Indonesian police on Friday charged a young American man and woman with the murder of the woman’s mother, whose body had been stuffed into a suitcase found in a taxi trunk, the Associated Press says. Police say the couple tried to ditch the suitcase by dropping it in a cab outside their hotel and never returning for it.
Chicago natives Heather Mack, 19, and Tommy Shaefer, 21, had been vacationing in Bali with Mack’s mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62. The mother and daughter were seen on hotel security Monday having an argument in the lobby. When Weise-Mack's body was found, it bore blunt trauma wounds and scrapes indicative of a struggle.
The couple was then seen on CCTV leaving the hotel through an emergency staircase to a back exit, where they hitched a cab to another hotel they'd booked with von Wiese-Mack's credit card. Chicago police reports indicate Mack had stolen von Wiese-Mack's credit card and used it to charge a hotel party once in the past.
The couple contends that Wiese-Mack was the victim of violent robbers, but testimony from hotel employees and the taxi driver contradict that. Hotel employees noticed blood on the suitcase and told the taxi driver he should contact police.
The bloodied suitcase in which police say 62-year-old Sheila Von Weise Mack was found at a 5star resort in Bali (AFP) pic.twitter.com/TdEPX1J2kD
Continue Reading Below
— Alexander Smith (@AlexMurraySmith) August 13, 2014
Mack received council in Indonesia, while Shaefer will be advised by his lawyer from the U.S.
Back in Chicago, police are looking into a 86 reported 911 calls made to the house where Mack and von Wiese-Mack lived, many of which were missing person calls. Family friends say the two had a strained relationship.
Police went to woman's home 86 times before death http://t.co/qCKpbq9GrX via Yahoo!
— THE WORLD NOW (@WorldNewsNgayon) August 14, 2014
Bali police chief Inspector General Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu called it a premeditated murder.
"We have CCTV footage, fingerprints and the suitcase as evidence. This is a premeditated murder. Why? Because footage shows them stuffing the body into the suitcase."
Mack said she was pregnant and wanted to be moved back to the U.S. for medical treatment.
The two could be sentenced to death per Indonesian law.