Grace Packer had endured unspeakable abuse in her short life. She was born on August 14, 2001, and her parents lost custody of her and her siblings shortly after when it was discovered that they were being sexually abused by other adults in their lives.

Their parents attempted to gain custody of them but were unsuccessful, and they were placed in an orphanage. Sara Packer and her husband, David Packer, adopted Grace when she was three years old. Grace’s 1-year-old brother was adopted by the couple, who lived in Pennsylvania. Throughout the years, the couple was said to have fostered 30 children. Grace was said to be a warm and caring young girl who was known to befriend children in school who had no friends.

Sara contacted police on July 11, 2016, to report 14-year-old Grace missing. She told investigators that Grace had taken $300 and fled from home, claiming that she had previously fled.

In October of 2016, hunters discovered a dismembered body in the woods of Luzerne County. Grace’s body would be identified. Investigators would quickly declare that Grace’s adoptive mother, Sara, was a person of interest in the heinous mu*rder. She would face charges of child endangerment and obstructing the administration of justice.

According to investigators, Sara was hesitant to provide information that would aid in the investigation, and while she reported Grace missing, she allegedly concealed the disappearance from other family members. They urged the public to come forward with any information they might have about the mu*rder. “Even now, months later, someone might remember something that seems insignificant, but it could be a key piece of evidence in solving Grace’s mu*rder,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.

Sara had refused to answer investigators’ phone calls while they were looking for Grace, and when they arrived at the family’s home on Tennis Avenue, it was empty. Sara’s behavior did not resemble that of a mother looking for her missing daughter. An investigation would reveal that Grace and her brother had been expelled from school, with only her brother re-enrolled in the Quakertown Community School District. In fact, while Grace was missing, Sara moved her family to Richland Township without informing investigators and refused to share a photograph of Grace with them for two months.

The month after Grace was discovered mu*rdered, it was discovered that Sara had been cashing $3,616.03 in Social Security disability checks intended for Grace, and that same month, they discovered a letter in Grace’s school records. It was typed and addressed to her family, and it apologized for “being a burden.” She stated in the letter that she was leaving the family. However, it was clear to investigators that the letter was not written by Grace, but rather by an adult.

Sara and David had broken up by this point. He was charged with molesting several children in 2010 after graphic photographs of these sexual assaults were discovered on his phone.

It would be revealed in early January that Sara’s new boyfriend, 44-year-old Jacob Sullivan, had been arrested and charged with 19 crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, rape, and conspiracy. Sara was also charged with 17 counts of homicide, kidnapping, conspiracy, and wrongful death. Prosecutors would later reveal that Grace had been horribly abused before the couple mu*rdered her.

Sara and Jacob had driven Grace to their new home in Abington on July 8th. Jacob had hit her in the face several times upon arrival, splitting her lip. They then led Grace into the attic, where Jacob sexually assaulted her in front of her adoptive mother. They then drugged her with over-the-counter sleep medication and bound and gagged her before stuffing her into a cedar closet in the extremely hot attic.

Jacob and Sara then left the house and returned around 3 a.m., expecting Grace to be dead as a result of the assault, drugging, and heat. Grace, on the other hand, was still conscious in the attic. Jacob then suffocated her by wrapping his arm around her neck. Grace’s body would then be moved to the bathroom, where she would be dismembered in a bathtub. They used cat litter to mask the stench of decomposition, but eventually stuffed the dismembered body into two plastic totes and dumped them in the forested area where she was later discovered.

Investigators discovered that Jacob and Sara were in a polyamorous relationship with another woman. She had discovered Jacob and Sara in their home’s bedroom prior to their arrest, as it would be revealed publicly. They had both overdosed as part of a suicide pact. When Jacob awoke in the hospital, he told the staff that he was responsible for Grace’s mu*rder and implicated Sara. He would reveal that both he and Sara had planned the sexual assault and mur*der, and that Sara had been planning it for about a year. In addition, he admitted to sexually assaulting Grace twice in the two weeks preceding her mu*rder.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew stated in announcing the grisly details of the mur*der, “The hours and days leading up to her mu*rder were probably the most horrible and traumatic thing that any person should ever have to experience.”

It was later revealed that sexual abuse was rampant in the household long before Grace was mu*rdered. Sara’s ex-husband, David, had sexually abused both Grace and her foster sister. Sara, according to the prosecution, tolerated the sexual abuse and even enjoyed watching it. Grace’s life should have been turned around when David was arrested. Sara, on the other hand, has just welcomed another sexual predator into her home to prey on her children: Jacob.

Prosecutors would argue that Sara was more than just a bystander during the sexual abuse. In fact, they would claim that she was the driving force behind Jacob’s sexual assault on Grace, and that she “groomed” him into it. They also claimed that she had previously sexually abused other children in her car, including sexually assaulting an underage foster child with her ex-husband, David. They also revealed that they discovered Facebook messages she exchanged with another man in which she offered to find him a virgin to sexually assault. Sara had actually fostered at least 30 children over the years.

Sara eventually pleaded guilty to m*urder and was sentenced to life in prison after accepting a plea deal that removed the death penalty from the table. While testifying, she expressed her contempt for Grace, saying, “Grace had become, for lack of a better word, a nonentity.” “I wanted her to leave.” According to one of Sara’s fellow inmates, she once said about Grace, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” During the court hearing, it was revealed that Grace had been abused by Sara and other men for years prior to the mu*rder. She had been sexually abused and since she was a toddler, she was mostly confined to her bedroom or a basement and she was regularly beaten.

Jacob would also enter a guilty plea for the mu*rder. He would say that “Gracie was a nightmare” and that the couple just didn’t want to deal with her anymore, but they still wanted to be paid for her. During the sentencing phase, a portion of Jacob’s confession was played out, and he could be heard laughing as he recalled Grace looking to Sara for help when she was being assaulted. He would face the death penalty. “You have no soul,” the judge said as he handed down the sentence. I’ve never said that to another human being in my life, and I hope I never do.”

Jacob Sullivan died in prison from a cardiac aneurysm in April of 2020. He was 47 years old at the time.

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