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Murder Charge in Sex-Torture Case

April 10, 1999

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP) _ A man has been charged in the death of a 22-year-old woman whose disappearance is part of a 10-state investigation into alleged sexual torture and kidnapping.

While police have said for weeks the case possibly involved murder, their searches of a rural home and a lake have produced no bodies, including that of the missing woman.

The only murder charge in the case is the one filed against Dennis Roy Yancy, 27, of Truth or Consequences. He was arrested Friday night and charged in the death of Marie B. Parker, 22, who disappeared in 1997.

The investigation last month led to charges of kidnapping and sexual torture against David Parker Ray and his girlfriend, Cynthia Lea Hendy.

Yancy, ordered held without bail, is a known associate of Ray and Ms. Hendy, FBI agent Doug Beldon said Saturday.

Ms. Parker was last seen July 5, 1997, at a now-closed saloon not far from Ray’s home, Beldon said.

The investigation started March 22 when one of Ray’s neighbors saw a woman naked and bloody on a road, wearing only a padlocked collar. The woman told police she had been shocked with electricity and tortured sexually.

Since then, dozens of FBI agents and federal authorities have combed Ray’s home, collecting more than 1,000 pieces of evidence, digging around the property and bringing in a cadaver-sniffing dog to roam the property.

Beldon said the investigation has expanded across 10 states and law officers also have searched Elephant Butte Lake for evidence. State and federal authorities won’t list all the states, but said two of them are Texas and Arizona.

John Branaugh, an acquaintance of Ms. Hendy, has said she told him Ray killed four to six people, mutilated the bodies and dumped them in the lake.

Authorities have said they seized photos, some explicit, from Ray’s property and were cross-checking them with missing-persons reports.

Ray, 59, and Ms. Hendy, 39, were charged with numerous crimes, including kidnapping, sexual abuse, battery and conspiracy. Both have pleaded innocent and remain in jail in lieu of $1 million bail each.

In addition to murder, Yancy was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy and evidence tampering, Beldon said.

A woman who said she once rented a trailer to Yancy said she saw him with Hendy a few months ago.

``These people were all running together and they weren’t very approvable,″ Dee Phillips, 68, said in a telephone interview Saturday. ``I had that whole bunch around here. When I went to bed at night, I put a bar on the back door.″

Yancy ``didn’t seem to have a conscience,″ Mrs. Phillips said. ``I didn’t like his company.″

Ms. Parker had two daughters, ages 4 and 5.

Her mother, Kate, said last week the FBI had requested dental records, clothing and photos of her daughter.

A missing person’s report filed by Ms. Parker’s half-brother, Tom McCouley, said he feared she was involved in a bad drug deal.

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