GLENSIDE, Pa. (WTXF) - Hundreds of people turned out Monday to attend a memorial service for Grace Packer.
Rose Hunsicker was inconsolable as she arrived at the New Life Presbyterian Church in Glenside. The little girl to whom she had given life is dead, in the cruelest way imaginable, and this birth mother was here to say goodbye.
"What would you like people to know about your daughter?" asked FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "That her memory and her smile will never fade away," said Hunsicker, through tears.
Authorities say 14-year-old Grace Packer was raped, murdered, dismembered and discarded by her adoptive mother Sara and her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan in a case that has shocked and horrified this community. Most of the mourners who packed the church did not know Grace. But that's not why they came.
"This is a human being made in the image of God, and is important," said Rev. Marc Davis of New Life. "And she matters to us and she matters to the community."
She was born two months premature,Susan Hunsicker, but child welfare authorities decided her birth parents could not properly care for her. They removed the little girl from the home and ultimately placed her with the woman now charged in her heinous murder.
"I can't find it in my heart or anything to forgive them. Too much pain and it hurts," said Grace's cousin Myra McMurtry.
TV cameras were not permitted inside the church for a service organized by several local moms. A service that included these words about a murder victim who lived a tragic, painful life and might have been forgotten in death: "We have come to bear witness to her life so that Grace Anastasia Packer should not disappear."
"This little girl Grace is everybody's daughter," said Nancy Dreher of Fox Chase. "She's everybody's daughter. She needed people and here are the people."
This story is far from over. Still ahead, the criminal case against the accused killers and a lot of tough questions about the apparent red flags missed by child welfare authorities.