“I really miss my mom, and everything in Chicago will remind me of her,” Mack, 26, said in an exclusive interview. “I’m sure it will be very confronting because I think of her every day and deeply regret what happened.”
In 2015, an Indonesian court convicted Mack and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, then 21, for the murder of her mother, Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese Mack, 62.
Perhaps as soon as Monday, immigration officials will escort her to the capital of Jakarta where Mack is expected to be cleared by immigration to fly to the US. She will be reunited at the airport with her and Schaefer’s daughter Stella, now 6, who was born in prison and has been raised by a foster family in Bali.
Mack said she hopes to dedicate the next chapter of her life to Stella and dismisses any ideas of dating or finding a job for at least six months.
“Dating is the last thing on my mind,” she told The Post. “My priority is to settle Stella with me and get into a good routine. She will be educated remotely by the school that she has attended in Bali. She is already familiar with homeschooling because of Corona[virus lockdowns]. I will be in close communication with the Bali school. Stella loves to dance and paint, so I’ll consider following up those activities once we are back in America,.”
Keeping her daughter out of school is also part of Mack’s plan to protect her from TV cameras.
“Stella is not prepared for the press bombarding us. So I will defend her from the media and keep her right out of the spotlight,” says Mack. “I have told Stella that we are going on vacation, and she is prepared and excited for that.
“She remains blissfully unaware of the murder, which is as it should be for a child.”
After an argument, Schaefer bludgeoned von Weise Mack to death with a heavy fruit bowl in the luxury St Regis resort, then he and Mack crushed the woman’s body into a suitcase, loaded it into a taxi and abandoned the scene. Police arrested the couple in a cheap hotel nearby. Schaefer was dealt an 18-year prison sentence. Mack was sentenced to 10 years, but is getting out three years early for good behavior.
Mack left the Kerobokan Female Prison in Denpasa wearing an orange prison vest over a T-shirt, jeans and dark sunglasses. It was the first time she had exited the building since Stella was born in a local hospital in 2015.
Although Mack would not say who she will be staying with in Chicago, she explained that some of her old friends have stuck by her throughout her incarceration.
“About five or six friends have been supportive,” she said. “They have sent me pictures and images of special events with captions like ‘Wish you were here’ that brightened my days.
“I have been in contact with my dad’s side [of the family], who have supported me. They live in Texas, and I look forward to introducing Stella to her family.”
Her father, famed jazz arranger conductor James L. Mack, and mother raised Mack in a $1.5 million Renaissance-style mansion in ritzy Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. James, who had been in poor health — suffering from Stage IV colon cancer and diabetes, and confined to a wheelchair — died of a pulmonary embolism during a 2006 family vacation in Athens, Greece. Sheila left her husband’s corpse in an Athenian morgue while she cruised off to the island of Santorini with a traumatized 10-year-old Heather in tow.
“This is when the seed of anger was planted,” Heather said. “I wanted to go home, and Mom drank wine by the sea and complained to her friends that my dad had died.”
Mack has recently expressed remorse for the murder, telling The Post a few months ago: “I absolutely regret what happened. I loved my mom — I still do.”
For now, she plans to take baby steps into her new life.
“Adjusting to life outside of prison is my next step. Little things like going to the grocery
store, the park, and the swimming pool with Stella will be wonderful,” Mack told The Post. “Even paying an electricity bill will be nice.”
Andrea Dixon is a Bali-based journalist writing a book about the life of Heather Mack.