The American woman who stuffed her murdered mother’s corpse into a suitcase at a Bali hotel, has voiced fears for her daughter who was born in prison as she nears her release date.
‘I am fearful and nervous of returning to Chicago. I’m not worried about the idea that people cannot understand the tragedy for my sake. But I’m nervous for [my daughter] Stella,’ Heather Mack, 25, told The New York Post.
‘I’m scared that if she comes back to the States with me, she will be exposed to what happened.’
Stella, 6, was born in prison while her parents, Mack and then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, went on trial for killing Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack in August 2014.
The child has been in the care of a foster family in Bali since she was two.
Heather Mack (left), the American woman who stuffed her murdered mother’s corpse into a suitcase at a Bali hotel, has voiced fears for her daughter Stella, now 6, (right) as she nears her release from prison
Mack (left) gave birth to Stella while incarcerated for the murder of her mother, Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack (right)
Stella has been shielded from the reasoning behind her parents’ imprisonment and Mack wants it to remain that way.
‘I do not want anyone shoving a camera into Stella’s face. I know that it will happen to me but I will do my best to protect Stella from that trauma,’ Mack explained.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced last week that Mack will be released in October, nearly three years early, for good behavior.
Mack will be deported immediately to the United States, however, she is considering leaving Stella with her foster family.
‘I could not have wished for a better family to raise her,’ Mack told the news outlet.
‘However, it’s hard not being with her, particularly when she is sick or for important moments like graduating kindergarten.’
Mack’s then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer (pictured holding Stella), who is also the father of her child, was sentenced in the murder as well
Mack (pictured holding baby Stella) says her daughter is unaware of why her parents are in prison. She fears if she brings Stella to the U.S. she ‘will be exposed to what happened’
Mack has not seen Stella since March 2020 when authorities stopped prison visits because of the coronavirus pandemic. She had limited visitation due to her imprisonment before that.
‘Out of seven years in jail, the hardest part has been the past 18 months because I have not seen Stella,’ Mack said. ‘Video-calling Stella three times a week from the prison phone is my only option. I’m grateful I can do that.’
Mack and Schaefer were convicted in 2014 of killing Mack’s millionaire mother at a five-star Bali hotel and stuffing her broken body into a suitcase as they tried to flee.
They claimed 62-year-old von Wiese-Mack became violent after Mack, then 18, revealed she was pregnant and Schaefer, then 21, lashed out to defend himself.
The then-couple was caught when a taxi driver noticed blood seeping out of the suitcase which contained von Wiese-Mack’s body. The driver alerted police and the couple was arrested at a nearby budget motel.
Both were found guilty of first-degree murdere and incarcerated at Bali’s Kerobokan prison. Mack was sentenced to 10 years and Schaefer to 18.
In a 2019 interview with DailyMailTV (below), Mack said: ‘I never want to go back home to Chicago,’ noting that she was ‘more Indonesian than American now’.
She reportedly learned to speak the Indonesian language and mastered the local Bahasa Balinese dialect. She claims to have significantly changed in prison.
‘I have learned things about myself that I didn’t even know before. I like to make people laugh, and I know how to put other people before myself. I do this to the point of stupidity,’ Mack told the Post.
‘I think that I am kind, and I have become a peacemaker in the jail, which is a strange thing for a murderer to say.’
Mack also notes that Stella has grown up in Bali and has a good life in the country.
‘My daughter is more Indonesian than American. She has a good life here,’ Mack told DailyMailTV in 2019.
‘The people are nicer and it’s better and safer than back home. Back there I was getting in with a bad crowd. It’s violent, there are guns, drugs. To be honest I’m glad not to be there. It’s actually better and safer here in prison.’
Mack, who signed von Wiese-Mack’s $1.56 million estate over to Stella in 2018, will return to her hometown of Chicago later this year with nothing more than her clothing. She is expected to stay with a friend.
She has previously said that even if she was extradited to the U.S., she would returned to Bali with Stella.
As for her mother’s murder, Mack said: ‘I am … disgusted with myself just as much as anyone else is.’