Heroic Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo was just 22-years-old when she was abducted by sadistic serial killer David Parker Ray and his accomplice Cindy Hendy in March 1999.
As a young woman she survived a real life monster, but this hero did not get the fairy tale ending she deserved.
Surviving the Toy Box Killer
Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo was working as a prostitute, when she was abducted by 59-year-old David Parker Ray and his girlfriend, Cindy Hendy. The couple chained the young sex worker inside Ray’s RV, and drove her 150 miles from Albuquerque to the small town Elephant Butte, just outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Despite enduring three days of torture and extreme sexual violence at the hands of David Parker Ray inside his secluded trailer, Cynthia remained on the look out for her opportunity to escape.
After several attempts, her moment finally came on March 22 1999, when Ray left for work at the State Park Service, leaving Cindy to watch their captive, who was chained and padlocked to wall in Ray’s trailer.
The Keys, An Ice Pick And A Fight For Her Life
When Cindy Hendy went to answer the phone, Cynthia saw that she had left the keys to the padlock on the coffee table. Cynthia was able to grab the keys, but in that moment Hendy returned and realized what was happening.
Hendy brutally beat Cynthia with a lamp in an attempt to get the keys from her, but Cynthia refused to give up on what she rightly believed was the last chance to save her own life.
In the struggle, Cynthia was able to unlock the padlock which was keeping the chains bolted to the wall. She stabbed Cindy in the neck with an ice pick and ran out of the trailer, where she tried to flag down passing motorists.
Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo Flees David Parker Ray’s Horror Trailer
However, no motorists stopped for the desperate woman. Cynthia was naked and covered in blood, and still dragging the chains attached to the metal collar around her neck. Although no-one was willing to stop for her, several calls were put in to local police, who dispatched patrols to look for the unknown victim.
With no idea where she’d been held captive these last few days or who she could trust, eventually Cynthia was able to force her way into the home of an elderly couple who alerted authorities and comforted the distraught survivor until help could arrive.
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Still not completely sure whether or not her captor was a police officer, as he had initially claimed, Cynthia hid under the table until she could be certain the responding officers were not David Parker Ray or his accomplices.
Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo was taken to the the hospital, where she told police the story of her abduction and all that had happened to her since then.
Investigators Uncover The Infamous ‘Toy Box’
The acts she described were so depraved that even hardened police officers had difficulty believing that they could have really occurred, until a search of David Parker Ray’s property unearthed the shocking evidence that the popular Parks Service mechanic was in fact a seasoned sexual psychopath.
In the addition to the room in which Cynthia had been held, David Parker Ray had rigged up a soundproofed trailer on his property to be his home-made torture chamber, complete with medical implements, sex toys and the photographic evidence of his earlier crimes against women.
After Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo’s courageous escape, police were able to identify two more surviving victims of David Parker Ray and his accomplices.
They were also able to confirm his involvement in at least one murder, but police suspect he may have been responsible for over 40 more unsolved deaths across New Mexico.
The Toy Box Killer Dies Behind Bars
A range of charges were brought against Ray, his girlfriend Cindy Hendy, his friend Dennis Yancy and his adult daughter Glenda Jean ‘Jesse’ Ray, for crimes relating to the kidnap, torture, rape and murder of a number of young women.
David Parker Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison, but died of a heart attack in 2002.
Cythnia Vigil Jaramillo’s heroic actions on March 22 1999 saved her own life, as well protecting countless other women from Ray’s depraved actions.
Since her escape she has worked with the FBI to encourage other potential victims of Ray to come forward, as well as urging those who might have information relating to his possible earlier crimes to share what they know with the police.
But her subsequent life has been marked with great tragedy.
Hope Marred By Tragedy
When David Parker Ray and Cindy Hendy targeted Cynthia, when she was a 22-year-old prostitute in an Albuquerque parking lot in 1999, they were preying on her vulnerability. Cynthia’s life up to that point had been a hard one and she was struggling with drug addiction, which had led her into sex work.
In an interview with reporters in 2011, Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo credits her sons for giving her reason to go on living in the wake of her ordeal, saying of Ray, “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.”
Cynthia’s sons were her world. A year after her escape from Ray, Cynthia had given birth to her first child, who she named Ruben, followed a year later by his brother Matthew. Some years later, a third son completed the family. Yet despite Cynthia’s devotion to her boys, times were hard for the Jaramillos.
Motel Fire Destroys The Family’s Possessions
In 2016 Cynthia was living with her three sons in the Desert Sands Motel, in southeast Albuquerque.
The family had struggled for years in precarious housing, moving from apartment to apartment and finally into a string of cheap motels, when on May 25 2016 a fire swept through the motel complex destroying their few possessions and leaving them homeless once again.
Still reeling from this unexpected tragedy, the following day Cynthia suffered the most devastating loss a parent can imagine when her oldest son, 15-year-old Ruben Ruelas, suffered a gunshot to the head and died.
One Son Dead, Another Son Arrested For Murder
Then just hours after her oldest son’s death, Cynthia’s middle child, 14-year-old Matthew Jaramillo, was arrested and charged with murder.
He later confessed to police that the week before he had deliberately run over a 46-year-old father of three, Richard Sisneros, in a stolen SUV. On May 20 2016 the teenager had picked up a sex worker in the stolen vehicle and had driven it to the parking lot of Sisneros’ apartment complex.
Sisneros had witnessed the teen pull into the parking lot of his apartment building, which was often frequented by drug dealers and men using sex workers. He shouted at Jaramillo to move on, but the teen ran over Sisneros who died of his injuries the following day. The incident was captured on CCTV.
14-Year-Old Car Thief, Turned Killer
14-year-old Matthew Jaramillo had been in trouble with the police before, and had been arrested just two months previously for another incident involving the unlawful taking of a vehicle.
In that instance he had been released to the custody of his mother, and been ordered to attend school and undergo random drug testing.
But after admitting he had driven the stolen SUV into Richard Sisneros, Matthew Jaramillo was remanded into youth custody on a $75,000 bond. Denying wilful murder, the teenager claimed that Sisneros was standing in the way of the car as he was trying to leave the parking lot.
An Uncertain Future For The Jaramillo Family
In November 2016 a judge determined that Jaramillo was not competent to stand trial, and a new competency hearing was scheduled for February 2017.
At the time of the November hearing Matthew Jaramillo was being housed in a treatment facility in Detroit, but no further details of the case have been made public since that time.
Whatever the outcome of her son’s case, Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo remains an inspirational woman who had endured more than any human should endure.
We hope that she will find the strength to face this latest and most devastating battle.