“This was a very sick man. … The only thing that gives me any comfort is that he’s gone. If I didn’t get away, I wouldn’t have my three wonderful boys. I wouldn’t be here.”
Those were among the first public words spoken Friday by the last known victim of David Parker Ray, who was convicted in the sexual tortures of two women and who has since died. Authorities believe he may have had as many as 40 victims, and that many of them were murdered.
Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo escaped from Ray’s trailer at Elephant Butte in March 1999 wearing nothing but a dog collar and a chain. She had been Ray’s prisoner for three days.
She told her story to reporters Friday morning at the FBI office in Albuquerque as the bureau’s agents continue to solicit leads they hope will unravel the mystery of exactly how many victims Ray had.
Jaramillo wept and fought off nerves as she described the chilling message Ray had given her during the time he kept her captive.
“The way he talked, I didn’t feel like this was his first time,” she said. “It was like he knew what he was doing. He told me I was never going to see my family again. He told me he would kill me like the others.”
Ray, who died in prison in 2002, was convicted of kidnapping and torture just a year before his death. Police began investigating him in 1999, after Jaramillo made her escape.
Agents searched his property and found numerous torture devices. His trailer was filled with whips, chains and handcuffs.
Also inside the trailer, which police have shown to reporters, were intricate, handcrafted torture devices, photographs of women being tortured, cameras, sex toys and a coffin.
Ray has been dubbed the “Toy-Box Killer.”
He was initially charged with 37 counts involving three women — Jaramillo, a Colorado woman who was tortured in 1996 and another woman. He was convicted in 2001 of kidnapping and torturing the Colorado woman, and he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping Jaramillo. The third case was dismissed as part of a plea bargain.
Authorities say Ray had up to 40 more victims, many of whom could have been murdered. That figure comes from Ray’s own diaries.
On Oct. 11, FBI agents, State Police and Albuquerque police officers searched Elephant Butte for remains. Another search a week later turned up a foot-long section of a human femur, which is being analyzed by the Office of the Medical Investigator.
Agents have been searching the area on and off for a decade.
Jaramillo, who is now raising three boys in Albuquerque and caring for her grandmother, said Ray approached her in a parking lot posing as a police officer.
“He told me I was under arrest and he put handcuffs on me,” she said. “He put me in his trailer and drove me to Elephant Butte. He did a lot of sick stuff to me. I was there three days. On the third day, I got away. I was scared he was going to catch me.”
Jaramillo said she is speaking out now to help the FBI in identifying more victims.
The bureau on Friday released a new poster in the case. It shows a photograph of an unidentified woman that authorities took from a fake driver’s license found with Ray’s possessions and a photograph of Jill Troia, who was last seen in the early morning of Oct. 1, 1995, at the Frontier Restaurant with Ray’s daughter.
“We’re still getting good leads,” FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said. “As long as we’re getting those leads, and as long as the exposure in the press keeps generating interest in the case, we’re going to keep investigating this.”
Anyone with information about Ray or any of his potential victims is asked to call the FBI at 505-889-1300.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal