– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: The body of an American tourist from Chicago has been found stuffed into a suitcase in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali and the victim’s daughter and her boyfriend have been arrested for what police suspect was a gruesome murder.
“There has been no confession yet but the couple are now being detained and interrogated,” Hery Wiyanto, Bali police spokesman, told Reuters by phone, adding the killing took place on Tuesday.
Heather Louise Mack, 19, and Tommy Schaefer, 21, were arrested on Wednesday after a day-long chase.
Ida Bagus Putu Alit, a forensic expert at the hospital that conducted an autopsy, said Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, had been “hit by a blunt object and the blows were concentrated on the face and head.”
“There were signs of a struggle by the victim as there were bruises on her arms and some fingers were broken,” Alit added.
The Mack family lived for a number of years in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois.
Oak Park spokesman David Powers said on Wednesday police responded to 86 calls from the Mack home due to incidents between mother and daughter from 2004 through June 2013.
No arrests were ever made from the calls, which were a combination of reports of domestic violence, theft, missing person and 911 hang-ups, Powers said.
Von Wiese-Mack more recently had moved to a condominium in Chicago. Her husband and the father of Heather Louise Mack, classical music composer James Mack, died in 2006.
Laura Voigt, a pianist in Oak Park and friend to James Mack, said she remembered seeing mother and daughter fight outside the local high school one morning.
“I was worried about Sheila,” Voigt said.
Von Wiese-Mack had worked as an editor for famed oral historian Studs Terkel and later studied with writer Saul Bellow at the University of Chicago.
Georgia Parchem, a neighbour and friend in Oak Park, said von Wiese-Mack was a “lovely, charming woman” and the Macks often held parties involving “artists and friends from all over the city.”
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the department is aware of the reports of a U.S. citizen’s death in Bali and the arrests of two people in connection with the case. She declined to give details due to privacy considerations.
“Obviously we are monitoring it and will provide any consular access as appropriate,” Harf said.
— Phuket Gazette Editors