The body of an American woman was found stuffed into a suitcase outside a luxury Indonesian resort on the island of Bali, police said Wednesday. Authorities have arrested the victim’s daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend in connection with the suspected murder.
Sheila von Wiese Mack’s body was found Tuesday in the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the upscale St. Regis hotel, according to The Associated Press.
Col. Djoko Hari Utomo, police chief in Bali's capital, Denpasar, said he believes Mack’s 19-year-old daughter, Heather Mack, and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, put the suitcase containing the 62-year-old mother’s body in the taxi before slipping out a back door of the resort.
Utomo told the Daily Mail that surveillance video from the hotel shows Schaefer and the mother arguing in the hotel lobby the night before the grisly discovery.
He also said surveillance footage shows the young couple loading three suitcases into the trunk of the cab before other cameras captured them slipping down a stretch of beach at the back of the hotel.
The cab driver reportedly waited for two hours for the couple to return after loading the luggage.
“When they did not come down to get into the taxi, the suitcases were removed and the body was found in one of them,” Utomo said.
A preliminary post-mortem examination of the victim’s body indicated that she fought back while being struck in the head with “blunt tools.”
“Looking at the wounds, the victim must have fought back,” said a medical examiner, who added that one of the victim’s fingers had been broken.
“This is murder, and we will decide from our investigation whether it is premeditated or spontaneous,” Utomo said.
The young couple was arrested early Wednesday at another hotel. They were questioned but have refused to talk to police without a lawyer.
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta released a statement saying it was “aware of the death of an American citizen that took place in Bali and we understand that two individuals have been arrested in connection with the case.”
Von Wiese Mack was from the Chicago area. She was the widow of well-known composer and conductor James Mack who died in 2006.