Bali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago Attorney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/14/2014; Lawyer says he's making his way to Indonesia to help his client obtain local representation. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports.

    A Chicago lawyer said he has been hired by a woman who was arrested in Bali, Indonesia, this week under suspicion that she and her boyfriend may have killed her mother and stuffed the body into a suitcase.

    Heather Lois Mack, 19, hired attorney Michael Elkin to defend against allegations that she and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, bludgeoned to death 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack and left her corpse in a suitcase in the trunk of a local taxi

    Elkin called the allegations untrue and said they would be "disproved as the investigation continues or at the conclusion of a trial, if formal charges are indeed filed." 

    Elkin spoke with NBC 5 Thursday and said Lois Mack reached out to him on Tuesday before she was detained.

    Legal Expert Says Bali Suspects Face Uphill Climb Legal Expert Says Bali Suspects Face Uphill Climb 8/14/2014: Heather Mack hires a Chicago attorney after her mother is found murdered in Bali. NBC 5's Chris Coffey reports.

    "At certain points she was hysterical," Elkins said.

    "What should I do, should I go to the embassy? Or she was thinking about going to the police."

    Elkins said he encouraged her to go the embassy and to keep quiet.

    "No matter how innocent you may be, you need an attorney that's local," Elkins said.

    Elkins says he client is innocent, and points out she hasn't been charged with a crime, but he's concerned about her detainment. He's trying to make his way to Indonesia to assist.

    "Logistically figure out how I can arrive there to obtain secure counsel that's Indonesian," Elkins said. "I said to her, 'Please understand that this is a very serious matter, and this is as serious as a heart attack.'"

    "I believe my client is innocent, I believe she's in a terrible place right now,"

    Elkins issued a statement to media outlets earlier Thursday, saying his client was "denied to speak with an attorney after being detained, until a few hours ago," and that a police guard was present in the room when he spoke with her, even though he requested that nobody be present.

    Authorities said Wednesday Mack and Schaefer were being uncooperative while behind held at South Kuta police station at Nusa Dua. They've both had psychiatric exams, authorities said.

    "We have done a blood test and psychiatric test to try to relate their motive to the case. Maybe they are mentally unstable," Police Chief Djoko Hari Utomo told reporters. "So far we haven't got any information on what problems lie behind the murder, if it's financial or something else. We still do not know."

    Various overseas media reports state the three individuals argued who would pay for the hotel bill, and the young couple eventually check out, telling hotel staff Wiese-Mack would take care of it.
    >Br /> The couple also allegedly demanded hotel staff open Wiese-Mack's safety deposit box, believed to contain jewelry, but were denied.

    NBC Chicago on Wednesday learned that police in Oak Park, where Wiese-Mack lived with her daughter before moving to a condo in downtown Chicago, made 86 calls to the family's former home between January 2004 and June 2013 for a combination of domestic violence, theft and a missing person.

    The domestic incidents involved the daughter and mother, according to authorities.

    Neighbors said the Oak Park home masked a volatile relationship between the mother and daughter, but none expected it would end in such tragedy.

    "I heard they had some domestic issues especially after Heather's dad died but I didn't know it was this bad," said Mack's former classmate, Alex Bailey.

    Wiese-Mack's husband, composer/producer James Mack, died in August 2006.

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