When 55-year-old Ray Wright suddenly disappeared without a trace left behind on January 11, 2018, it left not just his loved ones and the state of California but also the entire nation baffled to its core. After all, as explored in CBS’ ’48 Hours: Who Took Our Dad? The Abduction of Ray Wright,’ it was utterly uncharacteristic of him to not show up at work, not respond to his daughters, and be unreachable. Though little did anyone know at the time he’d been heinously slain by Robert “Bob” Manor and Victor Gray as a part of a revenge plan concocted by the former — so, here’s what we know about them.
Who Are Robert Manor and Victor Gray?
It was back in November 2011 that Robert first came to know of fellow California native Ray through a DUI accident, wherein the latter was driving drunk and had thus ended up crashing into a couple. The truth is this mishap was so severe it resulted in this couple suffering serious injuries, leading there to be a court case and the family man ultimately receiving 18 months behind bars for his carelessness. However, that’s when he turned his life around, unaware one of his victims was an apparent high-stakes meth dealer with a violent temper who wouldn’t ever be able to let this ordeal go; it was Robert.
Therefore, by early 2018, Robert had hired convicted felon Victor Gray to kidnap this enemy with the intention of having him delivered at his feet so as to exact the revenge he deemed fit. As for the latter, he already had an extensive rap sheet, including charges such as evading police officers with a willful disregard for public safety, so he was more than okay to take the job. He hence even befriended Katie Barnard to be his lookout, telling this woman who lived in a trailer across Ray’s workshop that he needed an additional set of eyes while he stole Ray’s car.
Victor truly didn’t let it slip that his plan was something else entirely, yet it all came crashing down starting from January 13 onwards when he was caught in his victim’s house by his brother. Because Dean Wright hadn’t heard from Ray in a while, he was repeatedly checking his home plus shop for any sign of him, his wallet, or his truck, only to come across an intruder one evening. According to him, “[This intruder] yelled at me, ‘Get out of here…’ I said, ‘Who are you?… Where’s Ray?’,” driving them to flee in such a hurry they left behind a chilled soda cup on the counter.
That’s when Dean finally dialed 911 to report Ray missing, sparking an extensive search for the carpenter until his car was recovered on January 26, and Victor was taken into custody on the 27th. As per police records, an officer had noticed a van on the streets with expired registration yet current sticker tags, just to then somehow lead to a high-speed chase after they attempted to pull it over. This pursuit actually ended once the van crashed into another vehicle, following which it came to light Victor was the driver and he had a boatload of incriminating evidence in the back.
These pieces of evidence comprised several of Ray’s belongings, such as his cell phone, driver’s license, eyeglasses, hat, wallet, as well as a bloody raincoat; and his license plate was that of Ray’s car. Shortly thereafter, DNA evidence also confirmed this blood belonged to Ray himself, along with the fact the intruder in his home had been none other than Victor — the cup had DNA all over. It was only after this that Robert was connected to Victor, plus this whole matter through an image of a handwritten letter that had the felon demanding “Bob” to pay him for hand delivering his revenge “dude.”
Robert Manor and Victor Gray Are Behind Bars Today
Despite these pieces of evidence, it wasn’t until every avenue was explored and other people like Katie Barnard as well as jailhouse informants were questioned that Robert and Victor were arrested. They were eventually — in March 2021 — officially charged with first-degree murder with the special circumstance of murder during a kidnapping plus kidnapping for ransom causing death. This duo subsequently pleaded not guilty, resulting in them going to trial in March 2023, which concluded following more than a week of testimonies and a few hours of deliberations with a guilty-as-charged verdict.
Therefore, today, with Ray’s supposedly dismembered remains still missing, both Robert Manor and Victor Gray are serving their sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The former, at 54 years old, is currently incarcerated at the medium-security California State Prison Solano in Vacaville, California, whereas the latter, at 53 years old, is serving his time at the minimum-to-medium-security Sierra Conservation Center in Tuolumne County, California.
Read More: Where Are Raymond Wright’s Daughters Now?