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

Michelle Gallardo Image
Friday, November 5, 2021
After Heather Mack's arrest, grandmother wants custody of daughter
After Heather Mack was arrested again after returning to Chicago from Bali, her daughter Stella's paternal grandmother Kia Walker wants custody.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Kia Walker will never forget the first time she held her newborn granddaughter.

"I flew in to Bali, Indonesia March 17 and just a couple of hours later, my granddaughter was born," she recalled.

Heather Mack's daughter Stella Schaefer was born just weeks before both her mother and father, Tommy Schaefer, were convicted of the 2014 murder of Sheila Von Wiese Mack in Bali. Initially raised behind bars and later with a foster mother in Indonesia, the now six-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."

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

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

In the federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, prosecutors allege Mack and Schaefer planned the murder while still in the U.S. before carrying out the plot in Bali.

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. Walker, is now suing to get visitation and permanent guardianship.

"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," she said.

But even as Mack's lawyer has vowed to fight any attempt to place the six-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," said Michael Goldberg, attorney.

"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.

An initial hearing to discuss Walkers emergency request for visitation rights is scheduled to take place early next week.