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Mother Was Concerned For Daughter Months Before Her Bali Murder, Emails Show

Emails between Sheila von Wiese-Mack and Elliot Jacobson show how von Wiese-Mack was coping with her daughter’s alleged outbursts of violence

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    The mother of an Oak Park teen charged with murder overseas expressed many concerns about her daughter in the months before her death, according to emails obtained by NBC 5 Investigates. Chris Coffey reports. (Published Thursday, March 19, 2015)

    The mother of a Chicago-area teen charged with murder overseas expressed many concerns about her daughter in the months before her death, according to emails obtained by NBC 5 Investigates.

    The email conversations between Sheila von Wiese-Mack and her trusted friend, Elliot Jacobson, show how von Wiese-Mack was coping with her daughter’s alleged outbursts of violence, theft of her credit card information, and pregnancy in a period of time leading up to a fateful trip to Bali, Indonesia.

    In one email to Jacobson dated August 9, while von Wiese-Mack and her daughter were in Bali, von Wiese-Mack wrote, "Heather ran off a few hours ago and she cannot be located. Upon checkout, I discovered that she visited the clinic here and fraudulently signed my name and room number for prescription pain killers four days ago. She secured quite a supply it seems. I am more frightened than ever… I will keep in touch."

    Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, are on trial in Bali for the murder of von Wiese-Mack. They are charged with killing von Wiese-Mack and stuffing her body in a suitcase outside a resort. Schaefer had arrived in Bali toward the end of the mother-daughter trip there.

    The couple is being tried separately. They have testified that von Wiese-Mack became angry after they announced Heather’s pregnancy. Schaefer admitted that Mack asked him to bring a metal bowl, just in case von Wiese-Mack reacted strongly to her daughter's pregnancy. According to Schaefer, the situation got heated when von Wiese-Mack asked her daughter for an abortion or to kill the unborn baby. He said that led to a quarrel in which von Wiese-Mack strangled him hard for about 30 seconds.

    However, von Wiese-Mack notified Jacobson in an email dated August 1, 2014, that Heather was already eight weeks pregnant.

    “It wasn’t a secret that Heather had become pregnant before they left to Bali,” Jacobson said.

    Jacobson said he began a friendship with von Wiese-Mack in the early 1980s.

    “She was just a gently aggressive, lovely lass who could make you feel warm and welcome and she could talk about anything with virtually anybody,” Jacobson said.

    According to Jacobson, he knew Heather from when she was born and said Heather showed promise as an actress. But despite knowing about the troubled mother-daughter relationship between von Wiese-Mack and Heather, word of his friend’s death had him in disbelief.

    "I didn’t see Heather graduating from troubled kid to criminal to accused murderer," Jacobson said.

    Heather gave birth earlier this week to a healthy baby girl named Stella. She has stated that she would like the baby to remain with her in Bali. And according to prison rules, Heather may be allowed to keep Stella in prison with her until she is two years old.

    "That baby should be brought to the United States," Jacobson said. "Her identity should be completely erased. A new identity established and a home, a proper home, found for her."

    Mack and Schaefer’s trials are expected to resume in the weeks ahead. They both face a possible death penalty if convicted.

    Complete Coverage: Bali Suitcase Murder

    04/21/15: Couple Found Guilty 

    04/14/15: Lawyers Seek Leniency for  Couple

    04/09/15: Prosecutors Insist Murder Was Planned

    03/31/15: Prosecutors Seek 18-Year Sentences

    03/27/15: Baby Stella Sick With Jaundice

    03/25/15: Baby Stella Rushed to Hospital: Report

    03/20/15: Mack "Ecstatic" to be a Mom, Lawyer Says

    03/19/15: Emails Show Concern Months Before Bali Slaying

    03/18/15: Mack's Baby Could Stay Behind Bars

    03/17/15: Heather Mack Gives Birth

    03/12/15: Schaefer Says von Wiese-Mack Attacked Him, Threatened Baby

    03/11/15: Mack Says Schaefer Killed Her Mother

    02/27/15: Teen Charged in Bali Murder is Suicidal, Attorney Says

    02/26/15: Bell Boy, Police Testify in Tommy Schaefer Trial

    02/06/15: Heather Mack Hospitalized

    02/04/15: Heather Mack: "I Loved My Mom"

    02/02/15: Trial of Chicago Couple Charged in Bali Murder Ordered to Proceed

    01/20/15: Judge Approves Release of $150K From Trust Fund

    01/16/15: Murder Suspect Sues Slain Mother's Estate to Pay For Defense

    01/14/15: Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia

    10/03/14: Suspect in Bali Suitcase Murder Says Slur Sparked Anger

    09/23/14: Lawyer: Unborn Child of Bali Murder Suspect is "Well-Formed"

    09/22/14: Lawyer Refutes Reports That Bali Murder Suspect Confessed

    09/19/14: Chicago Suspect Confesses in Bali Killing, Police Say

    08/27/14: Mother of Bali Murder Suspect Raises Money for Legal Defense

    08/26/14: Will of Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Filed in Court

    08/21/14: Police Say Disagreement Preceded Bali Suitcase Death

    08/20/14: Report: Chicago Woman Slain in Bali Received Over $800K

    08/20/14: Attorney: Couple Held in Bali Death Under Suicide Watch

    08/19/14: Police Reports Show History of Oak Park Teen Attacking Mom

    08/18/14: Pregnant Bali Murder Suspect Alleges Sexual Assault in Jail

    08/18/14: Body of Mom Slain in Bali En Route to U.S.

    08/16/14: Autopsy: Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Was Hit by "Blunt Object"

    08/16/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate, Police Say

    08/15/14: Teen Charged in Bali Murder May Be Pregnant

    08/15/14: Daughter, Boyfriend Charged With Murder in Bali Suitcase Killing

    08/14/14: Pair Held in Suitcase Death Have Had Psychiatric Examinations

    08/14/14: Bali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago Attorney

    08/13/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate: Police

    08/13/14: Chicago Tourist Killed, Stuffed in Suitcase in Indonesia



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