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Press Release

Woman Arrested at Chicago O’Hare Airport for Conspiring to Kill Her Mother and Placing Body in Suitcase

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Illinois woman was arrested today when she arrived at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, for allegedly murdering her mother on Aug. 12, 2014, while on vacation in Bali, Indonesia.

Heather Mack, 26, is alleged to have conspired with her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 28, to kill her mother, Sheila Von Weise, while Mack and Von Weise were on vacation in Bali. According to court documents, Mack and Schaefer discussed how and when to kill Von Weise, arranged for Schaefer to travel to Bali, committed the murder, and then placed Von Weise’s body inside a suitcase which they loaded into the trunk of a taxi.

Before the murder, Schaefer received advice from his cousin, Ryan Bibbs, about how to kill Von Weise. Bibbs pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Illinois in December 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a U.S. national. Court documents reveal that Mack also asked Bibbs if he knew anyone who would kill her mother in exchange for money.

Mack and Schaefer were prosecuted and convicted in Indonesia in 2015 for Von Weise’s murder. Mack was sentenced to 10 years’ and Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. Mack was released on Oct. 29, and deported to the United States. Schaefer remains incarcerated by Indonesian authorities.

Mack and 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. Mack will make her initial court appearance today. If convicted, she faces a maximum statutory penalty of life imprisonment for counts one and two, and 20 years’ imprisonment for count three as well as a fine up to $250,000.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois, and Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office made the announcement. The FBI is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Frank Rangoussis of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney for the Northern District of Illinois are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated November 3, 2021

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 21-1084