exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Marc Ray reaches plea agreement in case of adopted daughter's death


TYLER J. DAVIS   | The Des Moines Register

The father of an adopted Iowa teen who died of starvation has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Marc Ray, 43, is expected to make the deal Friday during a hearing in Dallas County, according to court records filed Thursday morning. He faces a litany of charges, most notably first-degree murder, sexual abuse, child endangerment, and three counts each of kidnapping and neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.

Ray could receive a life sentence if convicted of murder, a charge he pleaded not guilty to.

Sabrina Ray, 16, who was adopted out of foster care and home-schooled, was found unresponsive at the home at 1708 First Ave. in Perry on the evening of May 12, 2017.

The adoptive parents also face charges of ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree fraud, first-degree theft, second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse, child endangerment causing death and four counts of child endangerment causing serious injury.

Marc Ray and his wife, Misty Jo Bousman-Ray, 41, have pleaded not guilty to charges of ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft and first-degree fraudulent practice in May 2018. Those charges followed prosecutors accusing the couple of engaging in "deception for financial gain on an ongoing basis" and could send both to prison for 45 years. 

They previously pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and kidnapping charges, which could send them to prison for life if convicted.

The couple operated a daycare center they called Rays of Sunshine Daycare. They took Sabrina in as a foster child in 2011 and adopted her in 2013.

Rays of Sunshine Daycare was visited by state inspectors and social workers in from 2013 to 2015 and again in 2017 after at least two complaints were lodged against the home. Workers who visited reported no evidence of abuse at the time

Sabrina's grandmother, Carla Bousman, 63, was caring for Sabrina and two other adopted girls on the day of Sabrina's death. Bousman was sentenced to 20 years in prison in April after admitting she failed to seek medical attention for the dying girl and locked Sabrina's two adopted sisters in a room with her as she died.

Sabrina's brother, 22-year-old Justin Ray, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of willful injury and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors said Justin drop-kicked her down a basement staircase, leaving Sabrina unable to walk, talk, eat or drink normally.

Josie Raye Bousman, Sabrina's 21-year-old cousin, is charged with three counts of kidnapping, child endangerment causing death and obstructing prosecution. She helped keep Sabrina confined and denied her food and water, according to a criminal complaint.

The Ray case bears similarities to the October starvation death of 16-year-old Natalie Finn of West Des Moines,  who was adopted out of foster care, home-schooled and died from starvation, and Malayia Knapp, a Des Moines teen who was adopted and home-schooled before running away and telling police she was severely abused.

Follow the Register on Facebook and Twitter for updates. Tyler Davis can be reached at tjdavis@registermedia.com or on Twitter @TDavisDMR.

2018 Dec 20