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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

NorCo Needs To Reassure Public In Murder Charges Against Ex-Adoption Supervisor

Sara Packer
Blogger's Note: You may wish to postpone reading this story until later in the day. It's disgusting at parts. 

A fellow used to stand outside the courthouse every morning. He was at the losing end of a custody battle, and carried signs that lambasted several county judges, as well as Children and Youth. Though likable, he was generally regarded with healthy skepticism. The same is true of child abuse awareness groups that occasionally gather outside the courthouse. But now that a former adoption supervisor in Northampton County has been charged with participating in the rape, murder and dismemberment of her own adopted daughter, the public is going to feel far less confident in the caseworkers at the county's Children,Youth and Families (CYF) division. Instead of assuring the public that what happened is an aberration, Executive John Brown has circled the wagons and has directed his staff to clam up. This is a disservice to the public he represents, as well as the many good people in CYF who work under him.

It's a case so bizarre it could be turned into a Netflix movie. Sara Packer was supposed to be the kind of person who looks after children, instead of participating in a scheme to rape and murder them. She had two adopted children herself. Her daughter Grace was adopted in Berks County. She was also, from time to time, a foster parent. She was unable to foster any children in Northampton County once she started working there in 2003, but she did foster about 30 children from other counties. Eventually, she became an adoption supervisor in Northampton County. But all that came to an end in 2010, when she was suspended without pay and terminated.

Shortly thereafter, her husband at that time, David Packer, was charged with sexually abusing an adopted daughter and a foster child in 2010. He and Sara were Grace's adoptive parents, so it's safe to assume he abused Grace when she was about nine. Packer was sentenced to one to five years in jail in Lehigh County, and was classified as a sexually violent predator.

After losing her job, it's unclear what Sara did until September 2015, when she began working for The Results Company, a corporate call center.

Eventually, she had a new boyfriend named Jake Sullivan, who is originally from Wisconsin. According to what Sullivan has now told police, she and he cooked up a plot to drug, rape and then kill 14 year-old Grace. He had sexually abused her before, performing oral sex on her twice. This time, he would rape her as well, while the former adoption supervisor watched and was sexually aroused as he bit the semi-conscious child's breast.

After it was over, they gave her more pills, hoping they would kill her. She threw up instead. So they just left her in the third floor attic, bound and gagged, figuring the heat would do her in. But a few hours later, when she was still alive and conscious, Sullivan wrapped his arm around her face and neck, "and slowly squeezed the life out of her."

Obviously, she suffered horribly.

The child was packed in kitty litter while Sara eventually went to Tractor Supply for a bow saw and two extra blades. She and Sullivan eventually cut up the desiccated remains, which were found by hunters in Luzerne County on Halloween Day 2016.

Though Sara Packer had reported that her daughter was missing, she made no frantic pleas on Facebook about her, something that people usually do if they're even missing a pet. She told police she had notified all her relatives, but they soon discovered that was untrue.

As a result of intense pressure from the police, Packer and Sullivan entered into a new pact. This time it was a suicide pact. They would both overdose on sleeping pills, and took them at the home of another of Sullivan's girlfriends. He left a note."I can't exist with Sara in jail and those fucking lying pigs and the whore media have made it impossible for us to live."

But he didn't die. The other girlfriend found him, and called police. A few hours later, she called again. Sara was in another room, and had taken pills, too, but not as many. Had Jake Sullivan died, the one witness who could clearly inculpate her would be out of the picture. But he lived, and now he's sorry.

The Northampton County connection was first made by NBC10’s Deanna Durante on December 28, but was completely missed by the dailies until yesterday. If they had any real integrity themselves, they would have given Durante credit because they never would have known about this but for her own hard work.

The county stonewalled multiple calls from Durante about Parker, even though Parker was discharged long before John Brown became Executive. I was waiting for Durante to appear before the Council's Human Services Committee later this month, something she was considering in her quest for information.

I understand the unwillingness to discuss someone's employment, even though the rules are different for a public sector employee. We have a right to know when a person was hired and why she was fired. We have the right to know how much she was paid. But there are bigger concerns. A prosecution like this destroys the public's confidence in our child protective services program. It tarnishes every person who works in CYF or Human Services, no matter how dedicated. By refusing to address this crisis, Brown has validated every criticism made of the department.

I understand that he's in Florida. If he can't return, he needs someone who can speak for him and address the public on the following matters:
  • The County needs to review every case on which Sara Packer worked, and should be able to either confirm that nothing inappropriate happened,or that corrective action has been taken.
  • The County needs to make the public aware of what kind of training CYF workers receive after they are hired.
  • The County needs to assure the public that she was never a foster mother for any child in the Northampton County system because that is contrary to county policy. 

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

A great first step would be for the next county executive to bring in a new Director of Human Services. The current Director will be of no help. Check out her past. He better find someone with impeccable qualifications to clean the place up.

Anonymous said...

Agree about the administration needing to be more forthcoming. They should release the information you detail. All cases should be reviewed. Then, an independent investigation should be launched to determine responsibility by the last executive and any supervisory personnel involved in this animal's county employment.

Anonymous said...

why would the County invest resources investigating the administration? I'm not understanding the rationale. This disgusting human did not commit the crime as an employee of the County. She hasn't worked for the County for years. People are making it seem like the County is an accomplice to this crime because she was an employee. I'm sure she passed her background checks and did what she needed to do when she worked there. People need to focus on the two animals that did this and stop always looking for a reason to get the County. The County has enough other issues people should focus their time on.

Anonymous said...

Our "go away and leave us alone" policy is working as intended so, go away and leave us alone!

Bernie O'Hare said...

" I'm sure she passed her background checks and did what she needed to do when she worked there"

Then the county should have no problem saying that. Hold a news conference and explain that everyone who works in CYF undergoes a background check, although I never heard that before. if there is no background check, explain that one is being started or why it is not needed. Announce that every case she worked on is being reviewed. That review should consist of contacts with several of her past clients. This woman is very clearly manipulative and has been called "pure evil" by Grace's birth mother. The whole suicide pact seems like part of that manipulation,in which she could have been trying to eliminate the only witness against her. The Brown administration should be reassuring the public and going the extra mile, instead of telling us "There's nothing to see here."

Anonymous said...

We can walk and chew gum at the same time. The criminal case should press on. Brown should make public everything he's permitted to. And the county should be investigated to understand how this monster was ever permitted to be in a key position with children's lives. She didn't jaywalk. She schemed to rape, torture, murder and dismember a 14-year old. Are there any others currently employed who, "passed her background checks and did what she needed to do when she worked there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Then, an independent investigation should be launched to determine responsibility by the last executive"

I have no problem with that. Nor does any past executive. You seem to think this is political. Every file should be examined to determine whether there is any cause for concern, and if there is, who is responsible. The county needs to assure the public that its CYF is nothing like Sara Parker. Since she was hired by one prior exec and fired by another, Brown should have no reason for circling the wagons. If Brown is unwilling to open the underwear drawer and look, the state DHS should be requested to review the files on which she worked. In fact, that is probably the best way of reviewing the possibility of wrongdoing. But the county needs to assure the public it is looking into this matter.

george schaller said...

Bernie,
not to downgrade theZe two degenerates county carnival ACTS, but theZe types are used as a diversionary act for the county's circus carnival ACTS within the nue nue nue REnue the triboro the little cesspool by design? I am sure there are many many heart wrenching Acts that have been committed and ommitted by many a ACTOR in this triboro interACTive move to centralize the governmental human services supposid help!
There have been many many childrens cognazant abilities that have been hampered and altered for life because of theZe types of degenerates that participate in a complicite party favor conflicts that have a political arena agenda push behind the seens from higher ups to try to confuse the allready confusing situation, and add to the truma time and time again?
REpublican redd
humanist by design and no party favor whatsoever

Anonymous said...

"Instead of assuring the public that what happened is an aberration"

Why would anyone think it's an aberration? There has been no comment on the matter.

Short of having decent parents to begin with, the aberration would be a needy child getting any help by which some adult could not profit.

Shades of "The Franklin Scandal" without comment we're left to speculate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Franklin Scandal was baseless

Anonymous said...

"The Franklin Scandal was baseless" of course it was, base on where it lead, it has to be.

Lets go with "Mea Maxima Culpa" then

Anonymous said...

I know this is troubling but should not the county have explained why this woman was promoted and then fired by the past Admisntration? That should be part of the report.
Is it true that children in the care of the Lehigh County CYF died when John Stoffa was their Director of Human Services?

What is the "Franklin Scandal" and why is it baseless?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Google it.

Anonymous said...

Dude I was curious so I looked it up. The Franklin Scandal is some serious shit man. Why did they cover it up? That is just nasty.

I pity children involved with government. Sad, man. Sad!

Anonymous said...

11:37PM

If you have money and power you can literally do anything you want without consequences.

"Robert H. Richards IV" is not an aberration.

There are two set of laws in this country, one for the rich and powerful and some of their minions, and one for the Profane(the rest of us).

Anonymous said...

CYF Caseworkers as well as all County Caseworkers are vetted by PA Civil Service regarding initial application credentials. Applicants for CYF ( Since this is the topic) are interviewed by a the Assistant CYF Administrator and a " Committee " of managers and if selected, require FBI, SBI and Child Line clearances before they are offered a position. Once an applicant is hired as a County Caseworker, they are required to complete a basic training program prescribed by the State Office of Children, Youth, and Families through the U of Pitt and other sanctioning organizations to be certified. ALL County Caseworkers are on probation and AT WILL employees for a period of six months and are to be further vetted during that time. County Caseworkers are required to complete at least 20 hours of training each year to hold the certifications. After all of that, it's a crap shoot because County Administration has a dubious policy of standing shoulder to shoulder with local managers and supervisors no matter how bad, and that policy is entirely unacceptable. Every administration is briefed by appropriate people and this one was too. The cases that Mr. O'Hare references in his blog ought to be reviewed for the purpose of ensuring that each and every child involved has been accounted for. Further, Human Resources should be part of any interviews for promotions and this Executive needs to act on behalf of the Public AND the good people that are trying to perform their duties by the professional standards that important posts require. These County Caseworkers require proper support and have laid down an offer of proof that is irrefutable. We haven't seen any meaningful changes beyond that. No one can predict anything like what happened to these children from walking through those doors. But it's not the only one over the course of a few years. Right? - Max Quadd

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks very much for your very informative, you'll see it as part of a separate blog tomorrow