true crime

The story behind the Heather Mack murder case, and her chilling confession.

In 2014, a woman’s battered body was found stuffed into a suitcase on the Indonesian holiday Island of Bali.

Two people were arrested over the crime: the 62-year-old’s teenage daughter, Heather Mack, and her then-partner, Tommy Schaefer.

It was he who claimed to have killed Sheila von Wiese-Mack in a hotel room using the metal handle of a fruit bowl, it was he who was sentenced to 18 years in Bali’s notorious Korobokan prison.

But now Mack, who is serving 10 years and gave birth while behind bars, has posted a series of videos to YouTube in which she appears to confess to the crime.

Here’s how this bizarre case has unfolded.

Heather Mack behind bars in Kerobokan prison. Image: Getty.

The crime.

Taking a luxurious holiday together, 19-year-old Mack and her mother checked into Bali's St Regis resort on August 4, 2014, where they were joined by Schaefer seven days later.

The trio were due to leave on the 14th, but the young couple checked out two days early, carrying a large suitcase wrapped in a bed sheet, Denpasar Police Chief Djoko Hariutomo told Fairfax Media at the time. Staff offered to assist them with the luggage, but the pair refused and loaded the case into the boot of a pre-booked taxi.

They returned to the lobby and told staff Mrs von Wiese-Mack would pay the bill when she checked out later and requested to open her safety deposit box. Staff refused, and the couple said they would return to the room to fetch more bags.


Instead, Djoko said, they exited via a rear entrance and got another taxi, bound for Ngurah Rai airport.

After an hour waiting outside the hotel for the couple to return, the taxi driver opened the boot to unload the abandoned suitcase. The sheet enveloping it was now soaked in blood.

The punishment.

Without their passports, Mack and Schaefer were never going to get far. Turned away from the immigration desk, they went to a nearby hotel. It was there, after police issued an alert to taxi companies and hotels, that the pair were arrested at 8:30am the following morning.

Mack and Schaefer were convicted in April 2015 of the murder of von Wiese-Mack and sentenced to prison.

While behind bars Mack gave birth to her daughter, Stella, who will remain in her care until she turns two next month.

Heather Mack has raised her daughter behind bars. Image: Getty.

The confession.

On Monday, The Chicago Tribune uncovered three videos posted to YouTube by Mack on Thursday with the title, "Confession".

Staring straight into the camera, the imprisoned woman argued that "the truth sets you free" and that she doesn't wish to "live in a lie anymore."


What follows is a disturbing diatribe, in which she claims to have slain her mother to avenge her father's murder - a murder she says the woman carried out in an Athens hotel room in 2006.

"Two weeks before I came to Bali, I found out that she killed my father, and I made it up in my heart, in my mind, my soul, in my blood, in the oxygen running through my body, that I wanted to kill my mother," Mack says.

"I got this whole new savage idea in my head that I wanted to kill her in a hotel room, because she had killed my father in a hotel room. We were going to Bali, so I began to plot."

Heather and Tommy in court in 2015. Image: Getty.

Mack says she had asked Schaefer to find someone to carry out the murder for $50,000 or to help her do it, but that he had said no. So, she says, she did it on her own, then forced him to help hide the body and persuaded him to confess to the crime so that they might avoid the death penalty.

"I trapped him here," she says in the videos. "And that is what I regret. I don't regret killing my mother, and as evil as that may sound, that's my reality. ... But I regret bringing Tommy into it. I regret being selfish. I regret trapping an innocent person into this, because it was my battle, it was my mother, it was my father."

Indonesian authorities are yet to publicly respond to the videos.

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