READING, Pa. - While Grace Packer's adoptive mother and her boyfriend sit behind bars, charged with homicide, the girl's birth mother, who lives in Reading, told 69 News on Monday that she is trying to deal with indescribable anguish over her daughter's violent death and anger toward her alleged killers.
Rose Hunsicker said detectives investigating Grace's reported disappearance in neighboring Montgomery County first contacted her in early October. She heard from them again about a week before Thanksgiving, when they took a sample of her DNA because, investigators told her, they believed they had Grace's body.
Then, just before Christmas, Hunsicker got the news from police. The dismembered body found by hunters in a remote area of Luzerne County on October 31 belonged to her daughter.
"I was hurt, angry," Hunsicker said. "There was no words that I could have put in, you know, anything to express my emotions and stuff about my daughter."
Hunsicker said she last saw her daughter in 2004, when circumstances in her life at the time forced her to give up Grace and her younger son.
"All these years, I figured that she was growing up to be a regular teenager," Hunsicker said, "you know, a mother's instinct, that she was growing up in a wonderful family, a wonderful home, growing up to be a big girl."
Then, Hunsicker got the news this past weekend of arrests in her daughter's brutal killing. Grace's adoptive mother, Sara Packer, and her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, have been charged with criminal homicide and kidnapping. Sullivan is also charged with rape.
"I know now that justice can be served for my daughter, but when I found out who it was, you know, I trusted this woman to take care of something so precious to me."
Sara Packer, the adoptive mother, once worked as an adoption supervisor for Northampton County, officials said.
Grace Packer was beaten and raped as her mother watched, poisoned and, hours later, strangled a stifling attic in July, according to law enforcement authorities. The couple, they said, stored Grace's body there, dismembered it in October and dumped it in a park in Luzerne County.
Both suspects are being held without bail pending a preliminary hearing on January 20.
Allentown, PA 18102