Heather Mack case: Newly released messages reveal plot to kill mother in Bali suitcase murder

Newly filed federal court documents revealed text messages between Heather Mack and her boyfriend in the days leading up to the murder of her mother Sheila Von Wiese-Mack in Bali nearly a decade ago. 

Von Wiese's body was found in a suitcase at the St. Regis Hotel in Bali on August 12, 2014.

The documents filed in Chicago court Friday offer evidence that Mack conspired with her boyfriend at the time, Tommy Schaefer, to kill Von Wiese for her $1.5 million estate.  

Mack and Von Wiese left Chicago on August 2, 2014, to travel to Indonesia. As they were on their way out of the country, Mack texted Schaefer multiple times, apparently referencing the plot to kill Von Wiese and the money they would make.

Schaefer texted Mack, "I can’t wait to be rich…I seriously can’t wait Im so geeked. I’m like thinking of lavish lifestyles…" to which Mack responded, "lmao…Eee Im in the [airport] lounge now…I love you…I’m about to board."

The next day Mack texted Schaefer that the trip was going as planned. Schaefer texted back that he had faith in her, but a lot was not in her control. 

Mack responded with a series of text messages indicating, "I also know what is in my control…I know what makes people tick … the witch … I know what make her tick … I’m with her so much … I know her habbit … how she acts … what she does at certain times … its like breaking out of jail …. It takes several years of watching … I have been watching her routine … and I know what I do control …. Im sneaky … Im smart … and I watch…trust bonnie…Dn’t make everyone else mistake and under estimate me." 

The two appear to compare themselves to Bonnie and Clyde, an outlaw couple that engaged in a violent crime spree. 

Von Wiese expressed concern for her personal safety while she was on the trip with Mack. 

On August 5, 2014, Von Wiese sent an email to a friend stating, "I am afraid of her [Mack] and fear that I should not have come here at all … hoping that I have not made a big mistake here in Bali for 9 more days." 

Records show that Mack used her personal email address and one of Von Wiese’ credit cards to book a flight for Schaefer on August 10, 2014, from Chicago O’Hare to Bali, costing $12,209.59. 

Von Wiese had learned from hotel staff that Schaefer was at the hotel in a room billed to Von Wiese’ account without authorization, and only a few weeks after Schaefer and Mack had been arrested for charging hotel stays in Chicago to Von Wiese’ credit card, according to prosecutors. 


A hotel employee overheard Von Wiese tell Mack that she and Schaefer would face prosecution in Chicago for credit card fraud.

Schaefer and Mack exchanged text messages arranging his travel to Bail, which Mack said she'd pay for.

Schaefer arrived at the hotel in the early hours of August 12, the day of Von Wiese's death. 

Mack and Schaefer exchanged messages reflecting that they were waiting for Von Wiese to fall asleep and that the plan was to strike her in the head, suffocate her, or otherwise knock her out. 

Schaefer stated, "cant we sfcate [suffocate] her together … put your hand over her moutg [mouth]." Mack responded, "just knock her out."

Then Schaefer said, "I promise you heather … Relax … Ur Bonnie do it." He then sent Mack a photo of a metal fruit bowl handle from the hotel room.

During these messages, Schaefer was in touch with his cousin Ryan Bibbs who provided advice to Schaefer via text message on alternative ways to kill Von Wiese, such as drowning her, and how to conceal the murder, such as by avoiding cameras. 

Bibbs pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Illinois to helping Mack and Schaefer conspire to kill Von Wiese and is currently in custody serving his sentence. 

Prosecutors say Bibbs is expected to testify that he counseled Schaefer to be careful, and sent messages intended to encourage Schaefer to kill Von Wiese.

Shortly after Schaefer's and Mack's text conversations, Von Wiese was severely beaten. According to an autopsy performed in Indonesia, and a second autopsy performed in the United States by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Von Wiese died from blunt force trauma to the head and face. 

Prosecutors say Schaefer and Mack hid Von Wiese's body and bloody evidence, such as sheets, in luggage. Hotel cameras show Mack getting a luggage trolley from the first floor. 

The two hailed a taxi, but the driver refused the fair. The suitcase with the body was left in the trunk of the taxi and Mack and Schaefer fled. 

They were arrested at a hotel near the airport the next day. 

Both Mack and Schafer were convicted in Indonesia in 2015. Mack was deported to the states in 2021. Schafer remains behind bars overseas. 

Mack, now 27, is scheduled for trial in the Chicago on July 31