An Iowa couple faces first-degree murder charges after their 16-year-old adopted daughter was found unresponsive on May 12 weighing only 56 pounds.
After teenager Sabrina Ray starved to death, authorities charged 40-year-old Misty Ray and 41-year-old Marc Ray with a number of additional felony counts, including three counts of first degree kidnapping, reports The Des Moines Register. Marc also faces two counts of third degree sexual abuse.
The couple, who ran a daycare, adopted Sabrina in 2013 after fostering her for two years. Parents who visited the daycare said they saw the tiny teen and assumed she was around 8 years old.
Sabrina reportedly suffered major injuries between March 1 and May 12, after her 21-year-old adoptive brother, Justin Ray, allegedly "drop-kicked" her down a staircase, leaving her unable to eat, drink, walk or talk after she landed hard on the basement floor, notes KCCI.
Authorities charged Justin with two felony counts of willful injury and two felony counts of child endangerment. They believe Justin lived in the same home as Sabrina.
Authorities also charged Carla Raye Bousman, Sabrina's 62-year-old adoptive grandmother, and 20-year-old Josie Bousman, Marc and Misty's niece, with three counts of aiding and abetting first-degree kidnapping and one count of aiding and abetting child endangerment causing death. Carla also faces one count of obstructing prosecution or defense in the case.
Carla and Josie are accused of assisting the family in confining Sabrina and two other girls in their home against their will and withholding Sabrina's food and water.
"There was a lot of follow-up interviews that needed to be done with people who resided with [the Rays], had contact with them [and] had day care with them..." said Perry, Iowa, police Chief Eric Vaughn. " … It is very concerning. Very concerning to us the amount of, as you can tell, people who had knowledge of it."
In the meantime, Sabrina's biological family is fighting for custody over her remains in order to give her a proper funeral. As of Oct. 5, she still has not had one.
"Once they were arrested for the crime, that should have nulled all rights to them," said Sabrina's biological grandfather, Eugene Busch, who said his family wants to "bury her where she needs to be buried."
Custody is usually given to surviving parents, but custody can be revoked if they are charged with first- or second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, explained former prosecutor Steve Foritano.
"Hopefully, the family can work that out and be able to resolve this in a way that helps everyone," Foritano added.