Incriminating letter points to the kidnapping of Sacramento father, say prosecutors

Who Took Our Dad? The Abduction of Ray Wright

Ray Wright's disappearance puzzled investigators and left his worried family deeply shaken. No one had any idea where he was or what happened to him. "[It was] years of not knowing," Haley Kendall said of her father.

Ray Wright's ex-wife, Peggy Wright, told "48 Hours" that before his absence, "Ray was at such a great spot in his life … he had it all."

But everything suddenly changed in January 2018, when Ray Wright was abducted.

Jan 11, 2018: Ray Wright vanished without a trace

Pictured from left, granddaughter Ashtyn, daughter Haley Kendall, Ray Wright and daughter Kennedy Wright. Peggy Wright

Ray Wright, 55, mysteriously vanished. His daughters Kennedy Wright and Haley Kendall say he was a loving father who would never abandon his family. But now, no one could reach him.

Peggy Wright knew Ray had a history of drinking and briefly wondered if his disappearance was from a relapse. 

Six years earlier, in November 2011, Ray Wright had driven drunk and crashed into a couple, seriously injuring them. He was convicted of DUI and sentenced to 18 months in jail. But his family says that after causing that accident, Ray Wright immediately stopped drinking and maintained his sobriety.

Jan. 13, 2018: An intruder in Ray Wright's house

The soda cup the intruder left behind in Ray Wright's home.  Sacramento County District Attorney's Office

Two days had passed with no word from Ray Wright. His panicked brother Dean Wright had repeatedly checked Ray's home and the workshop he rented for his carpentry work. Nothing seemed unusual, except Ray's truck was missing. When Dean Wright returned to Ray's house on Jan. 13 and let himself in, he came face to face with an intruder. "[He] yelled at me, 'Get out of here …' And I said, 'Who are you?'… 'Where's Ray?'" 

After the man fled, Dean Wright called police. He filed a missing person's report and showed them a soda cup on the counter that the intruder had left behind. It was a fresh drink – filled with ice and dripping with condensation. Police collected it as evidence.

The search for Ray Wright

Dean Wright

While police investigated Ray Wright's disappearance, his family launched their own search, putting up flyers and posting on social media, hoping for any tips as to his whereabouts.

Jan. 21, 2018:  Ray Wright's truck is discovered

Ray Wright's 2016 Ford pickup truck. Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Police found Ray Wright's truck 10 days after he went missing at an apartment complex a few miles from his shop. The stereo and the license plates had been stolen.

Investigators noticed brown stains found on the carpet liner in the back of the truck. Testing would later reveal that those stains were Ray Wright's blood.

Jan. 27, 2018: A high-speed chase

Victor Gray's totaled Chevy van after a police chase. Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Just days later, investigators would get a major break in the case. A police officer noticed a white van with expired registration, but that had current registration sticker tags stuck to its license plate. When the officer attempted to pull the van over, it sped off, leading him on a high-speed chase reaching 100 miles an hour. The pursuit ended when the van crashed into another vehicle. Its driver suffered a broken leg and police had to pull him out of the van. He was rushed to the hospital.  Police identified Victor Gray as the driver. Gray was arrested for felony DUI and felony evasion.

 Feb. 15, 2018:  The first link to Ray Wright

Victor Gray's license plate with Ray Wright's registration tag Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

After searching DMV records, police learned that the registration sticker stuck on Gray's license plate actually belonged to Ray Wright's vehicle.

April 3, 2018: A DNA match

Victor Gray's 2018 mugshot. Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Investigators received a hit for the DNA found on the soda cup in Ray Wright's home. Testing revealed that Gray's DNA was a match. Gray had prior felony convictions, so police already had his DNA on file.

May 8, 2018: "A treasure trove of evidence"

Rocklin Police and FBI investigators processed Victor Gray's van. "In the back of the van … wrapped up in a black tarp is just a treasure trove of evidence," says Sacramento County Prosecutor Matt Chisholm.

The evidence included Wright's belongings — a hat with "Ray Wright Design" embroidered on it, Ray's driver's license and wallet, broken eyeglasses, a smashed cell phone, and a bloody, yellow raincoat. The DNA on the jacket was later tested and matched Ray Wright.

The mysteries in Victor Gray's phone

Victor Gray's cellphone that was found under the console in his white Chevy van. Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Investigators also found Gray's cellphone in the van. Inside that phone, prosecutors say they found a series of texts between Gray and a woman referred to as "Kalifornia Katie." The messages were sent the same morning Ray Wright disappeared, and police believed the woman appeared to be working as a lookout for Gray, alerting Gray when Ray Wright was alone at his shop.

Who is "Bob"?

The letter that prosecutors believe Victor Gray wrote, demanding payment for delivering Ray Wright to "Bob." Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

In Gray's phone, there was also a photo of a handwritten letter that prosecutors say Gray wrote and addressed to someone named "Bob." The letter was dated Jan. 27, 2018 — the same day as Gray's chase with police.

"It's clear that Victor has grievances with Bob … the grievances stem about not being paid for delivering the 'dude' to you," Chisholm told "48 Hours."

The letter reads, "I'm done waiting and need a fat package today" and mentions having "hand delivered you your revenge." Prosecutors believe Gray was referring to kidnapping Ray Wright and delivering him to Bob. But Bob's identity was still a mystery.

Oct. 8, 2018 : "Kalifornia Katie" identified

Katie Barnard in her interview with police.  Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Police continued investigating Ray Wright's disappearance. They had identified "Kalifornia Katie" — the woman in the texts found in Gray's phone — as Katie Barnard, and brought her in for questioning. Barnard, who lived in a trailer across from Ray Wright's workshop, eventually told police that she was the lookout for Gray. She maintained that she only helped Gray because she believed he wanted to steal Ray Wright's truck. She said Gray later told her he had punched Ray Wright and delivered him to Robert "Bob" Manor. Bob Manor, it turns out, was the man Ray Wright had hit driving while drunk all those years ago.

Barnard also told authorities Gray complained to her that he never got paid. As the case progressed, Barnard told investigators that Manor also made an admission to her, admitting that he killed Ray Wright.

July 6, 2020: "He told me he did it"

Police spoke with Tessa Trimble, a witness who said Manor had told her "he did it." Trimble was a massage therapist who had treated Manor for his injuries from the 2011 accident. Trimble told investigators said that she and Manor eventually developed a romantic relationship.

She said that after Ray Wright went missing, Manor called her over to his house to talk. "Instead of talking about our relationship … He told me that he took care of whatever — something he was trying to take care for a long time."

She says she knew Manor was talking about Ray Wright.

"He had a problem with that guy. He mentioned on multiple occasions he wanted to get that guy," she told investigators.

March 2021: Arrests in the case

Victor Gray, left, and Robert Manor Sacramento County District Attorney's Office/PRA Request

Three years after Ray Wright was abducted, Gray and Manor were charged with kidnapping and murdering him.

A jailhouse informant

On Jan. 4, 2022, another witness surfaced. Chisholm interviewed Gray's cellmate in the Sacramento County Jail. The cellmate told investigators that Gray told him he had delivered Ray Wright to Manor. The cellmate said Gray told him Manor poisoned and had him dismembered. The cellmate also said that Gray complained that Manor didn't pay him.

March 8, 2023: The trial begins

Manor and Gray went on trial for Ray Wright's kidnapping and murder. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During the eight-day trial, the jury heard from Barnard, who received immunity, Trimble, and the jailhouse informant.

March 17, 2023: The verdict

Kennedy Wright says waiting for the verdict "was the most gut-wrenching day of my life." After a few hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict. Manor and Gray were found guilty of murdering and kidnapping Ray Wright.

April 28, 2023: Life in prison

Manor and Gray were both sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

April 28, 2023: At the sentencing

Ray Wright's daughters Haley Kendall, left, and Kennedy Wright. CBS News

At the sentencing hearing, Wright's family addressed Wright's convicted killers in their victim impact statements.

"I said, 'my dad will be in heaven,'" Kennedy Wright said. "'Like amongst the angels, like where he belongs, and you'll be in prison for life … where you belong.'"

Ray Wright is still missing

Ray Wright : Haley Kendall

Ray Wright has never been found. "There's no laying him to rest," Kennedy Wright said. "He doesn't get the send away that he deserves."

To this day, the case remains an open missing person's case with the Rocklin Police Department.

Anyone with information about Ray Wright's whereabouts is asked to call Rocklin Police at (916) 625-5400.


We and our partners use cookies to understand how you use our site, improve your experience and serve you personalized content and advertising. Read about how we use cookies in our cookie policy and how you can control them by clicking Manage Settings. By continuing to use this site, you accept these cookies.