Chicago woman in Indonesian prison may give baby to family

AP News
Posted: Jun 11, 2015 12:49 AM
Chicago woman in Indonesian prison may give baby to family

CHICAGO (AP) — An American woman convicted in her mother's death in Indonesia is considering having a local family raise her baby daughter until she is released from prison, her attorney said.

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, were convicted in April of killing Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, while vacationing last August on the resort island of Bali. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison for battering the woman to death and Mack to 10 years for helping.

Mack gave birth to Stella, the couple's baby girl, in March.

Mack's attorney Michael Elkin said that Stella currently lives with Mack in the prison but that she may have a local family care for her.

"She wants to do what's in the best interest of her child," Elkin told the Chicago Tribune. "She loves Stella very much and wants to ensure she is in the safest place possible."

Elkin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Mack is waiting for clarification on her conviction and sentencing guidelines before she decides what to do with Stella, adding that Mack's appeals process has not concluded.

"No final judgments are clearly present to assist Heather in deciding her wishes that the best interests of Stella are upheld," he said.

Of the people who have provided Mack with regular support is an Australian couple living in Indonesia, and they are the likely caregivers, Elkin said.

Mack has retained Chicago-area family law practitioner Vanessa Favia, who has advised Mack on her daughter's future and traveled to Bali, Elkin told the AP.

Mack said in a statement that she would never leave her daughter.

"Transition will take time, which I will need to start early, and if the decision to allow her to be taken care of by a good-hearted and respected family, here in Indonesia, she will have the best of both worlds by her seeing my love and consistent presence in her life while getting what she needs close to where I am," Mack said.

Von Wiese-Mack's badly battered body was found stuffed in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort. She reportedly did not approve of her daughter's relationship with Schaefer.


This story has been corrected to show that Elkin says Favia has been retained to advise Mack but was not assigned.