The Murder of Grace Packer

April 02, 2022

This post contains details of child abuse and sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

In 2007 a little girl named Grace and her younger brother were homed with an adoption supervisor named Sara Packer, who worked at the Northampton County adoptions in Pennsylvania.

Grace was a happy little girl and was excited at the prospect that she and her brother were going to move into new home and have loving parents to take care of them. No one could have imagined the horror that awaited her.  

 Although the Packers doted on her younger brother, they had a completely different attitude when it came to Grace. Sara would shout at her, hit her, emotionally and physically abuse her, keep her confined to her bedroom or the basement and generally mistreat her. The Packers were constantly fostering children and many of the other kids noticed that Grace was treated poorly compared to her brother.

In 2010 the police showed up at the house, responding to a call they had received regarding Sara’s husband, David. David Packer had been sexually abusing one of his teenage foster daughters and was arrested for his crime. His victim later went on to describe the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her foster father and how she was made to forcibly drop weight and wear revealing clothes at his demand. She also revealed that he made her sleep in a room directly across from his and tethered her to a bed for long periods of time. He sexually assaulted her regularly over several years and the victim believes that Sara Packer could not have failed to notice the abuse, especially after 2 failed suicide attempts and a stint in the local hospital. She was later removed from the home when the Packers fostered yet another girl who got a bad vibe from her new foster parents and decided to investigate by looking through David Packers cell phone. She found numerous videos and images of Mr. Packer sexually abusing his foster kids and quickly alerted members of her extended family for help.

 A year later David Packer admitted that he had also abused Grace when she was a toddler.

In an article printed in the “Times Leader” one of the foster kids who had lived in the home at the same time as Grace told the Associated Press that Sara Packer constantly demanded that Grace “be normal” and went on to explain that the child had learning disabilities. Sara Packer made no attempt to hide her distain for Grace and was constantly punishing her. After her husband was sent to prison Sara lost her job at the adoption agency and was no longer allowed to foster children and bring them into her home. Grace and her brother, however, remained in Sara’s custody. Sara and David divorced in 2016 and Sara went on to date a man named Jacob Sullivan.

 Sara Packer openly admitted that she viewed Grace as “non-entity” and would later tell the court that she hated her and “wanted her to go away”.

She gave Jacob Sullivan the green light to use Grace in order to act out a twisted rape murder fantasy he had, while Sara watched. The details of the crime were read out in court and were so disturbing that the judge urged jurors to seek counselling after the trial.

In the summer of 2016 Jacob Sullivan beat Grace and punched her in the face before raping her. When she looked to Sara for help and protection she was told “there’s nothing I can do. This is your life now”.

 Sullivan would later tell detectives that he “got off” to the idea that Sara had no intentions of helping Grace. He added that he believed Sara “got off to it too”.

After raping the vulnerable teenage girl they bound her wrists and ankles with cable ties, silenced her with a ball gag, drugged her with sleeping pills and locked her in a closet in the attic of their rented home in Richmond Township, where they left her to die in the sweltering heat of a stifling July afternoon.

12 hours later they returned and opened to closet to discover that Grace was still alive. Sullivan decided to finish what they had started and choked the child to death. They concealed her body in cat litter and kept it hidden in the attic for several months. Sara packer made a phone call to the Abington police department to report Grace “missing”. They told a detective that the girl had stolen $300 dollars and took off. When a curious detective began showing up to their residence unannounced to ask questions Packer and Sullivan decided to decapitate the body and discard it in an isolated area. The remains were later discovered by hunters on Halloween of 2016.

When in custody Sullivan appealed to detectives to place him in protective custody in prison out of fear that he may be harmed by the other inmates- a request that the judge brought up at trial, pointing out that Sullivan lived in fear of the very torture and violence that he inflicted on his victim. The judge could not help but comment personally on the perpetrators cruel deeds commenting “you have no soul”. It’s impossible to argue with the statement after hearing the details of the crime that saw an innocent and happy young girl adopted out into a living nightmare.

In court Sara Packer said that she “wanted Grace to go away”  but that didn’t mean die. The pair claimed that they had other plans for Grace, which involved keeping the young girl captive in the attic for Sullivan to “rape anytime he wanted”. And the reason Sara gave for her compliance and encouragement of her boyfriend’s rape and abuse of her daughter? As to not lose Sullivan. She offered up Grace for fear of losing the sick man that she was in a relationship with. She “got carried away with the fantasy” she said.

The pair smiled and smirked in court and later articles online stated that they intended to follow through with a suicide pact they had made, but failed to carry it out.

Sullivan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death earlier this month.

Parker pleaded guilty to her part in the rape and murder of her own daughter and is expected to serve life in prison.

 Sources: [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X


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