Sheila Von Wiese Mack, an American woman on holiday in Bali, was found dead this week, her body bloodied and crammed into a hard shell suitcase. The horrific discovery led to the woman’s daughter and her boyfriend, who were on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on vacation with the victim, being detained and questioned. Two very different accounts have emerged thus far.
Writes CNN on Aug. 13: “The body of Sheila von Weise Mack, 62, was found with head wounds, stuffed in a hard-sided piece of gray luggage at the prestigious St. Regis Bali Resort on Tuesday, said Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief of Denpasar, the capital of Bali. Police are waiting on forensic information to determine the time and cause of death.”
The daughter, 19-year-old Heather Mack, and the daughter's boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, are being held under Bali law. They can be kept in custody for 24 hours before being released or named as suspects in this gruesome killing. After finding Sheila’s body crammed in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi, police found the pair sleeping in their posh hotel room at the St. Regis Bali in Nusa Dua. They have since been arrested and named as suspects.
“When we opened the suitcase we were really surprised as we found a dead body,” South Kuta Police Chief Comr. Gede Redastra said. “There was blood and wounds to her forehead.”
CNN reports that “police said the couple told them that they had been taken captive at the resort Tuesday by an armed gang, whose members killed Sheila von Weise Mack, but they escaped, Trans TV reported. However, hotel workers and the taxi driver who turned in the body to police gave a different version of events.”
The taxicab driver said the couple brought the suitcase over to his car, placed it in the trunk, and then took off, saying they would return shortly. They never did.
“After they put in the suitcase, they went back into the lobby,” driver Ketut Wirjana said. “They told me to wait. But after waiting almost two hours, they hadn’t appeared.”
Mack, a widow from Illinois and an American national who reportedly worked for the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, died of “blunt force trauma wounds.” The medical examiner also noted that Mack had bruising on her wrists and broken nails – indicating a possible struggle. Two other smaller suitcases were found in the hotel’s gardens. The suitcases contained blood-soaked hotel towels.
Police said that after reviewing hotel footage and talking with guests, they believe Schaefer may have killed his girlfriend’s mother after a heated argument.
“We don’t know yet why he killed the victim,” Redastra said. “But Tommy and the victim had a fight last night in the hotel lobby.”
The Daily Mail, which carried multiple pictures of Mack, Heather and her boyfriend, is painting a very ill picture of Mack's daughter Heather. Mack's friends called the 19-year-old a "vicious little monster," and said they warned Sheila not to take Heather on the dream trip.
Writes the Mail:
The news comes as it emerged police had been called to victim Sheila von Wiese Mack's suburban Chicago home some 86 times to break up fights between the wealthy academic and her daughter, Heather Mack, 19, a college dropout who was “hanging out with a bad crowd” and had recently moved into a hotel.
The two had an often tempestuous relationship, recalled close friend Mark Bacharach, and had been fighting prior to the vacation at the luxury St. Regis hotel on the Indonesian island resort. But Mrs. Mack tracked down her daughter, and despite the fact she “barely recognized her anymore” the two set off on the 10-day-plus trip to the other side of the globe, where the 62-year-old ultimately met a grisly end.
“She tried to hope when it came [to Heather],” Bacharach told NBC News. “That was my friend's most outstanding characteristic. At least four or five of us would say to kick her out. She was hanging out with a bad crowd. But Sheila always took her back. [Heather] could be as charming and self-effacingly sweet one minute, and then a vicious little monster the next.”