April 09, 2018 04:27 PM


The adoptive grandmother of a 16-year-old Iowa girl who died of malnutrition weighing 56 lbs. admitted to locking the teen in a room with two other children and failing to seek help as she died, PEOPLE confirms.

“I wish I could go back to that day and change everything and do what I know was the proper thing to do,” 63-year-old Carla Bousman, 63, the grandmother of Sabrina Ray, said in court Friday, reports The Des Moines Register.

Bousman was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to neglect of a dependent person, accessory after the fact, obstruction of prosecution, false imprisonment, and child endangerment.

“I can’t change what was done now, but I’m very sorry and miss all my grandchildren very much,” Bousman added.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Bousman’s sentence to PEOPLE, but declined further comment on the case, in which murder and other charges against Sabrina Ray’s adoptive parents, Marc Ray, 41, and Misty Bousman-Ray, 40, are pending. They have pleaded not guilty.

In February Sabrina Ray’s adoptive brother, Justin Dale Ray, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of willful injury after he “drop-kicked” Sabrina Ray and threw her down a staircase about a month before her May 12, 2017 death, leaving her unable to walk, talk, eat or drink, according to court records. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Register reports.

Carla Bousman
Dallas County Jail

Carla Bousman

In court Friday, prosecutor Stacy Ritchie read a statement from one of Bousman’s grandchildren.

“To grandma Carla, I miss you and love you still. I wish you would have told Marc and Misty to treat us better,” the statement said, according to Des Moines TV station WHOTV. “I wish you would have been nice to us instead of doing what Marc and Misty said. I wish you would have taken us out to do things. I wish you would have taken Sabrina to the doctor the day she died.”

Bousman earlier faced charges that included three counts of first-degree kidnapping and child endangerment causing death. She pleaded guilty on the lesser charges in part to avoid the possibility of multiple life sentences if convicted for the alleged kidnapping, her attorney, James Nelsen tells PEOPLE

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“Ms. Bousman is willing to accept responsibility for what she did and what she failed to do on May 12 of 2017,” Nelsen said in court, according to the Register.

An appeal on Bousman’s plea is not planned, he tells PEOPLE.

Sabrina Ray’s parents, who adopted the girl, initially were charged after her death with several counts related to child endangerment and negligence. They pleaded not guilty to all charges.  The murder charges against them were added nearly five months after Sabrina was found dead and weighing just 56 lbs. in the Rays’ Perry home.

The medical examiner determined that she died of severe malnutrition.

Weeks after Sabrina’s body was found, Perry police also arrested Sabrina’s adoptive brother, Justin, who was then 21, and Bousman.

Source: A Voice for Sabrina Ray/Facebook

Family Ran an In-Home Daycare

According to a previously obtained affidavit from Perry Police, during the final month of her life, Sabrina “suffered unreasonable force, torture and cruelty for an extended period of time, resulting in bodily injury … that was intended to cause serious injury.”

Sabrina was one of three girls adopted by and living with the Rays, who owned an in-home daycare, records indicate. The affidavit stated that the girls were regularly denied food and water and often suffered physical abuse from the family.

The parents were on vacation in Florida when Sabrina was found dead.

“She had woke up vomiting and had soiled herself and her clothes and I just thought that she wasn’t feeling well and I gave her a shower and cleaned her all up,” Bousman said, according to the Register.

But she also admitted to locking Sabrina in a room with the two other children with restricted access to food, water and the bathroom, then concealing evidence after Sabrina died.

The grandmother was “the last hope that Sabrina Ray had,”Assistant Dallas County Attorney Stacy Ritchie said in court. “But for her neglect, Sabrina may have survived.”

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