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Woman charged in adopted daughter of the deceased fostered 30 children

Sara Packer is brought, together with her boyfriend with killing her adopted daughter in a “rape-murder fantasy of” the couple shared.

(AP)

PHILADELPHIA – A woman charged along with her boyfriend in the rape, murder and mutilation of her adopted 14-year-old daughter found in 30 foster children for her husband was considered a sexual predator.

Former adoption worker, Sarah Packer and her ex-husband encouraged the children from 2000 to 2010, when they led a transient life in northeast Pennsylvania, state officials confirmed on Friday. The state Department of Human Services said it is reviewing the family’s history in the run-up to the torture death of adopted daughter Grace Packer.

Sara Packer, and her friend, Jacob Sullivan, are charged with the killing of Grace in their Bucks County home before Packer gives her missing in July. Grace’s body was found in a wooded area in the north of the state in October, and the couple with the murder on Sunday after a joint suicide attempt.

Packer and Sullivan are being held without bail until a preliminary hearing set for next week. Neither has an attorney listed in court documents. But Sullivan apologized as he was led in the district court, the Intelligencer newspaper.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Sullivan said. “It was wrong.”

Packer’s ex-husband, David Packer, was convicted in 2011 of raping of a foster teen and the murder of Grace between 2006 and 2010, when the family lived in Allentown.

The foster teenager, who was learning disabled, initially told the police David Packer had sex with her when she was 18, and Sara Parker knew it, authorities said.

“As objectionable as that may be, it is not a crime,” said Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin, whose office prosecuted the case.

However, the teen eventually disclosed the sex started when she was 15. David Packer went to prison for about five years for the rape and indecent assault charges.

Sara Packer is excluded from taking on more foster children and lost her $44,000-a-year job as a Northampton County approval supervisor about unspecified misconduct. But she loved her two adopted children: Grace and her biological younger brother. And there would be no child’s welfare checks unless a new complaint was filed, because adoptive parents have the same rights as other parents, Martin said.

“The grace, which was then raped and murdered, was an adopted child. That determination, it was already a fait accompli,” he said. “It is a terrible story, but I don’t know what else my office or the Allentown Police Department would have done in the time.”

Within a few years, Sara Packer, and the two children lived with Sullivan, a designer in Glenside in Montgomery County. In the fall of 2015, they sent Grace to live with a family member in North Carolina, where she spent several happy months, prosecutors said. When she returned home, the couple’s plotting of her death, a police statement said.

Sara Packer watched as Sullivan raped Grace on July 8, and then went out to buy Tylenol PM to numb Grace before they left her to die, bound and gagged, in a sweltering attic, the affidavit said. When they found her still alive the next day, Sullivan strangled her, police said.

They wrapped her body in the litter box, and hid him in the house for a number of months before they cut it with a saw and dumped in the woods, police said.

The Packers had adopted Grace and her brother when she was 3, after a Berks County judge removed from a home where she had been sexually abused by adults who live with their parents. The Department of Human Services has opened a six-month evaluation of the Packer family, including checks on the welfare of the 30 former foster children, authorities said.

“If there is a systematic review that comes out of this terrible tragedy, we can at least take some solace in that … so that children like Grace are not forgotten, so that they don’t fall through the cracks,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, whose office is leading the murder investigation.

Court records show the Packers separated last June. David Packer lawyer of 2010, a case, said this week that he couldn’t comment. A man who answered the phone, Sara Packer ‘s father’ s home declined to comment and hung up.

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