SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Six convicted criminals in New Mexico have been granted executive clemency by the governor, including the woman who escaped the infamous “Toy Box Killer,” David Parker Ray. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office made the announcement Monday afternoon, granting three men and three women a reprieve from their varying criminal sentences.
The so-called “executive clemency” effectively forgives the criminal offenses committed by the convicts targeted by the governor’s order. In return, the pardon restores certain rights, including the right to vote and the right to hold public office or other positions of public trust, according to the governor’s office.
Those receiving clemency include Bridgette Yvette Tabor, Jack Ferguson, Travis Earl Gatling, Randall E. Johnson, Kathleen Woerter, and Cynthia Jaramillo (Vigil). Jaramillo is perhaps the most well known of those on the list, having spent years of her life helping women facing homelessness and drug addiction in the Albuquerque-area through a non-profit called Street Safe New Mexico.
Through the years, Jaramillo has shared her story of being kidnapped by David Parker Ray and Cindy Hendy. The couple abducted Jaramillo in March 1999, taking her to Elephant Butte where she was collared, chained and tortured for three days before escaping.
Ray, who claimed to have abducted as many as 40 women, talked about burying bodies, but was never convicted of killing anyone. He died of a heart attack in 2002 while serving a prison sentence for kidnapping and sexually torturing women. His girlfriend, Hendy, was convicted of those same crimes.
Roughly six months before she was kidnapped, in October 1998, Jaramillo was arrested for an alleged drug crime, and charged with four counts related to the arrest. According to a police report obtained by KRQE News 13, Jaramillo and another person was accused of selling “crack cocaine” to an undercover detective. Records indicate police recovered 0.18 grams of “cocaine.”
The case was the only felony on Jaramillo’s record. While out of release, awaiting trial, Jaramillo was kidnapped by Ray and Hendy. Within three months of surviving the kidnapping, Jaramillo put an end to her unrelated drug case.
In June 1999, Jaramillo took a plea deal in the October 1998 drug case. She pleaded guilty to one count of cocaine trafficking, a second degree felony.
Earlier this year, KRQE News 13 profiled Jaramillo in her quest to receive the pardon the governor has now granted. According to her website, Jaramillo got clean from drugs, married, and had several more children.
“I even completed both a dental assistant and a medical assistant program, although I was limited in being able to pursue either professionally due to my background,” Jaramillo said on her website, cynthia-vigil.com. In March 2022, Jaramillo told KRQE News 13 the one felony charge is still holding her back from getting a decent job, a place to live, and voting in local elections as a member of the community.
Jaramillo’s Street Safe cofounder, Christine Barber submitted the pardon request on Jaramillo’s behalf. In a three page letter, Barber wrote, in part, “without [Jaramillo] our organization – which has helped tens of thousands of women in New Mexico – would literally not exist.”
An official gubernatorial pardon document shows the governor granted Jaramillo a “partial pardon” for all offenses described in the 1998 case. The pardon is effective as of Monday, August 29.
The New Mexico Constitution grants the governor the power to pardon. According to a news release from Governor Lujan Grisham’s office, the governor’s pardoning power extends to all offenses committed under state law other than the offenses of impeachment and treason. The governor does not have authority to pardon convictions for violations of municipal ordinances or convictions from another jurisdiction, such as those from other states and under federal law.
Among the pardons granted, the governor’s office says the “forgiven offenses” include include fraud, larceny, burglary, drug possession and distribution, and failure to disclose facts to obtain public assistance, among others. All of the forgiven offenses are said to be at least a decade old, most dating back “several decades,” according to the governor’s office.