Girl, 14, Was Raped, Murdered; Now, Her Mom Is Charged

After months, a break finally came in the horrifying murder of Grace Packer
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2017 12:11 PM CST
Adoptive Mom, Beau Charged in Rape, Murder of Daughter, 14
Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan   (Provided photo)

Grace Packer disappeared at age 14 from her Pennsylvania home last July, her dismembered body was found near a dam in Luzerne County on Halloween, and on Sunday her 41-year-old adoptive mother, Sara Packer, and Packer's 44-year-old boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, were charged in her horrific death, reports "This was a sexual fantasy that was shared between Jacob Sullivan and Sara Packer, and Grace Packer was the object of that rape-murder fantasy," says Bucks County DA Matthew Weintraub, per the AP. "The hours and the days leading up to her murder were probably the most horrible and traumatic that any person should ever have had to experience." A break in the case finally came on December 30, when Packer and Sullivan unsuccessfully attempted suicide via prescription drug overdose; while hospitalized, Sullivan began confessing. "I'm sorry for what I did," he said in court Sunday. "It was wrong."

Per court documents, the couple planned Grace's murder since the previous fall. On July 8, they took her from one rental house to another in Quakertown, where Sullivan raped Grace as her mother watched. The pair drugged Grace, tied her up, and left her to die in the "extremely hot" attic. Upon finding her alive the next morning, Sullivan told police he strangled her; the couple then packed her body in cat litter for months. Then, panicked after a police visit in mid-October, they used a bow saw to dismember Grace's body, and dumped it in a rural area. Sara Packer was charged with child endangerment and impeding the investigation in November; authorities say she continued to cash Grace's Social Security checks all the while. Of Grace, Weintraub says, "She never had a chance with these people. The question is, 'Who will speak for Grace Packer, this forgotten child?' and the answer is, 'We will. ... We are not done.'" (Read more child murder stories.)

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