Ebony Pack devoted her life to helping others. The 30-year-old nurse wore that devotion on her face, literally, with deep indents left around her nose and mouth after hours of wearing protective masks while caring for COVID-19 patients and working to save lives.
So it seemed especially cruel, her mother said, that Pack’s life was taken by someone who shot the Feasterville, Bucks County, woman as she sat in her Nissan sedan at a Lansdale intersection two days after Thanksgiving.
Three months later, the shooting confounds her family and law enforcement officials, who have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Pack’s killer.
“Every celebration, every holiday since then, feels wrong,” her mother, Rhonda Pack Terry, said in an interview. “I feel like I’m cheating her. Some days I feel like I’m moving on and I’m leaving her back.”
Pack Terry is caring for her 10-year-old granddaughter, Ava, at her Feasterville home, guiding her through life after her mother’s death.
“I just miss her, and this loss affects us in everything we do as a family,” she said.
Police officers in Lansdale found Pack inside her car Nov. 28 with multiple gunshot wounds just before 10 p.m. at the intersection of East Hancock Street and Church Road.
She was taken to Abington-Lansdale Hospital and died hours later. Detectives said it was clear that someone targeted Pack and fired into the driver’s side door as she was stopped at the residential four-way intersection, most likely at a red light. Beyond that, details are scarce in the murder, the first in Lansdale in nearly three years.
District Attorney Kevin Steele declined to talk at length about the investigation.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t continue to try and solve this case,” Steele said. “We want to make sure that we bring justice to her and to her family, and we have not been able to do that so far.”
Pack and her siblings grew up in various neighborhoods around their native Philadelphia before moving to Feasterville in search of more space. Her mother said her daughter was active in their church, Golden Star in North Philadelphia, where she sang in the choir.
Even at a young age, Pack’s love of helping people was apparent. For her family, especially her four siblings, she was an emotional anchor, said her 17-year-old sister, Ryan.
“Ebony being who she was, I knew I could always talk to her about my problems,” said Ryan, the youngest sibling. “I’m grateful that I got to know somebody that was so kind and good, and who loved me back.”
Pack bore a maturity beyond her years, steeled in the obstacles she had overcome. An unexpected pregnancy during her freshman year at Holy Family University forced her to drop out, but it didn’t derail her plans.
Juggling child care for Ava and work, Pack became a licensed practical nurse and landed a job at PowerBack Rehabilitation, which has several locations in the region. In recent months, she cared for COVID-19 patients sent to the company’s Southwest Center City site as overflow from nearby hospitals. (A spokesperson for PowerBack declined to comment, and said Pack’s coworkers were not permitted to speak about her.)
In between shifts, her family said, Pack made plans to return to school to become a registered nurse, and was hoping to open a home-care business, registering the company with the state as “Best Care Home Care.”
She discussed those plans with her mother on Thanksgiving. And again, two days later, as she got ready to visit her girlfriend at her home in Lansdale.
Ava was supposed to go along with her mother but changed her mind at the last minute and decided to stay home with her grandmother, the family said.
The day was unremarkable, Pack Terry said.
“Ebony was home, she was fine, and she was doing her normal routine,” she said. “There was nothing that would indicate to us that someone would take her life.”
Forty minutes after Pack left the house, police officers knocked on Pack Terry’s front door. They told Pack Terry that her daughter had been hurt and that she needed to go to Abington-Lansdale Hospital.
As she frantically raced to the hospital, Pack Terry said, she assumed that her daughter had been in a car crash. It never occurred to her that anyone would deliberately hurt Pack.
She was stunned to learn that her daughter had been shot to death. And now, she is pleading for anyone who has information to come forward.
“I just want to know why, even though there will never be a good enough reason for me,” Pack Terry said. “Someone thought it was OK to kill my child, to take Ava’s mom and my children’s sibling.”
Detectives investigating this case can be reached at 610-278-3368.