'Suitcase Killer' Arrested After Flying Back to US

Heather Mack faces federal charges in connection with mother's murder
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2021 6:17 PM CDT
Bali 'Suitcase Killer' Returns to US, Gets Arrested
In this Tuesday, April 21, 2015 photo, Heather Mack of Chicago, Ill., center, is escorted by police officers as she arrives in the courtroom for her sentencing hearing at a district court in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)

After seven years in an Indonesian prison, Heather Mack returned home to Chicago Wednesday—and was promptly arrested. The 26-year-old, who was released early from a 10-year sentence for helping then-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer kill her mother in Bali in 2014, now faces federal charges in the US connected to the murder, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. According to a 2017 indictment unsealed before Mack landed at O'Hare International Airport, Mack and Schaefer have been charged with conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a US national, and obstruction of justice, reports Fox. Schaefer is still serving an 18-year sentence in Indonesia.

According to the indictment, Mack and Schaefer plotted with Chicago man Robert Bibbs, a cousin of Schaefer's, to kill Mack's mother, wealthy socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack, the AP reports. Her body was found stuffed in a suitcase left in a Bali taxi. Bibbs, who was promised $50,000 from Mack's inheritance, pleaded guilty in 2016. Mack was freed from a Bali prison Friday and held in immigration custody until her flight to the US. Her Indonesian attorney, Yulius Benyamin Seran, told People that she was looking forward to starting a new life with Stella, the 6-year-old daughter born months after her arrest.

Brian Claypool, Mack’s US attorney, described the new charges as a "witch hunt" and said the conspiracy charge was covered in the Indonesian charges, per the AP. According to court records, a Cook County judge issued an emergency order appointing another Mack attorney, Vanessa Favia, as the guardian of Stella, who returned to the US with her mother. Mack pleaded not guilty to the federal charges at a hearing Wednesday afternoon. She was ordered to remain in custody until another hearing on Nov. 10. (More Heather Mack stories.)

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