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Bali American ‘Suitcase Murder’ Freed From Prison – WSB-TV Channel 2

DENPASAR, Indonesia – (AP) – An American woman convicted of helping kill her mother on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali in 2014 was released from prison Friday after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence and will be deported to the United States.

The severely beaten body of wealthy Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in the trunk of a parked taxi at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort in August 2014.

Heather Mack, who was almost 19 and a few weeks pregnant, and her 21-year-old boyfriend Tommy Schaefer were arrested a day later after being found at a hotel about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the St. Regis.

Police said hotel CCTV showed the couple had an argument with the girl’s mother in the hotel lobby shortly before the murder, which allegedly took place in a room in the hotel. hotel.

An Indonesian court sentenced Mack to 10 years in prison for aiding Schaefer in the murder of his mother and stuffing the body into a suitcase. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were sentenced in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell at Kerobokan Women’s Prison until the age of 2, and Mack has entrusted the care of her cubs. daughter to an Australian until her release from prison.

Mack and his mother had a rocky relationship, with officials confirming that police had been called to the family home in Oak Park, Ill., Dozens of times.

In 2016 Robert Bibbs, a cousin of Schaefer, pleaded guilty to helping plan the murder in exchange for $ 50,000 Mack was to inherit, and was sentenced the following year to nine years in prison.

Mack, now 26, was escorted through a crowd of reporters outside Kerobokan Women’s Prison in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, in a waiting car that took her to an office immigration near Bali International Airport on Friday morning.

Wearing a mask, sunglasses and an orange vest from an immigrant deportee, she made no comment to reporters except to say, “Oh my God … you’re crazy!” behind the car window.

A few of Mack’s friends were seen welcoming him outside the prison, including Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, an Australian married to a Balinese who raised Stella.

Mack’s sentence was shortened by a total of 34 months due to reductions that are often given to prisoners on important holidays due to their good behavior, including a six-month remission granted on the feast of Indonesian independence in August, said Lili, the director of the prison. director, which has only one name.

Lili said Mack was entitled to a reduced sentence under Indonesian law for good behavior and that Mack was also involved in activities organized by correctional officers, such as organizing fashion shows featuring drawings of inmates and their learning to dance.

She described that Mack was a little shocked and sad and scared when she was about to leave, “but we all encouraged her and reassured her that everything would be fine.”

“Heather used to say that prison has changed her life a lot, she loves Indonesia and the people who have surrounded her for all these years,” said Lili. “He will miss us so much and so will we here.”

Mack will have to stay at the immigration detention center for a few days while the plane tickets and travel documents are ready, said Amrizal, head of the Bali immigration office for the Ministry of Law and Rights. of Man.

Amrizal, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said his office is coordinating with the US consulate in Bali to repatriate the mother and child.

Mack has not seen his daughter for about 20 months because authorities halted prison visits during the coronavirus pandemic, but Indonesian law allows their reunion now that Mack has been released. Her lawyer, Yulius Benyamin Seran, said earlier that Mack asked the girl to stay with her foster family to avoid media attention.

However, Amrizal said Indonesian regulations would not allow it. “Minors must be accompanied by their mother when their mother is deported, there is no policy that allows a mother to leave her minor child here.”


Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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