Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published August 20, 2014 at 9:12 PM | Page modified August 21, 2014 at 1:59 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Police: Room disagreement preceded Bali killing

Police investigating an American couple suspected of killing the woman's mother at a resort hotel on Indonesia's Bali island said Thursday the three had a disagreement over who was paying for the rooms, but that a motive for the crime has not been established.


advertising

BALI, Indonesia —

Police investigating an American couple suspected of killing the woman's mother at a resort hotel on Indonesia's Bali island said Thursday the three had a disagreement over who was paying for the rooms, but that a motive for the crime has not been established.

Heather Mack and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, have been declared suspects in the killing of Mack's 62-year-old mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, whose body was stuffed into a suitcase.

Naming someone a suspect is a formal step under Indonesian criminal law meaning police are preparing to bring charges. Officials said they could include premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of death.

Bali police chief Maj. Gen. Benny Mokalu said officers had interviewed 19 witnesses, some of whom cited a disagreement between the three over who should pay for the rooms.

Mokalu said a motive for the killing has not been established.

An Indonesian lawyer appointed to the couple, Haposan Sihombing, said Wednesday the suspects were being held under a suicide watch and were still refusing to talk to investigators. Their American attorney, Michael Elkin, said that Mack, 19, is two months pregnant and complained about her treatment in custody.

Von Wiese-Mack's body was found last week inside a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi in front of an upscale Bali hotel. The couple was arrested the next day at a hotel about 10 kilometers (six miles) away.

The couple told police that von Wiese-Mack was killed by robbers, while they managed to escape. Security camera video showed that the victim earlier had an argument with Schaefer in the first hotel's lobby.

According to police records in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, officers were called 86 times in 10 years to the house where von Wiese-Mack and her daughter once lived. The records, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, indicated that von Wiese-Mack was repeatedly and violently abused by the daughter.

Von Wiese-Mack was the widow of highly regarded jazz and classical composer James L. Mack, who died in 2006 at age 76.

On Wednesday, the Sun-Times reported that von Wiese-Mack collected more than $800,000 through a 2011 legal settlement, part of which was originally designated for Mack.

Court records showed that von Wiese-Mack and her late husband received the settlement in a lawsuit between the couple and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. A half million dollars of the money went to her husband's estate and was designated for their daughter through an earlier will. But in 2011, a judge allowed von Weise-Mack to pay herself the $500,000 as the estate's "sole beneficiary."



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►