Authorities are preparing to search the rocky terrain of a southern New Mexico reservoir for remains of possible victims of a suspected serial killer who once boasted he was responsible for 40 victims, the FBI announced Friday.
Environmental changes to a canyon near Elephant Butte Reservoir on the Rio Grande could make it easier for federal and local authorities to locate possible bodies, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said. Federal agents, New Mexico State Police and Albuquerque police have scheduled the search for Tuesday.
"We aren't looking for any one particular victim or victims," Fisher said. "But agents will be searching through the ravine."
Authorities have long believed that David Parker Ray could have buried some of his victims in the vast area.
According to his own writings, Ray said he killed and buried his victims in various locations, although none have ever been located. Police aren't sure if he was referring to those he killed or tortured when he said he had 40 victims.
On Friday, the FBI opened up the Ray's trailer showing reporters whips, chains and handcuffs and saying there may be more victims _ and more people with knowledge of the case. It was only the second time that authorities opened up the trailer to media. In 2002, New Mexico State Police opened up the trailer to reporters.
Inside were intricate, handcrafted torture devices, photographs of women being tortured and a number of sex toys. The trailer also had a coffin and a black box that authorities said Ray used to torture victims when he placed their heads inside.
Ray was arrested in 1999 after a naked woman wearing only a dog collar and chain fled his home. She told police she has been tortured by Ray, and investigators later found surgical tools and video cameras inside his 20-foot-long white trailer that he dubbed a "toy box."
Besides the woman with the chain, two other women later made similar allegations of being abducted, chained and sexually tortured. A massive investigation followed and various law enforcement agents combed Ray's property looking for clues.
Various torture devices including a type of cattle prod, an audiotape of Ray's voice describing sexual acts and several lists on torture were among the items seized as evidence.
Ray was initially charged with 37 counts involving three women _ the woman who fled naked, 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 rape charges in the case of the woman who fled naked. The third case was dismissed as part of a plea bargain.
Ray was sentenced to more than 223 years in prison. He died in prison in 2002.
Authorities believe more victims who survived Ray's torturous acts could still be alive and could give police information on possible lost victims, Fisher said. Authorities are armed with DNA information from a missing persons' database that could help identify remains, should any be found, he said.
"We just don't know if there are any there," said Fisher. "But we do believe there are victims somewhere."
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