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Chicago woman dead in Bali; daughter, 1 other arrested

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 11:22 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Indonesian forensic police officers view evidence related to the death of a Chicago woman Wednesday at a police station in Bali, Indonesia. The body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found Tuesday stuffed inside a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi parked in front of an upscale hotel in Bali's Nusa Dua area.

BALI, Indonesia – The body of a 62-year-old American woman was found stuffed inside a suitcase on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, and authorities on Wednesday arrested her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend in relation to the death, police said.

The suitcase containing Sheila von Wiese-Mack's body was found Tuesday inside the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort in the island's upscale Nusa Dua area, said Col. Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief in Bali's capital, Denpasar.

Von Wiese-Mack's 19-year-old daughter, Heather Mack, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were arrested Wednesday morning at a hotel in Bali's Kuta area, about six miles away, Utomo said.

Both were being questioned but were refusing to talk until being joined by attorneys, he said.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta confirmed that von Wiese-Mack's body had been found, but did not give details.

Utomo said Mack and Schaefer had hired the taxi and then placed the suitcase inside the car's trunk. The two then told the taxi driver they were going to check out of the hotel and would return, he said, citing the driver, I Ketut Wirjana.

However, after two hours, Mack and Schaefer had not reappeared, Utomo said. Hotel security guards found blood spots on the suitcase, and suggested that Wirjana drive the taxi to the police station. Officers at the station opened the suitcase and discovered the body.

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

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

Von Wiese-Mack's body was being autopsied at a hospital in Denpasar.

She 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.

"With a teenager, she tries to be home most evenings," the article said.

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