Iowa Couple Starved 16-Year-Old Daughter Sabrina Ray to Death, Sentenced to Life

An Iowa couple guilty of starving their adopted daughter to death when she was 16 years old has been sentenced to prison where they will likely spend the rest of their lives.

Marc Ray, 43, was sentenced to 80 years, and his wife, Misty Jo Bousman Ray, 41, was sentenced to life on Jan. 18 for the death of Sabrina Ray, who was their oldest adopted daughter.

On May 12, 2017, police arrived at the couple’s home in Perry, Iowa, to find Sabrina’s adopted sisters, 12 and 14 at the time, in a room with her lifeless body. That same day, Marc and Misty Ray were with their sons at Disney World in Florida.

Sabrina, who was 16 at the time of her death, had been severely malnourished and weighed just 56 pounds—around the healthy weight for an 8-year-old girl.

In a report sighted by the Des Moines Register, one of the officers who had witnessed the scene that day, Josh Sienkiewicz, called the home “the most horrific scene in my entire career and life.”

“It is hard to put into words the feelings that come over me—the smells, the pain, the anguish, the fear, and the evil,” he said.

The Des Moines Register reported that Judge Terry Rickers, who handed the sentences to the couple, told them at the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel on Jan. 18 that their treatment of their adopted daughters was “cruel and evil.”

“Sabrina’s sisters were forced to watch her slowly and agonizingly die,” Rickers said.

“Sabrina lies there, malnourished, emaciated, diaper-clad, covered in various wounds and bruises. Her rash and skin barely cover her skeleton … Mr. Ray and Mrs. Ray, your actions and your treatments of your daughters in this case could be fairly described as both cruel and evil.”

In December 2018, Marc Ray pleaded guilty to child endangerment resulting in death, and three counts of third-degree kidnapping, for having illegally confined his three adopted daughters. On Jan. 9, Misty Ray pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping and two counts of third-degree kidnapping for having confined Sabrina’s two adopted sisters. Each of them will be ordered to pay restitution, which will include $150,000 to Sabrina’s heirs.

Assistant County Attorney Stacy Ritchie told the couple they had neglected the children’s basic needs.

“Rather than love and care for these girls, the defendant locked them in a room, starved them, abused them, pitted them against each other, denied them basic necessities and used them as slave labor,” she said, according to the Des Moines Register.

Both Marc and Mistry shed tears during the sentencing, but only Misty decided to apologize.

“I would give anything to go back in time and right all those wrongs,” she said, the Des Moines Register reported.

“It was my responsibility to protect and love our children and not cause them pain,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “I failed as their mother… All of this is my fault, and I want our children to know that they did nothing wrong. They were good kids who deserve better. I am so sorry.”

The court heard that the two remaining girls and another boy were under the care of the Rays are now in good condition.

Several Family Members Guilty

Several members in the Ray family had also been accused of abusing Sabrina Ray, according to the Des Moines Register.

Sabrina’s brother, Justin Ray, 21, had pleaded guilty in February 2017 on two counts of willful injury.  He was given 10 years in prison.

Sabrina’s cousin, Josie Raye Bousman, 21, was charged with three counts of kidnapping, child endangerment resulting in death, and obstructing prosecution. Her trial has been scheduled for March but since then, the court has ordered it to be set for a new date.

Sabrina’s adoptive grandmother, Carla Bousman, 63, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent person and to two counts of child endangerment, among other charges. She was initially accused of helping to kidnap and torture Sabrina and helping to cover up her death.