In what’s being described as a most horrific case of matricide, an American girl and her boyfriend have been arrested after the girl’s mom was discovered beaten, killed and stuffed into a suitcase. The dead body was found inside that suitcase “at a luxury hotel in Bali, Indonesia,” on Aug. 12, according to a report from CNN.
The dead mom inside the suitcase has been identified as 62-year-old Sheila von Weise Mack. The culprits in the case arrested in connection with the dead mom have been identified as von Weise Mack’s daughter, Heather Mack, 19, and Mack’s boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21.
The young couple is now being held in custody in Bali. After police in Bali discovered what’s been described as a “hard-sided gray suitcase at the prestigious St. Regis Bali Resort,” police found Mack and Schaefer asleep in a hotel room about six miles down the road from the five-star St. Regis, according to Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief of Denpasar, the capital of Bali.
Upon a forensic examination of the lifeless von Weise Mack, the victim was found to be half naked with blunt force trauma about her face and head. Defensive wounds found on the body included a broken fingernail, a broken finger and bruising on her wrists, “indicating that there may have been a struggle.” Utomo said that the Bali police have not yet formally charged the American couple as suspects in von Weise Mack’s murder. Police in Bali are still waiting for the results of the mom’s autopsy before they can specify the exact time and cause of death.
According to Indonesian law, police can keep the couple in custody for up to 24 hours before they are named as suspects. If named, they can be held up to 20 days.
After their arrests, Mack and Schaefer told police that they had been kidnapped by a gang - and that gang members were the ones responsible for von Weise Mack’s murder. According to their statements, Mack and Schaefer were being held captive at the luxury resort but somehow managed to escape. The story they told police though is in stark contrast to what employees from the St. Regis and one taxi cab driver had to report.
The taxi driver told police that Mack and Schaefer hailed him at the St. Regis, placing one bag in the trunk, Utomo said. They then reportedly went back into the hotel and did not return.
The cab driver waited for Mack and Schaefer for two hours before entering the St. Regis and speaking with hotel workers. When they went to the family’s rooms, the rooms were empty.
When the taxi driver and a manager opened the trunk, they saw blood on the luggage and drove to a police station, Trans TV reported. Police opened the suitcase and found the woman's body inside.
Investigators found two additional suitcases on the grounds of the St. Regis which both contained “hotel towels with blood on them, according to police.” Newsmax reported that Mack and her mother had been staying at the St. Regis for several days before being joined by Schaefer. Police reported that surveillance video from the hotel showed Mack and Schaefer arguing in the hotel lobby on the evening that Schaefer arrived.
The day after Schaefer arrived at the hotel, Mack and Schaefer reportedly checked out of the St. Regis “and sent several suitcases down to a taxi, allegedly including the one that contained the victim.” Surveillance video captured the couple leaving the St. Regis from a back door to the hotel.
Mack is a Chicago resident, according to her passport. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.