Misty Ray to get life without parole for starving adopted daughter

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Misty Jo Bousman Ray, left, enters the Dallas County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon in the custody of law enforcement in advance of her hearing for a plea agreement.

ADEL, Iowa — Misty Jo Bousman Ray, 41, of Perry pleaded guilty in Dallas County District Court Wednesday afternoon to crimes that caused the 2017 starvation death of her 16-year-old adoptive daughter, Sabrina Lynn Ray.

Judge Terry R. Rickers accepted Ray’s guilty plea to one count of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of third-degree kidnapping. First-degree kidnapping carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 18 for Ray and her husband, Marc Ray, who reached a plea agreement with the state Dec. 21, 2018.

Judge Rickers asked Misty Ray what she did to make herself guilty of Sabrina’s kidnapping and of the kidnapping of the other two minor children, HR and MR.

Ray responded, reading from a prepared statement: “I intentionally acted to secretly and unreasonably confine Sabrina Lynn Ray without her consent and having no authority to do so. I caused such confinement by way of covering the bedroom windows from the outside view and placing a lock on the door and by causing the door to be locked while she was so confined. During and as a result of that confinement, on May 12, 2017, Sabrina Ray died of malnutrition.”

She read a similar statement for each of the third-degree kidnapping charges.

According to the terms of the plea agreement, the 14 other charges against Ray will be dropped by the state.

Each third-degree kidnapping, a Class C felony, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Ray will also be assessed a $150,000 restitution fine for the death of Sabrina Ray, and her DNA will be entered into the state registry.

Ray was represented in Wednesday’s hearing by defense attorneys Jesse A. Macro Jr. and Sean P. Spellman.¬†Representing the state were First Assistant Dallas County Attorney Jeannine R. Ritchie and Assistant Dallas County Attorney Stacie Ritchie.

Ray and her husband, Marc Ray,¬†were arrested May 18, 2017, on felony charges in connection with the death of Sabrina Ray, 16, who weighed only 56 pounds when she was found dead May 12, 2017, in the Rays’ home at 1708 First Ave. in Perry.

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