American man admits killing his teenage girlfriend’s mother…
- Tommy Schaefer, 21, confessed to killing girlfriend’s mother, police say
- Girlfriend Heather Mack, 19, also confessed to helping him dispose of body
- Pair arrested six miles from their luxury St. Regis Bali Resort hotel
- Body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack found in a suitcase inside trunk of a taxi
- She had been hit repeatedly about the face with a heavy blunt object
- Pathologists say she suffered asphyxiation, a broken neck and broken nose
- Indonesian Police say that Schaefer had confessed during an interrogation
- Heather Mack reportedly acknowledged her role in separate questioning
- She is two months pregnant with what is believed to be Schaefer’s child
An American man has confessed to killing his teenage girlfriend’s mother in a Bali hotel, and the girlfriend has acknowledged helping him stuff the body into a suitcase, Indonesian police have claimed. Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, were arrested in Bali on August 13, a day after the body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort. Police chief Col. Djoko Heru Utomo said today that Schaefer confessed during an interrogation on Monday and that Heather Mack acknowledged her role in separate questioning later this week.
Attempts to reach their Indonesian lawyers were not immediately successful. Utomo said Schaefer confessed that he killed the woman after an argument. The couple has yet to be formally charged. Utomo said officers hoped to complete their investigation and file their case with prosecutors before the couple’s detention period ends in mid-October. Police say they have interviewed dozens of witnesses, including the taxi driver and hotel employees. The butchered, half-naked body was discovered on August 12 inside the suitcase that Heather and Schaefer had allegedly taken from the luxury St. Regis hotel down to a taxi, saying they would return. After two hours, the driver began to get suspicious when blood started to seep from the case and he went to the police station where the grisly discovery was made.
The young lovers, who both come from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, were arrested, asleep in each other’s arms in a hotel near the Bali international airport, after allegedly attempting to get hotel staff to open her mother’s safe deposit box so they could retrieve their passports. Heather is two months pregnant with what is believed to be Schaefer’s child. Indonesian authorities say if she is convicted, the child could grow up in prison with her mother.
Mrs Mack had been hit repeatedly about the face with a heavy blunt object. Pathologists say she suffered asphyxiation, a broken neck and a broken nose and that she had probably been killed between 6.45 am and 10am local time. During her autopsy, several defensive wounds were also discovered — suggesting Mrs. Mack, the widow of Chicago musician James L. Mack, who died in front of Heather during a family vacation to Greece in 2006 — had fought back while being attacked. Dr Dudut Rustyadi, the forensic chief at Sanglah hospital morgue in the Balinese capital of Denpasar, said: ‘From the wound, we found violence using blunt objects. ‘We found many wounds, open wounds and bruises, including wounds on her left arm. We allege that the victim fought.’ In the hours leading up to her murder, Mrs Mack had been seen on CCTV footage walking around the hotel lobby at 3.45am. Authorities say one sequence caught on hotel security cameras shows Mrs Mack arguing with her daughter and Schaefer about who should pay the hotel bill. She was heard by staff telling her daughter that she had paid for Schaefer’s air fare to Bali so the two of them should pay the bill. Police claim the young couple initially told them that they been taken captive at the St. Regis by an armed gang who killed Mrs Mack. They said they managed to escape the gang’s clutches and fled to the hotel in the Kuta area of Bali.
After the murder, police in Mrs Mack’s hometown of Oak Park revealed that they had been called to the family’s former home 86 times over a ten-year period — an average of once every six weeks — to help calm fights between her and her daughter. They never made an arrest in all of those visits even though Mrs Mack was found with a broken arm on one occasion in 2011. It was also revealed that Mrs Mack called cops just last month after her credit card company told her about an unauthorized charge. Police went to the Conrad Hotel in downtown Chicago, where they found Tommy, Heather and seven other youngsters partying in an eighth-floor suite. Schaefer was arrested and was due to appear in court in September on charges related to the incident. Mrs. Mack’s brother, William Wiese told the Chicago Tribune that Heather grew more difficult after her father’s death, which the family alleged resulted from an injury he suffered on an earlier cruise in 2006. Mrs Mack won a $1.5 million settlement from Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Wiese told the Tribune he believed Schaefer showed up in Bali without his sister’s knowledge as she was trying to make a fresh start with her daughter by taking her on the vacation. ‘She was such an optimist,’ he said. ‘She was forever trying to help that girl.’ ‘I think my sister loved Heather more than anything,’ Wiese added. ‘She would seek our input and advice. She tried so hard to help Heather through the years with therapists and psychiatrists. It was always a struggle to get Heather to (cooperate).’ Mrs Mack sold the five-bed, five-bath Oak Park mansion to a developer for $650,000 last year. After extensive renovations it is now back on the market for $1.68 million. At the time of her death, she and her daughter were living in a 18th-floor luxury apartment on Chicago’s Gold Coast area with stunning views overlooking Lake Michigan. Ms Von Wiese-Mack was the widow of jazz and classical composer James L. Mack, who died in 2006 at the age of 76.