Parker Ray was born on November 6th,1939 to Nettie and Cecil Ray who lived on a ranch with Netties parents. As a child, Ray was emotionally and physically abused by both parents however, his father Cecil was the most aggressive with the abuse. The abuse from Rays father lasted until his mother, Nettie, left his father. After his parents separation, Ray stayed with his grandparents who were known to be extremely strict and abusive. During this time, most of the abuse happened at the hands of his Aunt who forced herself on him and made him have sex with her multiple times. The trauma Ray experienced from his abusive childhood may have been enough to turn him into a murderer. In fact, those who experienced unhealthy levels of stress often lack the ability to make healthy and good decisions; Furthermore, survivors of abuse are often unlikely to notice the risk of an action or situation (Kirk). The sexual abuse Ray went through not only effected his ability to make decisions, it gave him a unhealthy idea of what affection and intimacy should be which caused his idea of intimate moments like sex to be seen as an abusive and aggressive moment. As for why Ray abused and raped victims, according to Springer, ¨ Those who have been associated with childhood abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk health behaviors including alcohol and drug use and unsafe sex…¨ Ray having experienced severe abuse as a child was already more likely to partake in risky sex behaviors, that along with the sexual experiences he experienced from his aunt gave him an aggressive view on intamacy and the idea that all sexual acts were enjoyable through violence. Ray torture victims in an remote cave before the ¨toy box¨ was built. In the cave, Ray would bind victims before electrocuting their breasts and stomachs. This cave is where the first handful of murders Ray committed took place. The exact location of the cave is unknown but it is known to be somewhere in New Mexico. The nearby lake is likely to hold the bodies of Rays first victims.

The situations that Ray put his victims in were a way for them to feel the shame and vulnerability he felt as a teenager at the hands of his Aunt. Rays victims were often kept naked and bound in chains. In a transcript of Rays tapes that were played for victims, Ray discribed in vivid detail what they would go through and told each victim that they would be held as sex slaves and most likely would be killed (Parkman Magazine). Ray vividly describes the ways in which he will rape each victim and the ways in which they can avoid punishments. The ways in which Ray raped and tortured his victims is what earned him the name “The Toy-Box Killer”, Ray spent over $100,000 soundproofing and turning a trailer into a room meant for sexual abuse (Reuters). The trailer contained terrifying objects such as a gynecologist table where victims were left for hours at a time, whips and heavy chains. Many victims were treated like dogs, they were chained around their necks and made to drink and eat off of the floor. Jewelry and possessions of the victims found in the trailer also suggested that Ray stole their belongings as well (FBI).

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Throughout the years, Ray did not work alone. Ray enlisted the help of his girlfriend Cindy Hendy and eventually his daughter. Victims were told to refer to Ray and Hendy as Master and Mistress, when asked a question, victims were to answer ¨Yes, Master/ Mistress ̈ , failure to do so would result in punishment which included whipping, shocking and raping (Parkman Magazine). Hendy was also caught and tried for her involvement with the crime but was freed after serving only 20 of her 36 year sentence while Ray’s daughter, Glenda Jean Ray was also arrested (Reuters).

Rays spree of crime came to an end when he abducted Cynthia Vigil. Vigil, a prostitute was abducted after she was paid by whom she believed to be another customer. Ray grabbed her while Hendy shocked her. After a violent quarrel,Vigil was able to escape Ray and Hendy before fleeing to a cabin she found in the nearby woods. The couple who owned the home called the police who found and arrested Ray. Ray was tried and ultimately convicted for torture and kidnapping. He was sentenced to 224 years in prison but only served his sentence until 2003 when he died of a heart attack.

Rays crimes were some of the worst and most violent crimes seen. His violent ways of torturing women and praying on those who were unlikely to beat him came from his abusive home and the trauma he had as a result.

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