Society

Stepmother Arrested After Daughter's Remains Found

| by Michael Doherty

After a 14-year-old girl's body was found dismembered in a forest, her stepmother was arrested for child endangerment.

Grace Packer, 14, went missing from her home in Pennsylvania in July. Grace's remains were found on Oct. 31, Philly.com reports. Her death has been ruled a homicide, but murder charges have not been filed, and police have not released a cause of death. Grace's adoptive mother, Sara Packer, 41, has been named a "person of interest" in the case after police say she obstructed the investigation into Grace's disappearance.

Police say Sara obstructed their investigation into Grace's disappearance by moving without telling them. Sara also reportedly refused to give police photos of Grace, and gave them a typed "goodbye" letter that she said was from the girl, explaining that she had run away.

Sara had filed a missing persons report in July, saying Grace had left the house with $300. Grace was receiving disability benefits, and Sara reportedly continued to cash the checks for $712 a month after her daughter's disappearance. She reportedly spent more than $3,600 of the disability money.

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Sara moved into an apartment with her boyfriend and did not tell authorities where she went while they were trying to get in touch with her for the investigation, police said.

Police say the alleged goodbye letter was not written by Grace. Sara has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and obstructing the administration of law, but not for Grace's murder.

Grace's adopted brother, 12, is reportedly safe, according to District Attorney Matthew Weintraub.

Sara's bail has been reduced from $200,000 to $10,000, even after prosecutors said they considered her a flight risk and requested that her bail be increased.

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Weintraub said the investigation into Grace's murder would continue.

"Two things are certain," he said. "Grace Packer was murdered, and we will use all of our joint investigative resources to bring Grace's killer to justice."

"This is one of those investigations that everybody is working really hard on," added District Attorney Kevin Steele. "We need to solve what happened to her because this can't occur with another teenage girl."

Sources: Daily Mail, Philly.com / Photo credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office via Daily Mail

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