California woman who claims to be family friend wants custody of Heather Mack's daughter

Heather Mack found guilty of killing mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack of Oak Park

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, February 21, 2022
Alleged family friend wants custody of Heather Mack's daughter
Mack was found guilty and served time for killing her mother from Oak Park and stuffing the woman's body in a suitcase in Bali.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A California woman wants to raise the child of convicted killer Heather Mack.

An Indonesian court found Mack and her boyfriend guilty of killing her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, who was from Oak Park.

Diana Roque Ellis said she was Mack's mother's best friend, and considered an "aunt" by Mack.

Mack is reportedly in prison in Chicago, facing federal charges.

Her child, Stella, is now 6 years old.

The girl's paternal grandmother, Kia Walker, said late last year she would sue to get visitation and permanent guardianship.

RELATED: Oak Park woman convicted of killing mother, stuffing body in suitcase arrested at O'Hare

Mack's daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born just weeks before both her mother and father, Tommy Schaefer, were convicted of the 2014 murder in Bali.

Initially raised behind bars and later with a foster mother in Indonesia, the now 6-year-old's relationship with her paternal grandmother has been entirely through a screen.

"We like to draw each other," Walker said. "The last time I drew her was a couple of months ago. She had extensions in her hair, and I thought that was really fun and funny."

SEE MORE: Kia Walker wants custody of granddaughter after Heather Mack arrested again in mother's murder

Mack and Schaefer now face federal charges of conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors allege Mack and Schaefer planned the murder while still in the U.S. before carrying out the plot in Bali, which included stuffing the body in a suitcase.

With Mack back in the United States and once again behind bars, and Schaefer still serving out his sentence in Indonesia, a judge has given temporary care of the little girl to a third party.

"My opinion has not mattered. And her father's opinion has not mattered. That was a hard realization. She's not in my care. And I have no control. No control. I can only get what's given," Walker said.

RELATED: Heather Mack remains in jail after hearing, next court date in 2022

But even as Mack's lawyer has vowed to fight any attempt to place the 6-year-old with her grandmother, Walker's attorney said she's well within her rights to do so.

"We're not asking for any money from the trust. We're just wanting to have guardianship and/or visitation with Stella," attorney Michael Goldberg said.

"Here's my opportunity, being on U.S. soil, you know. I am a grandmother. I am the next of kin. I do have some rights now. I can at least ask," Walker said.