An Oak Park woman convicted of helping her boyfriend in her mother’s murder and stuffing the body in a suitcase during a vacation in Bali reportedly plans to return to Chicago when she’s deported next week after being released early from an Indonesian prison due to “good behavior.”
Heather Mack, 26, told the New York Post Friday that she plans to move back to the Chicago area with her 6-year-old daughter, who was born during the 2015 trial and has been in foster care in Bali since. She noted that her arrival in Chicago will be “very confronting.”
“I really miss my mom, and everything in Chicago will remind me of her,” Mack told the New York outlet. “I’m sure it will be very confronting because I think of her every day and deeply regret what happened.”
Mack served about seven years of a 10-year sentence for helping her then-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, kill Sheila Von Wiese-Mack in an apparent attempt to enrich themselves with the proceeds of her mother’s $1.5 million estate.
The slaying generated international headlines after von Wiese-Mack’s body was discovered in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi parked near the St. Regis Bali Resort in August 2014.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported a year later that it had also led to an investigation by U.S. authorities.
Federal prosecutors have said von Wiese-Mack was bludgeoned to death with the metal handle of a fruit stand. The socialite’s body was later found in the suitcase put in the cab by Mack and Schaefer.
Mack and Schaefer were detained in August 2014 and convicted in April 2015. Schaefer received an 18-year sentence for beating von Wiese-Mack to death.
In 2016, Schaefer’s cousin, Robert Bibbs, pleaded guilty to helping plan the killing in exchange for part of Mack’s inheritance, and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Mack didn’t say who she and her daughter would be staying with in Chicago, though she told the New York Post that several of her friends “have been supportive,” sending her photos of special events, with messages like “Wish you were here.”
Mack also said she’s been in contact with her father’s side of the family in Texas, and hopes to introduce them to her daughter, Stella.
“She remains blissfully unaware of the murder, which is as it should be for a child,” Mack told the Post.
Mack’s father, James L. Mack, was the highly regarded jazz and classical composer James Mack, who died at age 76 in 2006.
As for her plans, Mack said “adjusting to life outside of prison is my next step. Little things like going to the grocery store, the park, and the swimming pool with Stella will be wonderful.”