Indonesia expels Chicago woman Heather Mack who helped kill her mother

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DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) – An American woman convicted of helping kill her mother on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali and stuffing the body into a suitcase was deported to the United States on Tuesday.

Heather Mack, 26, was released from prison on Friday after serving seven years and two months of a 10-year sentence. Her then boyfriend, who was also convicted of the murder, was sentenced to 18 years and remains in prison.

Immigration officials escorted her to Bali airport on Tuesday for a flight to Jakarta, from where she then left for Chicago.

The severely beaten body of her mother, wealthy Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack, was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi parked at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort in August 2014.

The murder has garnered national and international attention for years, in part because of the photographs in the suitcase which appeared too small to contain the body of an adult female.

Mack, who was almost 19 and a few weeks pregnant, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were arrested a day later after being found at a hotel about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the St. Regis. . .

Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before their sentencing in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell at Kerobokan Women’s Prison until she was 2 years old, when Mack gave custody of his young daughter to an Australian until she was released from prison.

Until his release on Friday, Mack had not seen his daughter for about 20 months as authorities halted prison visits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her lawyer, Yulius Benyamin Seran, said earlier that Mack asked the girl, who is now 6, to stay with her foster family to avoid media attention in the United States. Indonesian officials refused.

“Minors must be accompanied by their mother when their mother is deported. There is no policy that allows a mother to leave her minor child here, ”said Amrizal, head of Bali’s immigration office.

Mack’s sentence was shortened by a total of 34 months because of the reductions that are often given to prisoners on important holidays due to good behavior.

After her release, Mack remained in an immigrant detention center for four days while she waited for her plane tickets and travel documents to be ready.

She was closely escorted by immigration officers to the Bali airport for the flight to Jakarta.

Jamaruli Manihuruk, head of the Bali regional office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said his office had asked the central government to ban Mack from Indonesia for life.

Mack is said to have had a difficult relationship with his mother, with U.S. officials confirming that police have been called to the family home in Oak Park, Ill., Dozens of times.

Bali police said hotel surveillance cameras showed Mack and Schaefer had an argument with his mother in the hotel lobby shortly before the murder, which allegedly took place in a room in the hotel. ‘hotel.

Schaefer testified in court that von Wiese-Mack was angry with him when she learned of his daughter’s pregnancy. He said she insulted him and Mack that she wanted her to have an abortion and strangled him in a heated argument before he hit her several times with a bowl of fruit.

Prosecutors said Mack helped stuff his mother’s body into the suitcase by sitting on it to allow Schaefer to close it.

Subsequent video from the hallway showed Mack bringing a cart to move the suitcase and Schaefer carrying the suitcase to the cart. The video also showed the couple talking to a taxi driver. The two allegedly left the suitcase in a taxi and left through the back door of the hotel.

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