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FBI seeks connections between Bali suitcase murder and US case investigation

American homicide victim Sheila von Wiese Mack was brutally beaten and crammed into a traveling suitcase in Bali while on vacation.
American homicide victim Sheila von Wiese Mack was brutally beaten and crammed into a traveling suitcase in Bali while on vacation.
Getty Images/AFP Sonny Tumbelaka

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is in Bali for more reasons other than just to assist Bali authorities in their investigation into the murder of an American socialite, according to Ida Bagus Putu Alit, the head of the forensics team at Sanglah Hospital.

According to Alit, the FBI came to "find connections between this case and a case that they are investigating in the US. But they haven't explained what that case is," he told the Jakarta Post on August 18.

In addition, the autopsy expert also stated that the body of the victim, a Chicago socialite named Shiela Von Weise-Mack, would be taken to the US by the FBI in order to be examined there because they plan to "conduct further examinations of the body in the US, to find connections to the criminal case in the US."

Mack's coffin was removed from Sanglah Hospital, located in the Bali capital of Denpasar, on Tuesday in order to be flown back to Chicago, where she and her daughter, 19-year-old Heather Lois Mack, had resided before going on their 10-day vacation, according to a news report from NBC News. The news agency also revealed that the coffin and body were escorted to the local airport in Indonesia by the FBI, where the American's remains will then be flown to Singapore before then being transported on to Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

Mack's teenaged daughter Heather, along with Heather's boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, remained behind in Bali, both being held on suspicion of murdering the 62-year-old woman, which police say occurred a week ago at the Bali St. Regis Hotel, where all three were staying.

Details about the crime include witness accounts from hotel staff and CCTV footage regarding an altercation between the victim and the couple that occurred. And hotel staff gave police information that supports a timeline regarding possible time of death as between 6:45 a.m., when the victim was last heard from, and 10 a.m., the time she was expecting a wake-up call on Wednesday.

Police have disclosed that the couple were both present when the suitcase containing the victim was placed in a taxi's trunk outside the St. Regis luxury hotel. And despite surveillance cameras recording the accused couple's sudden back door departure shortly thereafter, Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer insist they were the victims of an attack as well, which ultimately resulted in them being found by police, asleep, in another resort hotel six miles from the crime scene at the St. Regis. But not before the couple used the victim's credit card to pay for their accommodations, according to police.

Heather Mack is claiming she is pregnant and that the condition, known as ectopic, is serious and necessitates her immediate return to the U.S., according to this report from the Daily Mail, which also states that police in Bali had a local hospital run a pregnancy test on the murder victim's daughter, in order to determine if this is true or not.

And while the FBI has not disclosed who in the U.S. they believe may have also been a victim of one or both of the suspects in the Sheila von Wiese Mack case, the Daily Mail reported that the couple had only started dating after the tragic auto accident of Schaefer's former girlfriend occurred in Cape Town, South Africa. Her name was Rachel Smylie.