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Bali 'suitcase murder' accomplice arrested in US after return

Bali 'suitcase murder' accomplice arrested in US after return

Heather Mack (C) of the US is escorted by Immigration guards to the immigration detention house in Jimbaran, on the resort island of Bali on Oct 29, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka)

WASHINGTON: A Chicago woman who spent seven years jailed in Bali for helping kill her mother at a luxury hotel was arrested on Wednesday (Nov 3) upon her return from Indonesia, the Justice Department said.

Heather Mack, 26, was taken into custody when she arrived at Chicago's O'Hare airport after being freed early on good behavior from a Bali prison where she had been sentenced to 10 years for the 2014 murder.

She was convicted in 2015 for working with her boyfriend to kill her mother while they were on vacation on the Indonesian island and then stuffing the body into a suitcase that they left in a taxi.

Deported from Indonesia, she has been indicted for the same crime in US court on charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a US national and obstruction, the Justice Department said.

Mack was a pregnant teenager when she, her boyfriend and a US-based cousin allegedly conspired to kill her Chicago socialite mother Sheila von Wiese Mack while on vacation in Bali.

The boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, beat the 62-year-old victim to death with a fruit bowl during an argument at the five-star St Regis Hotel in the Nusa Dua resort town.

According to interviews she gave, Mack had regularly fought with her mother and the two were in a court battle over a US$1.6 million inheritance.

Schaefer confessed to the killing during his trial but claimed he was defending himself during an argument with von Wiese Mack, who was unhappy that her daughter was pregnant.

During the attack, Mack hid in a bathroom but later helped Schaefer stuff the body into a suitcase, the trial heard.

She was sentenced by an Indonesian court to 10 years in prison, where she gave birth to a daughter.

Schaefer, the father of the child, was given an 18 year sentence.

Mack's cousin, Ryan Bibbs, pleaded guilty in December 2016 in federal court in Chicago to giving her advice on how to kill von Weise Mack, the Justice Department said.

It was not clear if Mack, who is now fluent in Indonesian and Balinese, returned to the United States with her daughter.

Mack's lawyer had told AFP the young woman did not want her daughter to be deported and "hounded by the (US) media".

But the lawyer also said on Tuesday before Mack left Bali that she said she was happy to start a new life in the US with the child.

Source: AFP/ec

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