Heather Mack, the so-called Bali “suitcase killer” who spent years in an Indonesia prison for allegedly helping in the murder of Chicago socialite mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, at the luxury vacation destination, asked a judge to grant her release from jail and custody of her 7-year-old daughter while awaiting federal trial more than a year following her extradition back to the United States.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that Mack, 27, testified during a state court bench trial meant to determine the fate of her daughter, 7-year-old Estelle Schaefer, that she would like the girl to be in the care of Diana Roque Ellis of California if Oshar Suartama is not available. Suartama, an Australian woman married to an Indonesian man, helped raised Stella while Mack was in custody there for seven years.
Mack also testified before Cook County Judge Stephanie Miller that her intent would be to live with Ellis and the child if Mack is released from federal custody. Suartama spent the summer in the United States with Stella but was recently forced to return to Indonesia, according to the Sun Times.
This April 21, 2015, file photo shows Heather Mack of Chicago, Ill., 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)
“I do not believe that Diana would exploit Stella for money,” Mack told the judge. Mack and Ellis had previously been in talks with the TV production company P&L Media to produce a documentary “telling my side of the story,” she admitted, but added that she nor Ellis are any longer involved in a contract.
Stella is currently being cared for by Lisa Hellmann of Colorado. Hellmann’s mother is the murdered Wiese-Mack’s sister. She, therefore, is Heather Mack’s maternal cousin.
Mack requested that U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly allow her release before trial last week given Hellmann is the third caregiver for Ella since their return to the US.
This April 21, 2015 file photo shows Heather Mack of Chicago, Ill., mobbed by reporters as she arrives in the courtroom for her sentencing hearing at a district court in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)
Mack and the girl traveled together back to the United States in November 2021.
Upon landing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the FBI placed Mack under arrest as she’d been newly indicted on conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice charges for helping to stuff the body of her socialite mother into a suitcase at a ritzy Bali resort in an alleged plot to access her trust fund.
Heather Mack of Chicago, Ill., center, escorted by immigration officers to Immigration detention center in Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)
Mack and her ex-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were indicted in the Northern District of Illinois with one count of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, one count of conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a U.S. national, and one count of obstruction. Schaefer remains imprisoned in Indonesia.
Wiese-Mack’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase outside the St. Regis Bali Resort on Aug. 12, 2014.
Mack gave birth to her and Schaefer’s daughter during their 2015 trial in Indonesia. She spent seven years in custody in the southeast Asian country before finishing her sentence and being deported.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @danimwallace.