Search Continues for Foster Kids of Woman Charged in Adopted Daughter's Murder
While Sara Packer remains in custody with a trial date not yet set, the state is looking for the 30 foster children who she cared for within the last decade.
By Deanna Durante, David Chang and Brian X. McCrone
The search continues for the foster kids of a woman who was charged in the rape and murder of her adopted daughter.
Sara Packer, along with her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan, were arrested and charged in the rape, murder and dismemberment of her 14-year-old adopted daughter Grace Packer in July, 2016. While Sara Packer remains in custody with a trial date not yet set, the state is looking for the 30 foster children who she cared for within the last decade. Officials say about a dozen of those children are now adults and are unaccounted for.
Packer fostered the children over the course of a decade in addition to formally adopting Grace and Grace’s younger brother in Berks County.
Nadeem Bezar, an attorney who practices in the areas of child sexual abuse and child welfare, told NBC10 he’s been watching the Packer murder case closely and has had contact with individuals who claimed to have lived in a home with Sara Packer and her former husband David Packer.
“This is somebody who had a predatory lifestyle who was preying on young children,” Bezar said.
Much remains unclear about the Packers' fostering and adoptions, which involved Children, Youth and Family agencies in at least two counties. Officials in several counties across eastern Pennsylvania have declined to provide details about the Packers, citing the ongoing criminal case. The state Department of Human Services, which purportedly provides oversight of the county agencies, also has released few details about the Packers' long history of adoption and foster care.
Montgomery and Northampton counties have canceled contracts with certain contracted adoption agencies linked to the Packers, NBC10 has previously reported.
Sara Packer worked as a case manager for Northampton County Children, Youth and Family before she was fired two months before then-husband David Packer was charged with sexually assaulting one of the couple's foster children and Grace Packer in 2010. Sara Packer had no criminal record until she and Sullivan were arrested in Grace’s rape, murder and dismemberment last July.
Bezar and other child advocates told NBC10 that state and federal investigators need to do as much as they can to locate the foster children who are unaccounted for. According to Bezar, while many choose not to be found he is concerned that some of the foster kids were harmed by Sara Packer given the severity of the charges against her.
“I think it’s no coincidence,” Bezar said. “I think unfortunately we might have to expect the worst.”
Child advocates also told NBC10 another concern is the fact that records of foster children are allowed to be destroyed, which makes finding them difficult.
A spokesperson with the FBI confirmed to NBC10 that they are searching nationally for Packer’s foster children.
“I’ve seen your stories on this awful tragedy, and know that you’re looking for some accountability on behalf of Grace and any other potential victims,” the spokesperson said. “Rest assured, it’s something we take very seriously.”