A Chicago woman who served more than seven years in an Indonesian prison for killing her mother at a luxury resort on the island of Bali has been indicted on murder conspiracy charges in the United States and taken into federal custody. YouTube Tips ⓘ
CHICAGO — An Oak Park resident, Heather Mack, was arrested after federal authorities boarded her aircraft at O’Hare International Airport today, Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Heather Mack was arrested on federal charges for allegedly conspiring with her boyfriend to murder her mother at an Indonesian resort in 2014.
An indictment returned in 2017 and unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges Heather L. Mack, 26, and Tommy E. Schaefer, 28, of Chicago, with conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice. The indictment accuses Mack and Schaefer of conspiring in Chicago and Indonesia to carry out the murder of Mack’s mother, Sheila A. Von Wiese, a U.S. citizen from Illinois. The charges allege that Mack and Schaefer killed Von Wiese in a hotel room at the St. Regis Bali resort on August 12, 2014, and then placed the body in a suitcase and loaded it into the trunk of a taxicab.
An Indonesian court in 2015 convicted and imprisoned Mack and Schaefer on local charges related to Von Wiese’s murder. Mack was released last week from an Indonesian prison, and then Heather Mack and her daughter were deported from Indonesia. She was arrested today by U.S. authorities at O’Hare International Airport upon her return to the United States. The US Attorney’s Office Northern Illinois District, said her arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled, but Mack was scheduled to make her first court appearance this afternoon at the Dirksen Federal Building..
Tommy Schaefer remains imprisoned in Indonesia, serving an 18-year prison sentence.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kenneth A. Polite, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Indonesian law enforcement and immigration authorities provided valuable assistance. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry M. Kinney of the Northern District of Illinois, and Frank Rangoussis, Trial Attorney of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.
The U.S. investigation previously resulted in charges against Schaefer’s cousin, Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs, also known as “Ryan Bibbs,” of Chicago. Bibbs pleaded guilty in 2016 to a murder conspiracy charge, stating in a plea agreement that he was aware of the couple’s plot to carry out Von Wiese’s murder and that he counseled Schaefer on how to get away with it. Bibbs was sentenced in 2017 to nine years in federal prison.
Heather Mack is daughter of the late jazz musician James Mack, who taught some of the original members of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and whose original compositions and orchestral and horn arrangements were used by soul and jazz luminaries like Ramsey Lewis, Tyrone Davis and Nancy Wilson, and more, according to a Mark Guarino report for The Guardian.
On public record, there is a history of at least 7 or 8 years of conflict between Heather Mack and her mother Sheila A. Von Wiese that occurred after the death of James Mack.
James Mack died from a pulmonary embolism in Athens, Greece during a vacation in 2006 at the age of 76, leaving behind his widow Sheila von Wiese-Mack, who was 54, and their daughter Heather, who was 10. After the death of James Mack, there were problems at their Oak Park home with multiple police calls involving domestic disputes and domestic violence. Heather dropped out of high school and lived in two different facilities for minors in the Cook County juvenile court system.
Later Heather Mack would accuse her mother of misleading the court regarding a large settlement for a medical liability lawsuit for a foot injury suffered by James Back in 2001. The lawsuit was settled in 2011 after James Mack’s death.
Just before the killing of Sheila A. Von Wiese, there was conflict between mother and daughter over Heather’s boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, who was also known as Rapper Tommy EXX. Shelia didn’t approve of the relationship, and she attempted to keep her daughter and Tommy Schaeffer apart.
Brian Claypool has been Heather Mack’s attorney for the past five years. Kia Walker, Tommy Schaeffer’s mother is attempting to gain custody of her granddaughter.
See also …
The Guardian | Woman accused of Bali suitcase murder had troubled family life in Chicago
Chicago Tribune | James L. Mack: 1929 – 2006
Chicago Tribune | Heather Mack’s mother wanted her to get abortion, lawyer says
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Bali ‘suitcase killer’ Heather Mack granted early release from prison and deported to the United States. YouTube Tips ⓘ
An American woman already convicted of helping to kill her mother on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali and stuff the body into a suitcase was deported Tuesday to the United States, and could face similar charges again. YouTube Tips ⓘ