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.