A tragic death of a loved one is traumatic for the people they leave behind.  But enough to cause a daughter to viciously abuse her mother and later kill her? This is what Heather Mack did alongside her boyfriend. What’s worse they stuffed her mother’s body in a suitcase hoping to inherit her money. 

Before Bali

Heather Mack was born to famous composer James Mack and Sheila von Weise-Mack. The family was picture perfect until James Mack died on August 6, 2006, in Athens, Greece. After his death, this is when the tension between mother and daughter began.   

Family Issues 

The police were constantly at the Mack house due to issues between Sheila and Heather. Sheila’s siblings said in an interview that Heather would be physically and mentally abusive towards her mom.  Sheila’s friend Elliot Jacobson would provide the Chicago Tribune over 150 emails from Sheila that shows a history of the toxic relationship with Heather. In the emails, Sheila describes fearing for her safety.

Some of the accusations are that Heather locked her mother in a closet, was physically abusive, and stole thousands of dollars from her.  It is even said in the police reports that Heather once punched her mother in her broken ankle. Also, that she broke her mother’s arm. Even with this behavior, Sheila did not want to press charges or admit her daughter in a mental health institution.  It is very typical of someone who is suffering abuse in the hands of a loved one. Heather’s behavior continued getting worse, and she also started skipping school, posting nude photos o herself, and cursing other adults like her teachers. 

Sheila decides to go with Heather to Bali to try and mend the broken relationship between the two.  Things go sour when Tommy Schaefer appears, and Sheila finds out that Heather brought him to Bali with her credit card without knowing. Hotel guests later will tell police that they had seen the mother, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend arguing in the lobby. 

Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s Murder

Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer stabbed Sheila von Wiese-Mack to death.  They stuffed her body into a suitcase and placed it in the trunk of a taxi outside of the St. Regis hotel that they were staying at.  When the suitcase was found and opened up, Sheila’s body was discovered. The police quickly arrested Heather and Tommy. 

At first, the couple insisted that a gang came into the room and killed Sheila while they escaped. 

Heather Mack Convicted

In August 2014, Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer were found guilty of murdering her mother Sheila.  Heather got ten years in prison and Tommy got 18 years. A cousin of Tommy Schaefer is also arrested due to charges that he conspired with Heather and Tommy to kill Sheila.  He pleads guilty and receives nine years. 

Even with the cousin’s arrest and released text messages showing the two plotting Sheila’s murder and calling themselves Bonnie and Clyde, Heather and Tommy insist that it was self-defense with Tommy saying that Sheila was strangling him.  

Heather Mack seems to be having a fun time in jail.  Tommy even accused her that she spends all of her money on drinks and drugs.  She is also having sex with other female inmates while the baby is next to her. Heather seems to have access to a mobile phone where she shares pictures and even posts videos on YouTube.  There are pictures and videos of her laughing and dancing around with inmates. In one YouTube video, she confesses that she killed her mom alone and Tommy was just helping her cover up the crime.  This was different than her statement when she was arrested that Tommy killed her mom, and she was the one who was helping him cover it up. Later, Mack and her lawyer would release a statement saying that the YouTube confession was a lie and it was due to Schaefer pressuring her in letters to do so. 


In 2018, the dispute with Heather Mack inheriting her parents’ $1.56 million was finally resolved.  Money had been used to fund Mack’s defense attorneys. This was approved by the court. Heather tried getting access to more money that, but a judge rejected the request. Due to all the court battles, the inheritance is now half what it was. The decision was made that it would be inherited by Heather’s three-year-old daughter Stella. Heather’s daughter remained in prison with her until she was two years old, which is an Indonesian custom. Stella is now being raised by a local Indonesian family until Heather is released.  

Sheila von Wiese-Mack’s brother, who was the trustee said, “My goal from Day 1 was to resolve this case and save as much money as possible for Stella.  While I wish it could have been sooner, I’m glad it is finally resolved.” 

I have to admit that this case really upset me when I first heard about this case, I couldn’t believe that Heather only got 10 years. You like Gypsy rose killed her mother, but I, you know, her mother was basically slowly killing her and was very abusive towards her. On the flip side, this girl was the one being physically abusive towards her mom’s stealing her mother’s money and then to sit there and only get 10 years. And what’s even worse is that in prison she’s drinking, partying and doing all the things that she shouldn’t be doing. So as you can tell from the passion in my voice, this angered me and also the fact that she’s now getting out of jail. I really do hope that the inheritance that her daughter got, I hope that there is something in there that you know she inherits when she’s 30 or something because I could just see this girl just basically using her daughter in order to get the money and she really doesn’t deserve anything so you know, this is how I feel and I would love to know how you feel.

Heather Mack murdered her mother with her boyfriend and then stuffed the body in a suitcase.