American woman killed her mother in Bali to get $1.5 million - The hatred started in Santorini

mother Heather Mack and Sheila von Wiese-Mack

A young American woman who, along with her boyfriend, killed her mother and hid the body in a suitcase during their vacation in Bali, Indonesia, in 2014 was found guilty by a Chicago court.

The sentence of 26 years for Heather Mack for the murder of her mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack hides a story of hatred and revenge from a girl who had just come of age.

Before announcing Mack's sentence, the judge said it was a "brutal premediated" crime. Prosecutors allege Mack killed her mother to gain access to her $1.5 million trust fund, which Mack has denied.

The court heard a lot about the strained relationship between mother and daughter but also about an incident in Greece that changed the course of their relationship for the worse.

The prosecutors judged, for their part, that the young woman showed no remorse and that, of course, she did everything she could to hide the crime.

Troubled childhood

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The Mack Family

Heather Mack is the daughter of jazz and classical music composer James Mack and Sheila von Wiese-Mack, a woman who had a love for reading and classical music. They lived in an expensive Chicago neighbourhood, a privileged life.

The defendant's attorneys argued that Mack suffered frequent domestic abuse and violence as a child. At a very young age, she witnessed her mother being physically abused by her father.

Later, when she was five when, her father was paralysed. From the waist down, her mother taunted and abused her father.

According to the Chicago Tribune, police visited their home more or less 86 times between 2004 and 2013.

The newspaper adds that police reports from 2008 to 2013 showed that Mack physically abused her mother - biting and violently pushing her - while also allegedly stealing money from her.

Mack, still a child, took care of her father more by herself when he developed colon cancer, resulting in disagreements with her mother.

Finally, Mack died in 2006 during a family holiday in Santorini when Heather was ten years old. Heather said she wanted to return home, but her mother decided to continue the journey, her lawyers said.

That trip, Heather later said, sowed the seeds of anger toward her mother—an anger that never stopped.

Murder on Paradise Island

In 2014, Heather Mack and her mother vacationed in Bali. The hatred of the 18-year-old girl, who was pregnant with the child of her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, had not subsided at all.

She even planned the murder with Schaefer for a long time while using her mother's credit card to secretly book an expensive plane ticket for Schaefer to come to Indonesia.

On August 12, 2014, the young couple were certain that the time for the murder had arrived. The two exchanged text messages with coded references to the murder and referred to each other as "Bonnie and Clyde".

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Sheila von Wiese-Mack

They surprised the 62-year-old woman who was in bed and brutally beat her. Heather was hitting her mother in the head and face, leading to her death.

The medical examiner showed that the woman suffocated after repeated blows to her face, which broke her nasal bone and jawbone, closing her airway. Finally, they dismembered the body, hid it in a suitcase and left it outside St. Regis Bali Resort.

The girl was arrested in Indonesia, where she served a seven-year sentence. There, she gave birth to her daughter, Stella, who lives with the Von Wiese-Mack family today. Schaefer is also in prison in Indonesia, serving an 18-year sentence.

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Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer

At times, Mac had given different explanations for what had happened to her mother. In a series of YouTube videos in 2017, Mack even confessed to the murder and appeared to exonerate her boyfriend.

Heather Mack was eventually deported to the United States in 2021 but was re-arrested on charges of "aiding and abetting the commission of premeditated murder."

In June 2023, she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison.

Mack suffered abuse and violence from her mother, as well as her boyfriend, her lawyers said at trial.

They noted that the purpose of the trial was not to examine the mother-daughter relationship but to decide how much prison time Mack should serve in the US, given the time she served in Indonesia.

In addition to the felony sentence, the court ordered her to pay $262,708 in restitution to her mother's estate and a $50,000 fine. The sentence was stiffer than what her legal team had asked for, which was 15 years, minus the seven she already served in Indonesia.

She is ultimately expected to spend about 20 years in prison after time served in federal prison is deducted from her sentence. However, she will be eligible for further reductions in her sentence if she shows good behaviour, but this is expected to happen around in 2043.

READ MORE: The position of Greece on the world map of murders.

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