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U.S. woman convicted in ‘suitcase murder’ of her mother released from Bali jail

Heather Mack is released Oct. 29 from a prison in Bali after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence. (Johannes Christo/Reuters)
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An American woman convicted of helping to kill her mother and hiding the body in a suitcase on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali walked out of prison early on Friday after serving seven years.

The battered body of Chicago widow Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found inside a suitcase in a taxi at the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort in the summer of 2014.

An Indonesian court later convicted her daughter Heather Mack, who was around 19 and pregnant at the time, for helping her then-21-year-old boyfriend Tommy Schaefer with the killing. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison; he received a sentence of 18 years.

In a case that made world headlines, the couple was accused of beating the 62-year-old woman after an argument at the hotel, stuffing her into a suitcase that they wrapped in a sheet, and trying to flee. Police caught the two after a taxi driver noticed bloodstains that had leaked from the luggage.

A warden at the Kerobokan prison that released Mack on Friday was quoted as saying she got a remission of close to three years after showing good conduct and taking part in activities at the jail such as dance and design.

Her lawyer said ahead of her early release that she faced deportation back to the United States, though she wanted to stay in Indonesia with her daughter, who was raised in a foster home, away from media attention.

The grisly tale of an American woman murdered and stuffed into suitcase in Indonesia

After officers escorted Mack out of jail on Friday through a swarm of reporters, a Bali immigration official told the Associated Press his team was working with the U.S. Consulate to send her and the child to the United States within a matter of days.

Prosecutors in the 2015 trial had said they did not seek capital punishment in part because the pair had a newborn baby. In court, Schaefer testified the hotel fight came after Mack’s mother learned her daughter was pregnant and claimed she had tried to attack him.