TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, NM (KRQE) – Dozens of women were taken into David Parker Ray’s infamous “toy box”, but it’s never been clear just how many came out.
Ray, who was caught 15 years ago, sexually tortured women he abducted from Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Arizona. His Truth or Consequences “toy box” was a trailer turned torture chamber, filled with, among other things, a gynecologist’s table equipped to shock his victims.
Ray kept a diary with details on where and when he kidnapped his victims but left out what happened to them after their time in the toy box. When he died of a heart attack in 2002, he took that knowledge to his grave with him leaving investigators with a lot of questions.
“We’re convinced that there are remains,” said Rich Libicer, who handled the case for New Mexico State Police. “It’s just a matter of locating them.”
Libicer, now retired and teaching at New Mexico State, still believes at least some of the bodies were dumped in Elephant Butte Lake.
“David was very familiar with that lake and he worked as a mechanic for the state parks,” Libicer said. “He had also made comments in the past that we know about, about the best way to dispose of a human body in a body of water such as Elephant Butte Lake.”
Investigators have searched the lake over the years, with a major push in 2011. Lower water levels allowed NMSP to uncover bone fragments from a human leg, but the medical investigator was unable to retrieve DNA to find out whose leg it was.
Even with less water in the lake, Libicer says Ray may have taken extra steps to ensure evidence of his crimes would never be found.
“Poke holes in their lungs with an ice pick, fill their intestinal cavity with rocks or some kind of weight, wrap them in a tarp, cover them with chicken wire or barbed wire, weight them with cinder blocks or other heavy weights and sink them in the deepest part of the lake,” Libicer said.
Although Ray is suspected in dozens of murders, he only pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and sexual torture of three victims. It was enough to get him 224 years in prison, but died after serving just three.
Ray’s case first came to light in 1999 when Cynthia Vigil was able to escape the torture chamber and get help.