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Courts & Trials

Ex-Boyfriend’s Mom Denied Custody of Convicted Murderer Heather Mack’s Daughter

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Heather Mack with her daughter in April 2015.
AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

A Chicago judge on Tuesday denied a request from the mother of Heather Mack’s ex-boyfriend, who had petitioned the court seeking custody of the daughter her son fathered with Mack, PEOPLE confirms.

Mack and ex-boyfriend Tommy Schaefer were convicted of the 2014 murder of Mack’s mother, Sheila von Weise-Mack, at an Indonesian luxury resort. The pair stuffed her body in a suitcase in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Saying she has no jurisdiction over a child who was born in Indonesia — and has been living there with Mack ever since, in a prison in Bali, Indonesia — the judge denied the request to appoint Schaefer’s mother, Kia Walker, the child’s legal guardian.

Stella Schaefer has been living in prison with her mother since she was born during her parents’ high-profile murder trial in 2015. Under Indonesian law, Stella has been allowed to live in a cell with Mack at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, but the child will have to leave the facility when she turns 2 on Friday.

Michael Goldberg, Walker’s attorney, tells PEOPLE his client “is disappointed” with Tuesday’s ruling.

He says Walker is “worried and deathly afraid Stella is going to be put into the Indonesian foster care system” once she leaves the prison.

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“We were disappointed in the judge’s ruling, because the child is an American citizen,” Goldberg says. “We think she’s being left to the whim of Indonesian law and no one seems quite sure what that is.”

Goldberg has already appealed Tuesday’s decision.

“We are asking for an expedited ruling, but that is unlikely to happen by Friday,” when Stella is supposed to leave the prison, he says.

The judge, he tells PEOPLE, factored the wishes of the child’s parents into her decision.

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In an effort to continue her relationship with Stella, Mack has expressed her desire to have a caretaker living near the prison become the child’s guardian, while she serves out her 10-year sentence. (Walker’s son is also serving an 18-year sentence for the murder.)

The fate of Mack’s mother’s $1.56 million trust is the subject of another dispute.

The trust — which Stella could be in line to inherit — is controlled by Mack’s maternal uncle, who has long maintained that his niece should not have access to the funds since she was responsible for her mother’s death.

• With JOHNNY DODD