FBI could arrest Heather Mack again as Chicago ‘suitcase killer’ returns from Bali with daughter, lawyer says
FBI could arrest Heather Mack, who spent seven years in Indonesian prison for assisting in the murder of her mother in 2014, helping her boyfriend stuff the body into a suitcase at a Bali hotel, on her scheduled return to the States – United on an arrival flight. at a Chicago airport on Wednesday, his attorney said.
One of Mack’s US-based lawyers Brian Claypool told Fox News Digital he participated in an emergency custody hearing on Tuesday to prevent federal agents from separating Mack from his 6-year-old daughter , Stella, at the airport. He is fighting to at least allow the child to stay with Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, an Australian married to a Balinese who has been Stella’s adoptive mother for the past five years while Mack was still incarcerated. The FBI plans to have child protection services on hold at the airport on Wednesday morning, Claypool said.
US federal authorities have since intervened to escort Heather Mack and Stella back to Chicago, Claypool said. Mack, Stella and the adoptive mother will take a flight together from South Korea that was scheduled to arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
BALI ‘SUITCASE KILLER’ WILL RETURN TO CHICAGO FROM INDONESIA WITH DAUGHTER
Upon landing, Mack could be questioned for up to 24 hours in the absence of his lawyer or could be served with an arrest warrant for conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the murder of his mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, Claypool said. The FBI referred Fox News Digital to the Illinois District Attorney’s Office. Federal prosecutors did not immediately return a request for comment sent on Tuesday.
“The deafening silence of the FBI is unnecessary, traumatic and borders on constitutional violations. They are playing Russian roulette with the life of a 6-year-old,” Claypool said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Once in the foster care system in Cook County, the trauma imposed on Stella will be profound and change her life. Stella will be with complete strangers in a new city, not to mention a new country.”
Mack’s legal team convinced a Cook County judge on Tuesday to place Stella in the temporary custody of a citizen of his choice if Mack was arrested, Fox 32 Chicago reported. Claypool told Fox News Digital he had a plan in place until a few days ago for Heather, Oshar and Stella to stay in Los Angeles with a woman named Diana Laroque, as Stella would continue her virtual apprenticeship at the school she was attending while she was living in Indonesia. The Chicago Tribune reported that the FBI ordered Mack to return to Chicago instead of Los Angeles as she initially planned.
âThey are inseparable. Stella loves Oshar like her own mother,â Claypool told Fox News Digital via email. “The actions of the US attorney and the FBI could jeopardize Stella’s stable and loving home. As Heather’s attorney, no one contacted me to find out why federal law enforcement hijacked Heather. and Stella. She and Stella have a constitutional right to No arrest warrant has been served on Heather by US law enforcement, so why is she being escorted to Chicago? “
What will happen between Mack and federal authorities when she gets off the plane remains to be seen, but von Wiese-Mack’s brother recently said DailyMail.com that her niece’s 10-year sentence for her sister’s murder was “a joke” because Heather Mack should have served almost 40 years.
The body of von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in the trunk of a parked taxi at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort on the Indonesian tourist island in August 2014. Heather Mack, who was almost 19 years old and was a few weeks pregnant, and her then-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, then 21, was arrested a day later after being found in a smaller hotel about 6 miles from the St. Regis. .
Schaefer testified in court that von Wiese-Mack was angry with him when she learned of his daughter’s pregnancy. He said she insulted him and Mack that she wanted her to have an abortion and strangled him in a heated argument before he hit her several times with a bowl of fruit. Prosecutors said Mack helped stuff his mother’s body into the suitcase by sitting on it to allow Schaefer to close it.
Kia Walker, who is Schaefer’s mother, and therefore Stella’s paternal grandmother, is also fighting for custody of the girl upon her return to the United States.
“She’s going to be fighting in court to see that she’s able to spend time with Stella and be an important part of her life like any grandparent would like,” Fox 32 told the Walker’s lawyer, Mike Goldberg.
Mack was released from Kerobokan Women’s Prison in Bali’s provincial capital Denpasar on Friday, where she served seven years of her 10-year sentence after being granted early release in August for good behavior. She was taken to an immigration office near Bali International Airport, where she was to be reunited with her daughter, whom she had not seen for 20 months. After days of waiting for her plane tickets and travel documents to be ready, she was then closely escorted by immigration officials to Bali airport for a flight to Jakarta.
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Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were sentenced in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell at Kerobokan Women’s Prison until age 2, and Heather Mack gave him custody. young Australian girl until her release from prison.
Two years after Mack’s conviction in Indonesia, the FBI filed a search warrant in January 2017 to extract information from Mack’s cell phone as part of its ongoing investigation into a possible plot to assassinate his. Chicago socialite mother so Mack could access a $ 1.5 million trust fund. after the death in 2006 of his father, the famous jazz conductor James L. Mack.
Meanwhile, Schaefer’s cousin Robert Bibbs has been charged with the murder plot after federal investigators learned of his involvement by analyzing messages from Schaefer’s phone. In 2016, Bibbs pleaded guilty to helping plan the murder in exchange for $ 50,000 Mack was to inherit and is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Michigan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.