NPR : News

Filed Under:

Indonesian Police Detain U.S. Couple In Murder Probe

Police in Indonesia say that a U.S. couple being held in connection with the brutal killing of a 62-year-old Chicago woman while the three vacationed in Bali could face the death penalty if they are charged with premeditated murder.

The body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found stuffed in a bloodied suitcase on the resort island of Bali on Tuesday. After a preliminary investigation, Indonesian police detained the woman's 19-year-old daughter, Heather Mack, and Mack's boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21.

The couple have been designated as prisoners but not been formally charged, pending the completion of the investigation, Reuters reports.

The Globe and Mail quotes Bali's deputy police chief, Brigadier-General Ngurah Raharja Subyakta, as saying witness accounts and crime scene evidence tie the two to the woman's death.

The newspaper writes:

"Police said the couple hired the taxi and then placed the suitcase inside the trunk. They told the taxi driver that they were going to check out of the hotel and would return. After they didn't show up, hotel security guards who found blood spots on the suitcase suggested the driver take the taxi to the 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, according to the police chief for Bali's provincial capital of Denpasar, Colonel Djoko Hari Utomo.

"Utomo said that contradicted testimonies by the taxi driver and hotel employees.

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

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

Reuters quotes an unnamed official at the hospital that conducted the autopsy as saying von Wiese-Mack had been repeatedly hit on the face and head with a blunt object.

The news agency reports that the victim was a former editor for oral historian Studs Terkel and also studied with Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow at the University of Chicago. Her husband and the female suspect's father was the composer James Mack, who died in 2006.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

He Died At 32, But A Young Artist Lives On In LA's Underground Museum

When Noah Davis founded the museum, he wanted to bring world-class art to a neighborhood he likened to a food desert, meaning no grocery stores or museums. Davis died a year ago Monday.
NPR

The Strange, Twisted Story Behind Seattle's Blackberries

Those tangled brambles are everywhere in the city, the legacy of an eccentric named Luther Burbank whose breeding experiments with crops can still be found on many American dinner plates.
WAMU 88.5

State Taxes, School Budgets And The Quality Of Public Education

Budget cutbacks have made it impossible for many states to finance their public schools. But some have bucked the trend by increasing taxes and earmarking those funds for education. Taxes, spending and the quality of public education.

NPR

Listen: 'Web Site Story,' NPR's Musical About The Internet — From 1999

Found in our archives: an Internet-themed remake of West Side Story from the dot-com bubble era. It begins with Bill Gates and features the sound of a modem but isn't as obsolete as you might expect.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.