Heather Mack, who aided in the 2014 killing of her Chicago socialite mother, stuffing her body inside a suitcase at an upscale Bali hotel, is expected to return to the United States Tuesday with her 6-year-old daughter whom she gave birth to behind bars, Fox News has learned.
This comes after Mack was released last week from Kerobokan Female Prison in Denpasar, the Bali provincial capital, where she served seven years out of her 10-year sentence after being granted an early release in August for good behavior. Mack, 26, was escorted through reporters outside the prison Friday morning into a waiting car that took her to an immigration office near Bali’s international airport.
It’s at the airport where she was expected to reunite with her 6-year-old daughter, who was born while Mack was still incarcerated and has been living with a foster family in Indonesia since. Mack’s Indonesia-based attorney, Yulius Benyamin Seran, told Fox News Digital via email that his client and her daughter are scheduled to return to the U.S. on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
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Fox 32 Chicago is stationed at O’Hare International Airport Tuesday morning, though their exact arrival time is unknown.
Seran said Mack has already served her prison sentence and is now starting her “new life.” Mack has learned a lot about life while in prison and will dedicate her life to her daughter, according to the lawyer, who told Fox News Digital he hopes the government in Chicago protects Stella, an innocent child, and guarantees her the right to live out a normal life like other children.
Until she was freed on Friday, Mack had not seen her daughter for about 20 months because authorities halted prison visits during the coronavirus pandemic. Seran previously told The Associated Press that Mack had asked for the girl to remain with her foster family to avoid media attention in the U.S. However, Indonesian regulations refused.
“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.
Fox News Digital reached out to Mack’s U.S.-based attorney, Vanessa Favia, for comment Monday but did not immediately receive a response.
After being released, Mack stayed at an immigration detention center for four days while waiting for her flight tickets and travel documents to be ready. She was closely escorted by immigration officers to Bali’s airport for a flight to Jakarta.
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Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said she would fly from Jakarta to Chicago on Delta Air Lines. He said his office has asked the central government to ban Mack from Indonesia for life.
The body of Mack’s mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found inside the trunk of a taxi parked at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort on the touristy Indonesian island in August 2014. Heather Mack, who was almost 19 and a few weeks pregnant, and her then-21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were arrested a day later after they were found at a lower-scale hotel about 6 miles from the St. Regis.
Speaking exclusively with the New York Post after her release from Bali prison, Heather Mack said once back in Chicago, her daughter will continue to be educated remotely by the school she attended in Bali. Heather Mack was raised by her mother and father, famed jazz arranger conductor James L. Mack, in a $1.5 million Renaissance-style mansion in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago.
“I really miss my mom, and everything in Chicago will remind me of her,” Heather Mack said. “I’m sure it will be very confronting because I think of her every day and deeply regret what happened.”
Her father died of a pulmonary embolism during a 2006 family vacation in Athens, Greece, when Heather Mack was just 10. Heather Mack said a “seed of anger” was planted when her mother left her father’s corpse in an Athenian morgue and cruised off the Santorini to “drink wine by the sea and complain to friends that my dad died.” Heather Mack said she is still in touch with her father’s family in Texas whom she hopes will meet Stella one day.
“She remains blissfully unaware of the murder, which is as it should be for a child,” Heather Mack said. “I have told Stella that we are going on vacation, and she is prepared and excited for that.”
Police said the hotel’s CCTV showed the couple had argued with the girl’s mother in the lobby of the hotel shortly before the killing, which is alleged to have taken place inside a room in the hotel. Schaefer testified in court that von Wiese-Mack was angry at him when she learned about her daughter’s pregnancy. He said she insulted him and Mack, wanted her to get an abortion and strangled him in a heated argument before he struck her several times with a fruit bowl. Prosecutors said Heather Mack helped stuff her mother’s body in the suitcase by sitting on it to enable Schaefer to close it.
Later video from the corridor showed Heather Mack bringing a cart to move the suitcase and Schaefer carrying the suitcase to the cart. Video also showed the couple talking to a taxi driver. The two allegedly abandoned the suitcase in a taxi and left through the hotel’s back door.
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An Indonesian court sentenced Heather Mack to 10 years in prison for assisting Schaefer in her mother’s murder and stuffing the body in a suitcase. Schaefer received an 18-year sentence. Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were convicted in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell in Kerobokan female prison until she turned 2 years old, and Heather Mack gave custody of her young daughter to an Australian woman until her release from prison.
Heather Mack and her mother had a troubled relationship, with officials confirming police had been called to the family’s Oak Park, Illinois, home dozens of times. In 2016, Robert Bibbs, a cousin of Schaefer, pleaded guilty to helping to plan the killing in exchange for $50,000 that Heather Mack was expected to inherit and was sentenced the next year to nine years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.