Chicago Tourist Killed, Stuffed in Suitcase in Indonesia

Sheila von Wiese-Mack was last seen alive on Monday when an argument she had with her daughter was captured by surveillance cameras in the lobby of the St. Regis Hotel in Denpasar, Bali

A Chicago woman vacationing in Indonesia was killed -- her body stuffed inside a suitcase earlier this week -- and her daughter and another man were arrested.

The body of 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack, formerly of the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, was discovered on Tuesday in a suitcase in the back of a taxi, parked at the prestigious St. Regis Hotel in Denpasar.

Mack's daughter, Heather Lois, 19, and another man, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the death. Both were questioned but refused to talk until being joined by attorneys.

Denpasar police chief Djoko Hari Utomo told local media that von Wiese-Mack and her daughter had been staying at the hotel for several days before Schaffer joined them. Surveillance cameras later recorded von Wiese-Mack and Schaefer arguing in the hotel lobby, The Daily Mail reported.

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The morning after that argument, Lois and Schaefer checked out of the hotel and took a large suitcase out to a taxi stand. The pair then went back into the hotel and snuck out through the back of the resort.

After a two-hour wait, the taxi driver was instructed by hotel personnel to drive to the police station. Authorities there opened the suitcase and found von Wiese-Mack's body.

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"The body was wrapped in a hotel bedsheet and tied up with duct tape," said Inspector Djoko, according to The Daily Mail. "There were blood stains all over the sheet."

Utomo said Lois and Schaefer were tracked down and arrested while they slept at a hotel in the Legian tourist area.

A doctor who performed an examination on von Wiese-Mack's body said there were defensive wounds.

John Johnson, a spokesman for the United States Embassy in Jakarta, said the State Department 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."  All questions were deferred to the Balinese police.

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Officials from the St. Regis Bali resort released a statement saying personnel was aware of the incident and was assisting authorities during the investigation.

Sheila von Wiese-Mack and her husband, composer/producer James Mack, lived in Oak Park for a number of years, a neighbor said. James Mack died in August 2006. His widow remained in the home before moving to a downtown Chicago condo after taking a big hit in crash of the 2008 real estate market.

"She has a lot of friends, a lot of people who knew her here, and I think this is going to be a real shock. Everybody was hoping that with the move and that, that her life would get better," said Oak Park resident Allen Parchem, who lived a few blocks away but knew the family from the arts scene.

"She was very much involved in the arts. So you would see her at concerts. You would see her at lectures. I knew that she had a very active arts life downtown," he said. "With the move to downtown I think she was hoping to even be more a part of that scene."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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