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.
— BuzzTeller (@BuzzzTeller) January 17, 2019
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.
HAPPENING NOW: #MarcRay and #MistyRay have entered the Dallas County courthouse for their joint sentencing. Misty faces a mandatory life sentence and Marc up to 80 years in prison for their actions that led up to 16-year-old #SabrinaRay’s death @weareiowa5news pic.twitter.com/UhjdtGyyrQ
— Angelina Salcedo (@ASalcedoNews) January 18, 2019
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.”
— We Are Iowa Local 5 (@weareiowa5news) January 18, 2019
“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.”
THOUGHT OF THE DAY: And to think of all of the money they received given by the state, for the bringing up of the child. How could a disgraceful thing like this happen to continue for so long? ???? ✍️ https://t.co/gWFrFG2Svf
— Richard Evaristo (@RichardEvaristo) January 20, 2019
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.
The adoptive parents of Sabrina Ray, a central Iowa teenager who starved to death in May 2017, are headed to prison. https://t.co/QB3iRRXVZT
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) January 18, 2019
“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.