Former Oak Park resident Heather Mack has been released from prison in Indonesia, where she was serving a term of 10 years for helping to carry out the murder of her socialite mother Sheila von Wiese Mack in 2014. Mack served seven years of the term.
The gruesome murder put Mack, and by extension Oak Park, in the international spotlight after she and her then boyfriend Tommy Schaefer stuffed von Wiese Mack’s badly beaten body into a suitcase while the three were vacationing at the St. Regis resort in Bali. At the time of her conviction, Mack was 19 years old and pregnant with Schaefer’s child. The death of her mother landed Mack the nickname “suitcase murderer.”
Schaefer, then 21, received an 18-year prison sentence for his role in von Wiese Mack’s death. He testified during Mack’s trial that he had beaten her mother with a metal fruit bowl, claiming that the murdered woman had threatened to kill their unborn child. His cousin, Robert Bibbs, pleaded guilty in 2016 to helping plot the murder and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The couple’s daughter Stella lived with Mack in prison during the first year of her life before being transferred into the care of an Australian woman married to a Balinese man. The Associated Press reported that the woman, Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, was among friends seen welcoming Mack outside Kerobokan Female Prison.
According to the AP, Mack made no comment to reporters other than to say, “Oh my God… you’re insane!”
While she now faces deportation, it is unclear if she plans to return to Oak Park. Mack’s stateside attorney Vanessa Favia declined requests for comment.