A 41-year-old woman has been arrested after her stepdaughter was found mutilated in the woods.
According to the Allentown Morning Call, Grace Packer, a 14-year-old Abington teen went missing from her Pennsylvania home on July 11. Her remains were discovered in the woods on October 31, by two hunters. The hunters had stumbled on her head and torso on Halloween night.
A subsequent search by authorities, the following day unearthed two legs and two arms. It took several days to confirm if the remains were that of the 14-year-old teen. Authorities have not revealed how she died and refused to discuss why it took close to two months before they announced that her body had been found.
Her stepmother, Sara Packer was the last person to see her alive. Grace was last seen by other people at a family picnic July 4.
Sara Packer had filed a missing person’s report for her stepdaughter, claiming that she had left the house with $300. Actions from the 41-year-old made the police to believe that there was something fishy about the teen’s disappearance. According to them, Sara moved to another apartment with her boyfriend while investigators were still checking up on her with regards to Grace. She did not tell them that she was moving.
During the course of the investigation, Sara Packer also handed a “goodbye” letter to investigators claiming that her stepdaughter wrote the letter before she absconded. The letter comprised of an apology of being a burden and that she [Grace] was running away. Investigators scrutinized the letter and agreed that the language was not synonymous with the social and academic skills of a 14-year-old.
Sara Packer also lied to police that she had told the 14-year-old’s relatives about the incident, apparently she did not do so. The 41-year-old even failed to provide pictures of the girl for over two months. The Abington Township Police said this seriously hampered the investigation and whittled down the chances of finding the missing teen.
As if that was not enough, Sara was still cashing $712 monthly disability checks meant for her daughter. A month after the girl went missing; she had filled in a form concerning the disability payments, refusing to notify officials that Grace had disappeared by that time. In total, she spent over $3,616 of Grace’s money.
The 41-year-old woman has been deemed “a person of interest” and charged with obstructing the administration of the law and endangering the welfare of a child. Grace’s death had been determined to be a homicide, but her step-mother has not been charged for her murder yet.
According to the Daily Mail, authorities are asking for the public to come forward with information regarding the movements of Sara and Grace since June. District Attorney Kevin Steel is hoping to find missing pieces to the puzzle that will establish if both individuals were seen together before Grace was reported missing July 11.
“Even now months later, someone might remember something that seems insignificant, but it could be a key piece of evidence in solving Grace’s murder. We need the public’s help. We need everyone pulling together to do justice in this case. She was a young lady with high energy. She was a child who was maybe at times unruly, but she was a teenage girl. We need to solve what happened to her.”
The attorney described the family as “transient” having lived in the Lehigh valley. Sara Packer’s former husband, David Packer pleaded guilty in 2011 to sexually assaulting a minor. The 40-year-old has been questioned by detectives, but has not been charged for any wrongdoing.
Sara’s bail was reduced from $200,000 to $10,000. The 41-year-old needs to only post $1,000 and will be released. Prosecutors are shocked at her bail conditions, insisting that her bail be increased because she is considered a flight risk.
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