Heather Mack released from Bali prison after murdering mother on vacation in 2014

Liz Nagy Image
Friday, October 29, 2021
Heather Mack released from Bali prison
Heather Mack, who killed her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack in the 2014 "suitcase murder," has been released from Bali prison, CNN Indonesia reports.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Heather Mack, the Oak Park woman convicted of murdering her mother and stuffing her into a suitcase with the help of her boyfriend in 2014 during a family vacation, has been released from prison.

The Associated Press confirmed her release from the Bali prison.

Known as the "suitcase murder," Mack and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer ditched the suitcase carrying her mother's remains at the upscale St. Regis hotel. They told an Indonesian court the killing started with a fight when the couple told her mother that Mack was pregnant.

"She said she would kill the baby," Schaefer testified.

Then just 19 years old and visibly pregnant, an Indonesian judge showed mercy on Mack, sentencing to just 10 years in prison. It did not sit well with family friends.

Mack, now 26, has been released after seven years.

"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.

Upon her release, Mack can under Indonesian law be reunited with her daughter, who is now 6.

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.