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What is The Sex Chamber about?
This documentary examines the crimes of David Parker Ray, who was charged with kidnapping, raping and torturing women in a small New Mexico town. Ray drugged his victims to erase their memories and kept them chained up in a horrifying torture chamber in his backyard. Using archive footage, police tapes and interviews with key witnesses, the film traces the story of Rays capture and trial. On 22 March 1999, a naked woman with a chain around her neck ran screaming through the streets of Elephant Butte, New Mexico. Twenty-one-yearold Cynthia Vigil claimed she had been held captive for three days and subjected to a terrifying ordeal of rape and torture. She named her kidnapper as 59-year-old David Parker Ray, a resident of the nearby desert town of Truth or Consequences. Police arrested Ray and conducted a search of his home. They soon came across evidence of a struggle in his living room which seemed to support Cynthias claims. But a greater shock was in store when officers opened the trailer parked in his backyard and discovered a horrifying torture chamber. The centrepiece of the room was a gynaecological chair fitted with straps, surrounded by an array of torture instruments and twisted sex toys. This was Rays toy box or Satans Den, as he named it. There seemed little doubt that Cynthia Vigils story of sexual degradation was true. She was his sex slave when they entered this trailer, says Agent Norman Rhoades of the state police. Trinkets hidden in the room raised the likelihood that other women had suffered a similar fate. The consensus was pretty clear that there were going to be more victims, says Captain Rich Libicer. This suspicion was confirmed when police found a videotape containing footage of another of Rays victims strapped to the chair. The woman, apparently drugged or unconscious, could only be identified by a tattoo on her leg. When the tattoo was circulated in the media, a woman came forward to identify herself as the victim. Kelly Van Cleave said she had no memory of her abduction, but had been tormented by nightmares of being tied down and tortured. When the FBI called, then I knew they werent just dreams, she recalls. Questioned by police, Kelly found some of her memories returning. It was clear that she had been drugged by her captor to prevent her from remembering the trauma. The use of sedatives also explained why more women had not come forward to testify against Ray. More chilling evidence soon emerged in the form of a tape recording made by Ray in which he explained to his victims what he was about to do to them. On the tape, he claimed to have abducted some 37 women leading police to believe that many of them may be dead. A search of the surrounding desert was conducted in the hope of turning up some of these victims without success. With no bodies to pin on Ray, police knew that a murder charge was impossible. The fact that we couldnt prosecute him for murder made it all the more important that we successfully prosecute him for the rape, torture and kidnappings, says chief prosecutor Jim Yontz. Yet the case against Ray rested on two potentially unreliable witnesses. Cynthia Vigil was a heroinaddicted prostitute, while Kelly Van Cleave had only partial memories of her experience. Moreover, the judge ruled that the tape recording of Ray was inadmissible. To the shock and horror of his surviving victims, the trial ended in a hung jury, and a retrial was ordered. Would police be able to find enough evidence to secure Rays conviction?


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