Carla Bousman was watching her three adoptive granddaughters on May 12, 2017, she testified in court, when one of the girls woke up ill.
Sabrina Ray, 16, weighed just 56 pounds — but Bousman said she didn’t get the teenager medical help, according to The Des Moines Register. Instead, Bousman admitted to locking the girl and her two sisters in a room without food or water, The Register wrote, and covering up Ray’s death during an investigation in Perry, Iowa.
“She had woke up vomiting and had soiled herself and her clothes,” Bousman said in court, “and I just thought that she wasn’t feeling well and I gave her a shower and cleaned her all up.”
Judge Terry Rickers sentenced Bousman to 20 years in prison Friday after she pleaded guilty to various charges under a plea deal, KCCI8 reported. Those charges included neglect of a dependent person, obstructing prosecution and two counts of child endangerment.
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According to KCCI8, she admitted in court that “when I recognized (Sabrina Ray) was in distress, I did not call for medical assistance or take her to a doctor.” Bousman said the children’s parents pushed her into the abuse after Rickers asked her, “How could you do that to your grandchildren?”
Rickers gave her the maximum possible sentence under the plea deal, The Register reported. He said that Bousman’s actions were “nothing but a nightmare” for her grandchildren.
“After hearing what you had to tell the court today, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the maximum sentence in this case is the only appropriate sentence,” he said in court. “Grandmothers are supposed to be special to their grandkids. Grandmas are supposed to spoil their grandkids.”
Marc and Misty Ray, the adoptive parents of the three girls, are charged with first-degree murder as they await their unscheduled trial, according to WHO-TV, while Justin Ray, the deceased’s adoptive brother, pleaded guilty to two counts of willful injury in the case.
Justin Ray has 10 years in prison. And Josie Bousman — Sabrina Ray’s adoptive cousin charged with kidnapping and child endangerment causing death — is testifying against her other family members before her own trial, CBS2 reported.
Despite the alleged abuse they witnessed and endured, one of Bousman’s granddaughters wrote her a letter that a state prosecutor read in court, WHO-TV reported.
“To grandma Carla, I miss you and love you still. I wish you would have told Marc and Misty to treat us better,” Stacy Ritchie read. “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.”