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‘It’s tearing me apart’: Woman who murdered her mother in Bali forced to give up baby daughter

by Ellen Killoran

Heather Mack was convicted of murdering and stuffing her mother in a suitcase while vacationing in Bali

A Chicago woman in a Bali prison for the murder of her mother has been forced to give up the baby born to her in custody.

Heather Mack, the young woman convicted of killing her mother with her boyfriend before stuffing her body in a suitcase while vacationing in Bali, gave birth to Stella Schaffer two years ago while on trial for the murder, shortly before she and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaffer, were convicted and sentenced to prison.

She and Schaffer have since split, but under Indonesian law, Mack was permitted to keep her child with her until her second birthday.

The Chicago Tribune reports that on Friday, the 21-year-old woman handed over her daughter to Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, an Australian-born interpreter who befriended Mack when she aided her during her murder trial. The foster mother is married to a Balinese man.

The British newspaper the Daily Mail was reportedly on the scene during the exchange, and published statements from Mack addressing the heartbreaking ordeal.

“I know she has to go but it’s tearing me apart,” Mack reportedly said.

“Everything outside prison will be very strange to her now but I want her to stay in Bali and be close so she can visit me as often as possible,” she continued. “She’s a little girl and she needs her mother, whatever I’ve done.”

 

Photo: Associated Press

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."