Heather Mack released from Bali prison after murder of mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack in 2014

ByLiz Nagy and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Friday, October 29, 2021
Heather Mack released from Bali prison
Heather Mack has been released from a Bali prison after serving her 7 years for the murder of her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack in 2014.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Heather Mack, a former Oak Park woman convicted in the brutal murder of her own mother, has been released from a prison in Indonesia.

Known as 'the suitcase murder," Mack's case gained international attention in 2014.

Mack was just 19 years old and pregnant when she was convicted of murdering her mother,

While on vacation in 2014, Mack and her then boyfriend Tommy Schaefer stuffed her mother's beaten body inside a blood-stained suitcase and ditched it at a Bali resort.

The couple told an Indonesian court it started as a fight when they told her mother, Sheila Von Wiese Mack, that Heather was pregnant.

An Indonesian judge showed mercy on Heather, sentencing her to just 10 years in prison. Mack, now 26, has only served seven years of that abbreviated sentence.

"The early release was the decision made by the Indonesian authorities, and their stated reason was that it was related to Independence Day when they apparently routinely will provide early release, and that she was well behaved as a prisoner," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer.

Mack's daughter Stella lived her first year in prison with her before being sent to an Indonesian foster family.

"She doesn't seem to be in an enormous rush to get back the United States because I think, according to her own statement, she fears the reaction that will engender and the reception that her daughter will receive when they come back," Soffer said.

According to the Associated Press, upon her release, Heather can now be reunited with her daughter.

But her Indonesian attorney, Yulius Benyamin Seran, has said earlier that Mack, who has not seen the little girl for about 20 months because authorities halted prison visits during the coronavirus pandemic, had asked Indonesian authorities to let the girl remain with her foster family to avoid media attention.

Under Indonesian law, a deported foreigner will be rejected entry to Indonesia up to a maximum six months.