The Pennsylvania woman who has been charged with her boyfriend in the death and dismemberment of her 14-year-old adoptive daughter spent seven years working for a children’s welfare agency overseeing adoptions, PEOPLE confirms.
A statement obtained by PEOPLE from Catherine Allen, the director of administration for Pennsylvania’s Northampton County, confirms Sara Packer, 41, “was an employee of Northampton County from 2003 through 2010,” working as a supervisor for the county’s Children, Youth and Families Division.
Allen’s statement does not address the criminal allegations against Packer, which according to prosecutors stem from an alleged “rape-murder fantasy” she allegedly acted out with her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, 44.
“The county cannot comment regarding ongoing law enforcement investigations,” reads the statement.
Packer was suspended from her position in 2010 following “allegations of misconduct,” according to personnel records obtained by PEOPLE. Those records do not detail the specific allegations against Packer.
Allegations Against Mother, Boyfriend
Packer and her 44-year-old boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, face multiple charges connected to the death of Grace Packer, who Packer took in as a foster child at the age of 3 and later adopted.
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Prosecutors allege that Packer and Sullivan preserved Grace’s remains in cat litter for three months before chopping up her body and dumping it in a remote area of Pennsylvania.
Grace was reported missing by her mother in July. Hunters found her corpse on Halloween in a mountainous region of the state, just south of Scranton.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that Sullivan and Packer began plotting the teen’s murder in late 2015, soon after Grace returned from a stay with extended family members in North Carolina.
“Unfortunately, Grace Packer was a disposable child to these people,” reads Weintraub’s statement. “Who will now speak for Grace Packer? We will.”
Weintraub said he may seek the death penalty against Sullivan and Packer.
Weintraub alleges that Sullivan and Packer forged a suicide pact and, on Dec. 30, unsuccessfully attempted suicide by prescription pills. Sullivan has been in the hospital ever since.
Sullivan was arrested on Saturday after allegedly telling several staffers at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health in Abington that he was responsible for the teen’s strangulation murder.
“Under subsequent questioning by Bucks County detectives, he revealed in detail how the girl was assaulted and killed over the course of about 18 hours,” Weintraub’s statement reads.
Weintraub says the alleged attack on Grace began on July 8, 2016. Sullivan allegedly told investigators he and Packer drove the girl to a new home in Richland Township, where he allegedly punched her several times in the face, splitting her lip open.
“The two adults then took the teen to the third floor of the residence, where Sara Packer watched as Sullivan raped her daughter,” Weintraub’s statement alleges. “Sara Packer then left to buy Tylenol PM and other drugs for sedating Grace. Telling her the drugs would help minimize her pain from the assaults, the adults gave her an overdose of pills, then bound and gagged her and left her to die in the hot attic.”
Weintraub alleges that Packer and Sullivan said they left the house for the rest of the day, returning the next morning. Much to their shock, Grace was still alive, Sullivan allegedly told investigators.
“He strangled and suffocated her until she died,” claims Weintraub’s statement. “Packer and Sullivan then packed Grace’s body in cat litter to mask the odor and left it in the attic for three months.”
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Weintraub called the crime “a rape-murder fantasy that was shared by Jacob Sullivan and Sara Packer, and they acted it out.”
Sullivan has been charged with homicide, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful restraint, kidnapping, possessing instruments of crime, endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of corpse, simple assault, tampering with physical evidence, and corresponding conspiracy charges.
Packer was arrested on homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, possessing instruments of crime, endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of corpse, simple assault, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to commit rape charges.
Both Sullivan and Packer are being held without bail and have yet to enter pleas to the charges against them. Neither has retained legal counsel.
Weintraub’s statement alleges Sullivan shouted “I’m sorry for what I did” to reporters as he was being led into a courthouse Saturday for his arraignment.