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Grace Packer parents

Mother of tortured, raped, murdered, and dismembered teen pleads NOT GUILTY in face of possible death penalty

by Ellen Killoran

The D.A. characterized the heinous crime as a “murder-rape fantasy”

The mother of a Pennsylvania teen who was brutally tortured and murdered has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges including homicide, conspiracy to commit rape, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse, according to ABC-6 Action News.

Sara Packer and her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan are both suspects in what Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub described as the fulfillment of a “murder-rape fantasy” that led them to allegedly kidnap and rape Packer’s 14-year-old adopted daughter Grace Packer before locking her in a sweltering cedar closet for 21 hours, according to the Morning Call.  Sullivan then allegedly strangled her to death, and the couple kept her body stuffed in a closet packed with cat litter for four months before they dismembered the girl in a bathtub and tossed her remains into a remote field where she was later found by hunters.

READ more: Prosecutor: 14-year-old Grace Packer killed by mom’s ‘rape-murder fantasy’

Sullivan reportedly confessed to the crime — and indicated Ms. Packer as his accomplice — in December, after the couple was hospitalized following a failed murder-suicide pact. In the confession, Sullivan reportedly told authorities that he and Sara had been planning the crime for a year and that he took Viagra before allegedly raping the teen. He said that Sara was sexually aroused by the assault.

Packer, who had fostered at least 30 children over the years, was formerly a child services worker. She left her job as a supervisor of adoptions in the county’s Children, Youth and Families Division around the same time that her former husband David Packer was charged with sexual assault.

READ more: Brutally murdered teen Grace Packer suffered abuse, neglect for years in adoptive home

In January, a former foster child of Sara and David Packer gave an interview to the Associated Press detailing the years of sexual abuse she suffered in the home. She told that AP she was sure that Sara knew about the abuse. Following the abuse allegations, all foster children were removed from the Packer home, but Grace and her biological younger brother remained because they had been formally adopted. Mr.  Packer has since been accused of abusing Grace as well.

At Friday’s arraignment, prosecutors filed a legal motion stating they intend to pursue the death penalty if Ms. Packer is convicted.

 

Photo: Abington Township Police

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."