Mom charged in brutal rape and murder of adopted daughter is former child services worker

Sara Packer’s former husband was brought up on multiple sexual assault charages

It did not feel like the story of Grace Packer’s brutal, tragic death could get any more shocking — but we now know that Sara Packer, who watched her boyfriend rape her 14-year-old adopted daughter and assisted in her murder and dismemberment, worked for several years in child services before leaving her job under questionable circumstances.

Packer and her boyfriend Joseph Sullivan are behind bars in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for a crime that would seem heinous if it had been committed by a stranger; that a mother would do this to her daughter is unfathomable.

According to a police affadavit, Sullivan confessed to police that he and his girlfriend had been plotting the rape and murder of her daughter since 2015. He said they brought Grace to their newly rented home in July of this year, and that he struck her in the face as soon as they arrived at the home, before taking her to a third-floor attic and raping her while Sara Packer watched.

Packer and Sullivan then drugged the teenager, bound and gagged her, and left her in an “extremely hot” cedar closet to die. When they returned later, they were surprised to find the teenager still alive. Sullivan suffocated her until she wasn’t. That fall, after a police visit to the home apparently spooked them, Packer and Sullivan dismembered Grace in a bathtub and brought her remains to a remote forest area, where they were found by hunters on October 31.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub characterized the brutal killing as a “rape-murder fantasy.”

According to The Morning Call, Northampton County Controller Stephen Barron Jr. confirmed that Ms. Packer worked as a supervisor of adoptions in the county’s Children, Youth and Families Division, before being terminated in April 2010 for unspecified misconduct. Later that year her husband at the time was charged with indecent assault of a victim under age 13, and another sexual assault charge would follow. According to county records, the couple finalized their divorce this past August — after Grace, who Sara adopted in 2004, was already dead.

Ms. Packer was also a foster parent to numerous children: A detective who investigated Grace’s disappearance told The Morning Call that she had fostered at least seven children since 2004.

Packer continued to collect her dead daughter’s Social Security checks until her body was discovered.


Photo: Bucks County District Attorney