'Toy Box Killer' search in New Mexico fails to find human remains
No bodies were found during a search of a reservoir for possible victims of a man known as the Toy Box Killer, convicted a decade ago of kidnapping and sexually torturing women.
FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said federal and local law enforcement agents searched a canyon in New Mexico for three hours on Tuesday but found only animal bones.
"We plan to come back in the near future to do a more thorough search of a few points there," Fisher told The Times. "There are some areas we want to take our time with."
About 30 people fanned out on the southern end of Elephant Butte Reservoir on Tuesday after authorities received information about possible remains of the missing victims of David Parker Ray.
Authorities have long believed that Ray, who died behind bars in 2002 while serving a life sentence, chose the reservoir as a burial site for some of the 40 people he claimed to have killed.
None of the bodies have been found there, however.
New Mexico police suspect that the remains of 22-year-old Jill Troia, who disappeared in 1995, may be buried near the reservoir in southern New Mexico, about 150 miles south of Albuquerque.
Ray wrote that he sexually tortured his victims in the trailer he dubbed his "toy box" in the New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences, within view of the reservoir, Fisher said. Ray said he then buried his victims, including an Asian woman investigators believe may have been Troia.
Ray was arrested in 1999 after a naked woman fled from his home wearing only a dog collar and chain.
The woman told police Ray had tortured her. Investigators who searched his home found a "Satan's Den" sign on the wall, skull-shaped candelabra, surgical tools, video cameras, a makeshift coffin and a black box he apparently used to cover victims' heads when he tortured them, the Daily Mail reported.
In 2001, Ray pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape charges in the case of the woman who had fled his home; he was also convicted of kidnapping and torturing a Colorado woman.
Ray's girlfriend at the time of his arrest, Cynthia Lea Hendy, told police that Ray disposed of bodies in Elephant Butte Reservoir. Hendy was sentenced 11 years ago to 36 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to accessory and kidnapping charges, and agreed to cooperate with investigators to avoid a life sentence. She remains in prison, Fisher said.
Troia was last seen in October 1995 at a restaurant in Albuquerque with Ray's daughter, Glenda Jean Ray, whom she had dated. Albuquerque police have long believed Ray and his daughter were connected to Troia's disappearance, which remains the Albuquerque Police Department's only known cold case related to Ray. But neither was ever charged in connection with the case.
In 2001, Glenda Jean Ray pleaded no contest to kidnapping charges and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, plus five years of probation in connection with her father's sex torture case. She was later released, Fisher said.
Fisher said authorities are reopening other missing persons cases from the same time period to see if they might be connected to Ray. A new missing persons DNA database could help identify remains, he said.
— Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston
Credit: Searchers fan out at Elephant Butte Reservoir near Truth or Consequences, N.M., to look for the remains of possible victims of serial killer David Parker Ray. Credit: Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal