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‘Suitcase Killer’ Heather Mack Says Daughter Will Be Her Priority As She Prepares To Return To Chicago
The American woman and her boyfriend were convicted of murdering her mother at a luxury resort in Bali then stuffing the body in a suitcase.
The American woman dubbed "The Suitcase Killer" has said that her daughter will be her main priority as she prepares to return to Chicago following her release from a Bali prison last week.
Heather Mack was 19 years old in 2015 when the Indonesian courts handed her a 10-year prison sentence. Mack and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were found guilty of premeditated murder after investigators say they killed Mack’s mother, 62-year-old Sheila Wiese-Mack.
Mack was released early from prison on Friday for good behavior and is expected to return to the United States sometime next week.
“I really miss my mom, and everything in Chicago will remind me of her,” Mack said in an interview with the New York Post. “I’m sure it will be very confronting because I think of her every day and deeply regret what happened.”
Factored into Mack’s early release decision was the birth of her and Schaefer’s daughter, Stella, inside prison. Mack and the now-6-year-old child are expected to reunite in Jakarta before departing for the United States, according to the Post. Stella was raised in an Indonesian foster home during her mother’s incarceration.
Mack says Stella will be her primary focus when they return to the country.
“My priority is to settle Stella with me and get into a good routine,” Mack told the Post. “She will be educated remotely by the school that she attended in Bali. She is already familiar with homeschooling because of [the pandemic]. I will be in close communication with the Bali school.
“Stella loves to paint, so I’ll consider following up those activities once we are back in America," she added.
The body of Weise-Mack, a Chicago socialite, was discovered in a suitcase inside a taxicab near Bali’s St. Regis Resort. Investigators say Schaefer bludgeoned Weise-Mack to death with a fruit bowl before stuffing her body in the suitcase. Mack, then 18, and Schaefer then fled to a low-key motel a few miles away, where they were soon arrested by authorities.
Schaefer remains behind bars serving an 18-year sentence.
“Stella is not prepared for the press bombarding us. So I will defend her from the media and keep her right out of the spotlight,” Mack added while speaking to the Post. “I have told Stella that we are going on vacation, and she is prepared and excited for that.”
Mack added that Stella “remains blissfully unaware of the murder, which is as it should be for a child.”
Since her arrest, Mack claimed the relationship between her and her mother was volatile. As reported by the Post, Oak Park Police logged 86 calls to the family’s $1.5 million home between 2010 and 2013. Mack said the tension with her mother grew during a trip to Santorini in 2006 when Mack’s father died from a pulmonary embolism. Weise-Mack had allegedly left his body in a morgue and continued her vacation.
“It was in Santorini that my anger at my mother started,” Mack told the Post. “It never really stopped. It grew.”
Mack’s father, famed jazz composer James L. Mack, worked alongside ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic.
“I have been in contact with my dad’s side [of the family], who have supported me,” Mack told the Post. “They live in Texas, and I look forward to introducing Stella to her family.”
Weise-Mack, a former researcher for Senator Ted Kennedy, was unhappy with Mack and Schaefer’s relationship. When Mack dropped out of school and became pregnant with Schafer’s child, Weise-Mack took her daughter on a trip to Bali in hopes of convincing her to undergo an abortion, according to the Post. After Weise-Mack hurt her ankle and became confined to a bed on the trip, Mack stole her credit card and spent $12,000 to fly Schafer from Chicago to Bali.
The three were caught on camera arguing in the hotel lobby one night before the murder.
Schaefer claimed he killed Weise-Mack in self-defense after she flew into a rage over Mack’s pregnancy, the Post reported. Schaefer’s cousin, Ryan Bibbs, was also found guilty of conspiring to commit foreign murder of a U.S. citizen and sentenced to nine years in prison. Bibbs was allegedly offered $50,000 to help find a hitman.
Mack stood to inherit millions from Wiese-Mack’s death; she claims that money wasn’t a motive in the killing.
“I absolutely regret what happened. I loved my mom, and still do,” Mack told the Post. “She wasn’t evil, and she didn’t deserve to die the way she did. I didn’t kill her for money. It was for my freedom and Stella’s freedom, or so I thought at the time. I think of her a thousand times a day.”
Mack and Stella expect to be cleared by customs and leave for Chicago as early as Monday.