CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The paternal grandmother of Heather Mack’s daughter wants custody of the young girl as the ‘suitcase murder’ investigation into her parents unfolds.
“She’s going to need a lot of therapy,” Kia Walker told NewsNation Prime. “And I would love to have the opportunity to guide her through that process.”
Mack was a few weeks pregnant when she and her then-boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, allegedly killed Mack’s mother in Bali and stuffed the body into a suitcase.
“The last seven years has been, you know, very painful to watch, to see, to be,” said Walker, who is Schaefer’s mom.
Mack, now 26, was released from prison in Indonesia earlier this month after serving seven years and two months of a 10-year sentence. She was taken into custody when she returned to the U.S. and now faces federal murder conspiracy charges. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years and remains in prison.
Their daughter, Stella Schaefer, who is 6 years old, was on the plane with her mother, according to Mack’s attorney, who said the little girl was “excited” about her first trip to the United States. He declined to say who took custody of the girl when FBI agents took Mack away but said she was not handed over to Child Protective Services. Court records show a Cook County probate judge issued an emergency order Tuesday appointing one of Mack’s attorneys, Vanessa Favia, as the girl’s guardian. Favia could not be reached for comment, according to the Associated Press last week.
Walker said she was angry that she was not given custody of her granddaughter.
“I think, you know, it’s in her best interest that she gets to know her grandma, and the relationship between a granddaughter and the grandmother is very, very, very important,” Walker said.
Walker says an emergency hearing is scheduled to discuss the issue.
“I thought, you know, this is my opportunity to be a voice for my granddaughter and my son who’s suffering at the prison,” Walker said. “I don’t know if he’s going to survive this. And it’s scary.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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