Chicago Suspect Confesses in Bali Killing, Police Say - NBC Chicago

Chicago Suspect Confesses in Bali Killing, Police Say

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, were arrested in Bali on Aug. 13



    Police: Couple Confessed to Bali Suitcase Killing

    09/19/14: Heather Mack and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were arrested in Bali on Aug. 13, a day after the body of Mack's mother was found in a suitcase inside the trunk of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort. NBC Chicago's Regina Waldroup reports at midday. (Published Friday, Sept. 19, 2014)

    Indonesian police on Friday said a Chicago man has confessed that he killed his girlfriend's mother in a Bali hotel, and the girlfriend has acknowledged helping him stuff the body into a suitcase.

    Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, were arrested in Bali on Aug. 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 Friday that Schaefer confessed during an interrogation on Monday and that 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.

    An attorney earlier this week was assigned to represent Mack's unborn child.

    Mack and Schaefer, were arrested in Bali's Kuta area, a day after the body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found inside the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort. They were charged with murder two days later. If found guilty, both could be sentenced to death under Article 340 of Indonesia's Criminal Code.

    An autopsy found that von Wiese-Mack, 62, died of asphyxiation from a broken nose bone resulting from a blunt blow, said Ida Bagus Putu Alit, head of forensics at Sanglah Hospital in Bali's provincial capital of Denpasar. She also suffered from a broken neck, Alit said.

    The autopsy found that breaks in von Wiese-Mack's neck and nose extended to her upper right and left jaws, causing respiratory disorders, Alit said. It also showed hand wounds suggesting she was trying to fend off an attack.

    "We also found blood aspiration, which meant the victim was standing when assaulted," Alit said. "The conclusion is that the victim suffocated from lack of oxygen because of influx of blood from the broken nose bone."

    Bali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago AttorneyBali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago Attorney

    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.
    (Published Friday, Aug. 15, 2014)

    Bali's deputy police chief, Brig. Gen. Gusti Ngurah Raharja Subyakta, meanwhile said psychological tests showed that there were no psychiatric disorders with the couple charged in the death.

    Von Wiese-Mack and her daughter arrived at the St. Regis on Aug. 9, while Schaefer checked in on Monday, two days later, according to police. Security camera video showed that the victim had an argument with Schaefer on Monday in the hotel's lobby.

    Police say Mack and Schaefer placed the suitcase inside the trunk of the taxi, and asked the driver to wait while they checked out of the hotel. However, they didn't return, and hotel security guards who had found blood spots on the suitcase suggested that the driver take the taxi to a police station, where officers opened the suitcase and discovered the body.

    The couple told investigators that von Wiese-Mack was killed by robbers while they managed to escape, Utomo said.

    Bali Murder Suspects Refusing to CooperateBali Murder Suspects Refusing to Cooperate

    8/13/2014: Chicago teen, boyfriend accused of killing her mother in Indonesia. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez speaks with a friend of one of the suspects who went to school with him at NIU.
    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014)

    Authorities in the upscale Chicago suburb of Oak Park said records showed 86 incidents in which police were called to the family's house in Oak Park where von Wiese-Mack lived with her daughter. Friends and neighbors said the mother-daughter relationship was sometimes contentious.

    The calls started in 2004 and lasted through June 2013, according to village of Oak Park spokesman David Powers, who also said the family moved out about a year ago. The bulk of the calls were missing-person reports, and others included domestic problems and theft.

    Powers didn't have details about the calls, but said none resulted in arrests. He added there were a number of emergency 911 calls made from the residence in which the caller hung up, and, as is standard procedure, the police department sent a squad car to investigate.

    Von Wiese-Mack 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.

    Elkin said Heather Mack hired him on Thursday and said the allegations against his client would be "disproved as the investigation continues."

    Legal Expert Says Bali Suspects Face Uphill ClimbLegal 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.
    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014)

    Complete Coverage: Bali Suitcase Murder

    04/21/15: Couple Found Guilty 

    04/14/15: Lawyers Seek Leniency for  Couple

    04/09/15: Prosecutors Insist Murder Was Planned

    03/31/15: Prosecutors Seek 18-Year Sentences

    03/27/15: Baby Stella Sick With Jaundice

    03/25/15: Baby Stella Rushed to Hospital: Report

    03/20/15: Mack "Ecstatic" to be a Mom, Lawyer Says

    03/19/15: Emails Show Concern Months Before Bali Slaying

    03/18/15: Mack's Baby Could Stay Behind Bars

    03/17/15: Heather Mack Gives Birth

    03/12/15: Schaefer Says von Wiese-Mack Attacked Him, Threatened Baby

    03/11/15: Mack Says Schaefer Killed Her Mother

    02/27/15: Teen Charged in Bali Murder is Suicidal, Attorney Says

    02/26/15: Bell Boy, Police Testify in Tommy Schaefer Trial

    02/06/15: Heather Mack Hospitalized

    02/04/15: Heather Mack: "I Loved My Mom"

    02/02/15: Trial of Chicago Couple Charged in Bali Murder Ordered to Proceed

    01/20/15: Judge Approves Release of $150K From Trust Fund

    01/16/15: Murder Suspect Sues Slain Mother's Estate to Pay For Defense

    01/14/15: Bali Suitcase Murder Trial Begins in Indonesia

    10/03/14: Suspect in Bali Suitcase Murder Says Slur Sparked Anger

    09/23/14: Lawyer: Unborn Child of Bali Murder Suspect is "Well-Formed"

    09/22/14: Lawyer Refutes Reports That Bali Murder Suspect Confessed

    09/19/14: Chicago Suspect Confesses in Bali Killing, Police Say

    08/27/14: Mother of Bali Murder Suspect Raises Money for Legal Defense

    08/26/14: Will of Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Filed in Court

    08/21/14: Police Say Disagreement Preceded Bali Suitcase Death

    08/20/14: Report: Chicago Woman Slain in Bali Received Over $800K

    08/20/14: Attorney: Couple Held in Bali Death Under Suicide Watch

    08/19/14: Police Reports Show History of Oak Park Teen Attacking Mom

    08/18/14: Pregnant Bali Murder Suspect Alleges Sexual Assault in Jail

    08/18/14: Body of Mom Slain in Bali En Route to U.S.

    08/16/14: Autopsy: Chicago Woman Killed in Bali Was Hit by "Blunt Object"

    08/16/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate, Police Say

    08/15/14: Teen Charged in Bali Murder May Be Pregnant

    08/15/14: Daughter, Boyfriend Charged With Murder in Bali Suitcase Killing

    08/14/14: Pair Held in Suitcase Death Have Had Psychiatric Examinations

    08/14/14: Bali Murder Suspect Hires Chicago Attorney

    08/13/14: Bali Murder Suspects Refuse to Cooperate: Police

    08/13/14: Chicago Tourist Killed, Stuffed in Suitcase in Indonesia

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