Adoptive Grandmother Who Starved Teenager to Death Sentenced to 20 Years

An adoptive grandmother in Iowa has been sentenced to time in prison after she starved her teenage granddaughter to death.

Carla Bousman, 63, of Perry, Iowa, 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, according to The Des Moines Register.

(Photo: Dallas County Jail)

Bousman was caring for Sabrina Ray and her two adopted sisters at their home on May 12, 2017, the day that Sabrina, 16, died, but she failed to seek medical attention when the teenager was in distress.

"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.

Bousman also admitted to locking Sabrina and her two adopted sisters in a room as the teenager died. She limited their access to food, water, and the restroom, and after Sabrina's death, she concealed evidence from investigators.

Sabrina weighed just 56 pounds at the time of her death. A medical examiner determined that she died of severe malnutrition, PEOPLE reports.

"I wish I could go back to that day and change everything and do what I know was the proper thing to do," Bousman said in court Friday. "I can't change what was done now, but I'm very sorry and miss all my grandchildren very much."

Bousman had previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree kidnapping, child endangerment causing death, and obstructing prosecution or defense. She was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charges as part of a deal with prosecutors.

According to an 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."

In February, Sabrina's adopted brother, 22-year-old Justin Dale Ray, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of willful injury, PEOPLE reports. He reportedly "drop-kicked" Sabrina and threw her down a staircase roughly a month before her death. The incident left the teen unable to walk, talk, eat, or drink.


Sabrina's adoptive parents, Marc Alan Ray, 41, and Misty Jo Bousman-Ray, 40, face several felony charges in Sabrina's abuse and death, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, and child endangerment. They have pleaded not guilty and have requested to have their trial moved out of Dallas County due to extensive publicity.

Sabrina's 21-year-old cousin, Josie Raye Bousman, is also facing charges after she helped keep the teenager confined and denied her food and water. She has been charged with three counts of kidnapping, child endangerment causing death, and obstructing prosecution.