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US couple in Indonesian resort charged with murder

BALI, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian police charged an American couple with murder Friday after the body of the woman's 62-year-old mother was found stuffed in a suitcase on the resort island of Bali.

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, were arrested Wednesday in Bali's Kuta area, a day after the body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found inside the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort.

The charges are based on witnesses and crime scene evidence, said Bali deputy police chief Brig. Gen. Gusti Ngurah Raharja Subyakta. He added that the couple refused to speak to investigators without a lawyer following initial questioning, and were being tested for illegal drugs.

Police said the couple hired the taxi and then placed the suitcase inside the trunk. They told the taxi driver that they were going to check out of the hotel and would return.

However, after two hours, Mack and Schaefer had not reappeared. Hotel security guards who found blood spots on the suitcase suggested the driver take the taxi to the police station, where officers opened the suitcase and discovered the body.

Von Wiese-Mack, also from Chicago, and her daughter arrived at the St. Regis on Saturday, while Schaefer checked in on Monday, police said.

CCTV footage shows that the victim had an argument with Schaefer on Monday in the hotel's lobby.

Von Wiese-Mack's body was being autopsied at a hospital in Denpasar, Bali. Head of Forensics Ida Bagus Putu Alit said there were signs of violence on the body indicating the victim fought before she died.

"We found scars on both forearms and the broken left-hand fingernail," Alit said following an external examination. "That indicated a resistance in a fight."

During initial questioning Wednesday, Mack acknowledged her mother died, but refused to disclose how, according to Haposan Sihombing, an Indonesian lawyer assigned by police to accompany the couple.

Sihombing said that Mack and her mother arrived in Bali on Aug. 4, and stayed first at Simanyak Hotel before moving to St. Regis on Aug. 9.

Mack signed investigating documents after Wednesday's questioning while Schaefer refused, saying he wants to wait for his lawyer to arrive from America, Sihombing said.

"In principle, they did not respond to many questions," Sihombing said. "They were not cooperative."

Authorities in an upscale Chicago suburb, meanwhile, examined records of 86 incidents in which police were called to the family's house in Oak Park where von Wiese-Mack lived with her daughter. Friends have also started talking to local reporters, alleging that the mother-daughter relationship was sometimes contentious.

The calls started in 2004 and lasted through June 2013, according to village of Oak Park spokesman David Powers, who also said the family moved out about a year ago. The bulk of the calls were missing-person reports, and others included domestic problems and theft.

Powers didn't have details about the calls, but said none resulted in arrests. He added there were a number of emergency 911 calls made from the residence in which the caller hung up, and, as is standard procedure, the police department sent a squad car to investigate.

Von Wiese-Mack was the widow of highly regarded jazz and classical composer James L. Mack of Oak Park, Illinois, who died in 2006 at age 76.

In 2012, von Wiese-Mack joined a century-old Chicago book club called the Caxton Club. She had varied interests including Asian literature and Wagnerian opera, according to a May 2013 profile of her in the club's publication Caxtonian.


Associated Press writer Don Babwin in Chicago contributed to this report.

Body of US Woman Found in a Suitcase in Bali
Murder Charges 2014
Chicago Neighborhoods
Bali Travel
International Murder Charges
Indonesian Criminal Code
St. Regis Bali

Join the discussion

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Captain Jack August 15 2014 at 7:23 AM

Gee a couple of blacks from Chicago. Wheres Al Sharpton.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
13 replies
dram2500c August 15 2014 at 6:42 AM

Of course they're from Chicago.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
4 replies
Marcia August 15 2014 at 8:46 AM

Throw Away Society, we have become.

Throw away your used paper, leftovers, a chair which is the wrong color for your redecorated home, and of course your mother if you don't get along.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
1 reply
Carol Marcia August 15 2014 at 10:32 PM

@Marcia...sadly, you may be on to something. As much as violent video games also de-sensitize our youth. We can't pretend that how we're behaving as adults/parents and how we rear our kids isn't coming back to haunt society. There's just no burying heads in the sand and saying, "I don't know how this happened". When I was a kids, going to church on Sundays, as did most of my friends, this type of violence didn't exist. Where have our moral values gone? So many atheists say children can be raised without the influence of church at home, much less in schools and gov't. Helluva job we're seeing in our societies. Helluva job.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Dan August 15 2014 at 8:24 AM

Hopefully this is a country where if murderers are found guilty & sentenced to death there will not be years of appeals. Try em and fry em, real justice! ☺

Flag Reply +17 rate up
1 reply
lynettemosley Dan August 15 2014 at 9:28 AM

our jails are too good for them let them stay there

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ram4131 August 15 2014 at 10:07 AM

They are going to LOVE the Indonesian justice system. These young greedy idiot Americans could not have F'd up in a worse country.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
4 replies
JohnBoydStrother August 15 2014 at 7:25 AM

not too bright are they? Not cleaning the blood off the suitcase. The boy friend sure seems to be the ring leader here. He seems to have the girl beaten down to do his bidding. Hope they both spend their lives in hell for this act.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
3 replies
debnaert August 15 2014 at 11:26 AM


Flag Reply +7 rate up
6 replies
Proud Conservati August 15 2014 at 11:34 AM

Here we go again. Where is bobble-head Sharpton and King Obama when their own kind commit these filthy brutal crimes. Seems if you are black every crime you commit is swept away quickly with the excuse "not their fault!! racism here!" or "not their fault, they be po"!! How much dumber can America get.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
bdot157 Proud Conservati August 15 2014 at 7:02 PM

Stop talking out of your paper a...hole. Get an education or move to N.Korea where your mentality will fit right in or be dealt with appropriately, in their gulag prison camps.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Brenda Triplett August 15 2014 at 9:18 AM

Where are people getting information that the person who did this is black?! If you look through the caption of pictures the only blacks you see is in the first picture, in which is a man and a woman, with a man in the middle with hand cuffs and an article covering his face. If you look at his hands, very visible for anyone to see they are not black. So tell me people, am I missing something here.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
11 replies
Kma August 15 2014 at 8:27 AM

I'm going to guess that her daughter and boyfriend are on drugs.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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