New reports detail possible financial sticking points between the late Sheila von Wiese-Mack and her 19-year-old daughter Heather, who’s accused of murdering her 62-year-old mother in Bali, Indonesia with the help of her boyfriend earlier this month, then stuffing her remains into a suitcase.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ local subsidiary, the Oak Leaves, reported that von Wiese-Mack was granted $500,000 from the estate of her late husband, musical composer James L. Mack, following a $1.5 million judgement she was granted in a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruises.
While James L. Mack’s will (dated five days before his 2006 death) denoted that his funds would be channeled “only to provide for Heather Mack, my child, and for no other children,” von Wiese-Mack successfully petitioned the court for the $500,000 two years ago (on top of the $340,667 she received for herself in the suit). The presiding judge noted von Wiese-Mack as the “sole beneficiary” in the 2012 judgment.
The lawsuit also weighed heavy on Heather Mack’s shoulders, according to her late mother, who told authorities that the girl’s role as a “key witness” in the years-long legal proceedings impacted her behavior for the worse.
Heather Mack and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer currently remain in custody in Indonesia, where their designated attorney there, Haposan Sihombing, said that officers have placed both on suicide watch.
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“All materials that can be used for suicide such as ropes, long trousers, and clothes with straps are being kept away from them,” the attorney confirmed.
While the couple remains silent pending the arrival of their American lawyer, Sihombing said he’s implored the accused murderers “to cooperate, because that could be a reason for a lighter punishment.”
As we previously reported, officials said that Mack and Schaefer, 21, murdered von Wiese Mack, and stuffed her body in a the suitcase they later left in the trunk of a taxicab they left waiting in front of a resort. After they falsely told the driver they’d be back, according to authorities, hotel staffers noticed blood leaking from the suitcase and told the cab driver to take the car to the police station, where officials uncovered the body.
In Indonesia, a murder conviction could lead to the death penalty, via a firing squad.