The adoptive father of a Montgomery County teenager found murdered in the woods after disappearing five months ago doesn't know who would have wanted Grace Packer dead.
David Packer, of Northampton, said in a brief phone interview that he didn't want to talk about Grace's death or the ongoing murder investigation. The girl, 14, was found by hunters on Oct. 31, her body dismembered in a wooded area of Luzerne County.
Asked if he had any idea what could have led to Grace's murder, he said, "I wish I knew. I really do."
Packer said he remained the adoptive parent of Grace and her younger biological brother, even though he recently divorced their adoptive mother, Sara Packer, and had long been estranged from his ex-wife.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
David and Sara Packer officially divorced in August after David Packer filed in June in Northampton County, according to court records.
The Bucks County District Attorney's office last week dubbed Sara Packer a person of interest in the ongoing murder investigation. The 41-year-old woman has been charged with child endangerment and obstruction of justice in Montgomery County related to Grace's disappearance, which was first reported in July. Authorities have said she was uncooperative with the investigation of Grace's disappearance and misled authorities.
It remains unclear how long the Packers were estranged. David Packer declined to talk about his relationship with Sara, who has been living with a boyfriend in a Horsham apartment. Authorities have given a Quakertown address for her in court documents.
Prior to her arrest, Sara Packer, who goes by her maiden name Pielaet on Facebook, was living with the boyfriend and Grace's 12-year-old brother. She was held in county jail for more than a month before being released Dec. 23 on a lowered bail.
This week, Sara Packer asked a judge to have returned some personal items seized by police, according to a motion filed Wednesday by her public defender.
Defense attorney Carrie Lynn Allman filed a motion petitioning Common Pleas Judge Joseph Smyth to give back Packer's driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card and ACCESS card.
“Ms. Packer needs these items to conduct basic life transactions and to receive medical care and treatment,” wrote Allman, who is the homicide chief attorney for the Montgomery County Public Defender’s office. She did not respond to messages left seeking comment.
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the endangerment case this week, citing the ongoing investigation. The Bucks County District Attorney is leading the homicide investigation.
It remains unclear where Grace's 12-year-old brother is currently staying. A law enforcement source said Friday that the boy is believed to be staying with extended family. A spokesman for Bucks County did not respond to a message seeking information from the Office of Youth and Children.
David Packer said he would not comment on the boy or where he's staying.
In 2011, David Packer pleaded to statutory sexual assault after he was charged with indecent deviate sexual intercourse with a girl who was nine at the time of his arrest.
The victim told Northampton police that Packer had assaulted her over a four-year period from 2006 to 2010. Before he pleaded guilty, he was also charged with indecent assault of a second girl, 15 at the time, according to published accounts. Neither of the victims were identified.
He was sentenced to one-and-a-half to eight years in state prison as part of the negotiated guilty plea on the statutory sexual assault charge. It is unclear how long he served before he was released and registered as a sexually violent predator in Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law registry.
He said Friday he would not discuss his crime.
Sara Packer’s attorney, Allman, said in her motion to retrieve the documents that "Ms. Packer can demonstrate ‘entitlement to lawful possession’ of these items as they are all government issued identification, or assistance, and the documents are in her name.”
A hearing before Smyth was scheduled Feb. 27 on the motion. Sara Packer’s next scheduled court appearance is a formal arraignment Jan. 18.