The Sinister Reason Why They Call Heather Mack the “Suitcase Killer”

Screenshot: Chronicle Illinois
Screenshot: Chronicle Illinois

In 2014, the world was shaken by a peculiar image circulating the news: a silver suitcase that had been pulled from a black garbage bag with blood smears all over it. Authorities would later confirm that inside contained the remains of a full grown woman who was allegedly murdered by her daughter.

Heather Mack, a Chicago teenager, had just inherited her late father’s entire estate following a settlement in 2011, per The Chicago Tribune. At that time, tension between Heather Mack and her mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, had brewed into a series of domestic violence incidents, per NBC Chicago. By 2013, the police had been called 86 times to their home on reports of Mack seriously injuring her mother and stealing her money. However, no charges were ever filed.

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Police say Heather Mack and Her mom Von Wiese-Mack checked into the St. Regis Hotel. Upon landing, investigators say Mack stole her mother’s credit card to book Mr. Schaefer a business class flight to the location. Schaefer claimed he wanted to tell Von Weise-Mack in person about the pregnancy, investigators said.

However, those plans were interrupted by a heinous act.

On the evening August 7, 2014, hotel surveillance footage showed Von Wiese-Mack arguing with Schaefer. Following that, police say he took a metallic fruit bowl and bludgeoned her to death in the hotel room by Heather Mack’s instruction. He then stuffed her body into the suitcase and the couple ditched the luggage in the back of a taxi. However, security guards discovered the blood on the suitcase and reported it to the police.

A Bonnie & Clyde Plot

Photo: Agung Parameswara (Getty Images)
Photo: Agung Parameswara (Getty Images)

Initially, the couple told authorities that Von Wiese-Mack had been murdered by robbers. However, Schaefer admitted to killing her and Heather Mack admitted to helping discard her body. The two were charged by Indonesian authorities with premeditated murder. Heather was sentenced to 10 years and her boyfriend, 18 years.

After Schaefer’s cousin in Chicago was arrested on conspiracy charges that Heather had offered him a bribe to kill her mother, the cousin then admitted to helping the couple figure out how to carry out the plot overseas, According to the The Independent.

In text messages also revealed that the two had a Bonnie and Clyde plot to obtain the wealth from Mack’s father’s estate and a $1.6 million trust fund from her mother, who Heather called a witch.

The Aftermath

Photo: Agung Parameswara (Getty Images)
Photo: Agung Parameswara (Getty Images)

Heather Mack gave birth to her daughter in prison. She raised her behind bars for two years. By 2021, pictures circulated on social media of Heather seemingly living her best life, posting pictures of her and her daughter and new international life.

However, her staycation was cut short when she was extradited back to the U.S. and separated from her daughter the moment she landed at the Chicago airport, police say. She remained in jail until she was sentenced to 26 years on a charge of federal conspiracy to kill a U.S. national, According to the Associated Press.

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