Authorities announced on Sunday that justice is one step closer for a 14-year-old teenager who was raped, murdered and dismembered in Luzerne County, Philadelphia last year. In custody now is the victim’s own adoptive mother and the Montgomery County man who was her boyfriend.
The office of the Bucks County District Attorney announced that 44-year-old Jacob Sullivan of Horsham, and Sara Packer, 41 have been arrested in connection with the death of 14-year-old Grace Packer of Abington Township. The authorities allege that the two suspects are believed to have been a part of a rape-murder fantasy that the mother and her boyfriend had shared. Sullivan told the detectives on the case that Sara Packer had been complicit in the killing of her daughter, a suspicion which they had held previously.
NBC Philadelphia reported that approximately three hours after Sullivan’s arrest, Packer was also arrested. Packer is currently out on bail, but the two will face charges of homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, possessing instruments of crime, endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of a corpse, simple assault, tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy to commit rape.
Following a suicide attempt by the two murder suspects on December 30, Sullivan confessed to medical personnel who then contacted the authorities, and the truth was revealed.
"A rape-murder fantasy": Mom's boyfriend arrested in Abington teen Grace Packer's death, mom still suspect. Details: https://t.co/Xtyj0SF47t— Justine McDaniel (@McDanielJustine) January 8, 2017
The remains of 14-year-old Grace Packer were discovered by hunters in the woods on October 31 at approximately 5:30 p.m. She had been reported missing by Sara Packer on July 11 who then allegedly proceeded to mislead the investigation in an attempt to cover up the girl’s murder. A confession from Sullivan revealed the true, gruesome and heart-breaking details of how the teenager really died, however.
Sullivan and Packer had actually been planning the death of Grace Packer since the fall of 2015 and early on July 8, 2016, they began the proceedings. The two carried the teen to a new and still empty house the teen, her adoptive mother, and biological brother were supposed to be moving to. Affidavits about that night revealed that once inside the home Jacob Sullivan struck Grace in the face multiple times before he and Sara moved her to the attic. Here, investigators say that Sullivan raped the 14-year-old while her mother watched. Sullivan also admitted to investigators that he had raped Grace on at least two other occasions before this final time.
When the sexual assault had ended, Sara Packer gave several pills to her daughter, telling her that it was for the pain when in actuality they were meant to kill her. The duo then tied her up, gagged her and left the teen to die in the extreme heat of the attic. They expected to find her dead when they returned the next day, but Grace Packer was not only still breathing but also conscious. Sara Packer then watched as Sullivan wrapped his hands around her daughter’s neck and face and strangled her to death. They kept Grace’s body packed in kitty litter in that attic for over three months.
The police were told that Grace might have run away when she was reported missing. Sara Packer said she had argued with her daughter over her wanting to see a friend and she had stolen $300 from the house before disappearing. She misled or ignored investigators for months and was actually arrested for obstruction of justice at one point but was released on bail.
Mother now charged with helping to kill her adopted daughter. Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan arrested in murder of 15 year old Grace Packer. pic.twitter.com/qaCoo6rREP— Andy Mehalshick (@AndyMehalshick) January 8, 2017
It was when Sara Packer moved without informing the police and they tried to search the Quakertown home they used to live in that Packer became concerned. She and Sullivan moved the body to the second-floor bathroom and began to dismember her. They used a saw and put the limbs in plastic tote bags so they could transport Grace in Sullivan’s truck to the Luzerne County, PA woods her body was found in. Investigators found Packer’s receipt for the saw, had her on surveillance buying the saw and also found that she had bought the pills given to Grace.
With the evidence of their part in the murder mounting both Sullivan, who had a new girlfriend, and Packer swallowed pills in a suspected suicide pact. The girlfriend reported finding Sullivan mere hours before calling 911 again after finding Packer unconscious as well. Sullivan was admitted to the hospital in critical condition and treated for drug overdose, a suicide note was found at his home as well.
The investigation is still ongoing but according to Philly News Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub has not ruled out the possibility of additional charges and accomplices in the pursuit of justice for Grace.
“She never had a chance with these people. Who will speak for Grace Packer, this forgotten child?’ and the answer is, ‘We will’… We are not done.”
[Featured Image by Bucks County District Attorney’s Office]