News from the Associated Press
AAA Mar. 17, 2017 9:31 AM ET
US woman in Bali 'suitcase murder' gives up custody of baby
By FIRDIA LISNAWATI, Associated Press
Security guards and a lawyer escort Stella Schaefer, center, covered with a scarf, the two-year-old daughter of Heather Mack, an American woman convicted in her mother's death in Indonesia, as the baby leaves Kerobokan Prison with Australian Balinese woman Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, also partially covered by the scarf, who will take care of her until her mother is released, in Bali, Indonesia Friday, March 17, 2017. Under Indonesian law, Mack has been allowed to live with her daughter at her prison's cell until Schaefer reaches the maximum age of two-year-old. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — An American woman convicted in her mother's "suitcase murder" in Indonesia gave custody of her young daughter on Friday to an Australian woman until her release from prison.
Heather Mack is serving a 10-year sentence for assisting her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer in Sheila von Wiese-Mack's murder, in which the body was stuffed in a suitcase. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The baby girl, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were convicted in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell in Kerobokan prison until she turned 2 years old on Friday.
Prison chief Tony Nainggolan said the girl's development will be supervised by government social workers.
"We will allow the girl to meet her mother any time," Nainggolan said.
Mack, 21, broke down in tears as she gave Stella to Oshar Putu Melody Suartama, an Australian woman married to a Balinese man, said Mack's Indonesian lawyer, Yulius Benyamin Seran.
He said Suartama, who has two sons and lives in Bali, befriended Mack when the couple was first detained for murder. She helped Mack as an interpreter and supported her during the trial.
"She is the right person to raise Stella, she loves her," Seran said.
Von Wiese-Mack's badly battered body was found stuffed in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali resort. She reportedly did not approve of her daughter's relationship with Schaefer.Associated Press