Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
'Suitcase Killer' Heather Mack Is Released From An Indonesian Prison Early For Good Behavior
Heather Mack was convicted of helping then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer kill her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, during a trip to Bali, then stuffing the body in a suitcase and abandoning it in a taxi.
A U.S. woman convicted of helping to brutally kill her mother at a Bali resort in 2014 has been released from prison in Indonesia early for good behavior.
Heather Mack—who along with then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer stuffed her mom’s body into a suitcase and abandoned it in a taxi—left the Kerobokan Female Prison in Denpasar Friday morning wearing large sunglasses, a mask and an immigration deportee’s orange vest as a throng of reporters looked on, according to the Associated Press.
“Oh my God … you’re insane!,” the now 26-year-old said from the car’s window.
Mack was to be taken directly to an immigration office, where she’ll be deported to the United States.
Mack was just 18 years old when she and Schaefer killed her wealthy Chicago socialite mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, while on vacation in Bali.
Schaefer beat her to death with a fruit bowl in a prestigious St. Regis Bali Resort hotel room during a heated argument, then the couple stuffed her body into a suitcase and abandoned it in the back of a taxi, according to the BBC.
Schaefer claimed he killed the 62-year-old in self-defense after von Weise-Mack flew into a rage after learning her 19-year-old daughter was pregnant.
The couple was arrested after they were found hiding at another hotel.
Mack, who has spoken out repeatedly about the dysfunctional relationship she said she had with her mother, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Schaefer received 18 years behind bars.
Two years after the killing, Schaefer’s cousin Robert Bibbs, pleaded guilty to helping the couple plan the murder in exchange for $50,000 from the expected inheritance.
Mack was able to cut 34 months off her sentence for good behavior behind bars, including hosting inmate fashion shows and teaching dance.
Prison Chief Warden Lili—who goes only by her first name like many in the country—told the Associated Press that Mack had been shocked and scared to leave the prison she’s called home, but said they “all cheered her on and reassured her that everything would be all right” upon her release.
“Heather used to say that prison has changed her life a lot, she loves Indonesia and the people who have surrounded her all these years,” Lili said. “She will miss us so much and so do we here.”
Mack had hoped her young daughter, Stella, who lived with her behind bars for two years before going to stay with a friend in Indonesia for the remainder of her sentence, would be able to stay with the foster family rather than traveling to the United States but an Indonesian official told The Associated Press that wouldn’t be possible.
“Minors must be accompanied by their mothers when their mothers are deported. There is no policy that allows a mother to leave her underage child here,” said Amrizal, chief of the Bali immigration office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
Mack told The New York Post earlier this year that she was concerned about the media attention her daughter could face in the United States.
“I am fearful and nervous of returning to Chicago. I’m not worried about the idea that people cannot understand the tragedy for my sake. But I’m nervous for [my daughter] Stella,” she said. “I’m scared that if she comes back to the States with me, she will be exposed to what happened.”
Even years before von Weise-Mack was killed, the mother and daughter had a volatile relationship. Oak Park Police were called to the family’s 13-room home 86 times between 2010 and 2013, according to The Post.
Mack told People in 2015 from behind bars that her mother had been controlling and forced her to sleep in the same bed with her at night.
“She never wanted to be separated from me, and yet she also hated everything about me. It was complicated,” she said.
Earlier this year, she told The Post that she “absolutely” regrets killing her mother and still thinks of her “a thousand times a day.”
“I loved my mom—I still do,” she said. “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.”