NEWTOWN, Pa. (WTXF/AP) - A woman whose 14-year-old daughter's dismembered remains were found in the woods last fall has been charged along with her boyfriend with killing the girl in a "rape-murder fantasy" the couple shared, a prosecutor said Sunday.
"The hours and the days leading up to her murder were probably the most horrible and traumatic that any person should ever have had to experience," Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.
Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan face charges including criminal homicide, rape, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse over the July death of Grace Packer, online court documents show.
Sullivan was arraigned early Sunday, and Sara Packer was arraigned later. They didn't enter pleas, were denied bail and were expected to be transferred to Bucks County Prison.
Sullivan apologized as he was led into court, the Intelligencer newspaper reported.
"I'm sorry for what I did," he said. "It was wrong."
According to the Probable Cause Affidavit, it was on the morning of July 8. Grace, who had been adopted by Sara Packer, was taken to the attic of a Quakertown house the couple rented.
“Grace was in her pajamas and during the ride fell asleep in the back of Jacob Sullivan's vehicle,” it read.
“When they arrived at the Quakertown residence, they walked Grace into the home where Jacob Sullivan struck Grace in the face several times splitting her lip. Following the physical assault, Jacob Sullivan and Sara Packer took Grace Packer up to the 3rd floor attic of the residence. He admitted that they discussed him raping Grace before killing her. In the 3rd floor finished attic Jacob Sullivan ripped Grace's pajama top and bit her breasts while Sara Packer watched. Jacob said Sullivan admitted that Sara Packer was sexually aroused witnessing him do this. Jacob Sullivan admitted that he took a Viagra pill prior to attacking Grace in preparation of the rape.
Skipping other details, the report says, “Grace was conscious during the sexual attack.”
She was then poisoned, bound and gagged and left for dead, Weintraub said.
When the couple returned hours later, they discovered Grace was still alive, so Sullivan choked her to death, Weintraub said. Sullivan told police it took much longer than he expected to strangle her, according to the affidavit.
Investigators say the couple packed Grace's body with cat litter to mask decomposition smells and stored it in the attic. Officials allege they dismembered the body in October after being scared by a police visit.
On the evening of Oct. 31, the affidavit says Pennsylvania State Police troopers responded to a report of human remains in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County.
“Investigators on scene noticed the absence of insect infestation about the torso, indicating that the torso was most likely stored in another location prior to being dumped at this outdoor location, where it was exposed to weather conditions and the elements of nature.”
It continued that a police “canine ‘Cratos’ located additional human remains identified as the arms and legs severed from the found torso.”
On Nov. 8, the torso “was positively identified as Grace Packer.”
The affidavit described, "Investigators learned that Grace’s body had been discovered unclothed. No jewelry was found with Grace’s remains despite the fact that her ears were double pierced. She was not covered over to avoid detection.”
It was also determined “due to “no insect infestation upon the torso” that “Grace had been killed and dismembered elsewhere and actually stored somewhere else where insects were not able to infest her remains.”
As for the dismemberment, authorities "found a receipt from the Tractor Supply store in Richland Township, Bucks County, Pa., dated October 16, 2016 for a bow saw and two extra blades."
Those were not found but authorities "were able to secure video at the Richland Tractor Supply store of Sara Packer buying the aforementioned bow saw and two extra blades."
Packer had previously been charged with child endangerment and obstruction. Police say she provided misleading information to investigators when reporting that Grace was missing from their Abington home in July.
Authorities say after numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact Packer through August, on Sept. 7 investigators learned Grace and her younger brother had been withdrawn from Abington School District. The investigation later revealed Packer had moved to Quakertown without telling police, and her 12-year-old adopted son, Grace's biological brother, had been enrolled in Quakertown School District.
Authorities said Packer kept cashing her daughter's monthly $700 Social Security checks and updated disability forms in August without mentioning the girl's disappearance. It's unclear what the girl's disability was.
Sullivan and Packer tried to overdose on prescription pills on Dec. 30, the criminal complaint said. They were hospitalized after being found by a woman who lived with them.
“Additionally there is a notation on the medical record of Sara Packer that she had indicated to hospital personnel that she and Sullivan had entered into a ‘suicide pact’ prior to taking a combination of prescription medication.”
Then, on Jan. 7, “Jacob Sullivan admitted to several hospital personnel that he was responsible for the murder of Grace Packer. He admitted that Sara Packer was an accomplice. Investigators interviewed the hospital personnel to whom Jacob Sullivan confessed. Those individuals related specific details about the murder of Grace Packer, which included details that had not been previously released to the public. What are the individuals indicated that Jacob Sullivan wanted to ‘confess everything’ to the police about his involvement of Grace Parker. The hospital personnel also indicated that several family members visited Jacob Sullivan during this time frame. Hospital personnel believed he also confessed to them as they witnessed an emotional encounter between Sullivan and his family.”