The body of a Chicago woman who was allegedly bludgeoned to death and stuffed in a suitcase at a resort hotel in Bali is expected to be sent back to the U.S. to be examined by the FBI.
Sheila von Wiese-Mack's body was found stuffed in a hard-sided suitcase in the back of a taxi outside the St. Regis hotel Aug. 12. Police on the Indonesian island have arrested her 18-year-old daughter, Heather Mack, and her daughter's boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, in connection with her slaying.
An autopsy revealed that von Wiese-Mack, 62, died of asphyxiation due to severe trauma to her face and that her neck was also broken, according to news reports. Police said she was beaten with a lamp and an ashtray.
Last week, the FBI sent an agent to Bali to coordinate with local police and help organize the return of von Wiese-Mack's body to the U.S., according to CBS News. It is unclear when the body will arrive on U.S. soil.
Meanwhile, Michael Elkin, a Chicago-based attorney who said he represents Mack, said Monday in a statement that his client had suffered abuse and had been sexually assaulted while in police custody.
Elkin said in the statement that, over the course of several conversations with Mack, she told him she had been sexually assaulted since her arrest and that she noticed what appeared to be needle marks on her body that she could not explain.
The attorney also said that Mack told him she was not getting proper nourishment.
“Heather seemed to be dazed and confounded,” Elkin said in his statement.
“I asked why she sounded incoherent at times. She said that she was not getting enough water. She also mentioned that she was being given ‘vitamin pills,' but could not identify what they were for and asked me if she should stop taking them.”
Police officials in Bali have denied that Mack or Schaefer have been mistreated, telling reporters that both have been dealt with humanely, according to reports.
Neither has been formally charged, but officials have said that Mack and Schaefer will be tried in her slaying. They could face the death penalty if found guilty of premeditated murder, according to officials.
Mack grew up in Oak Park with her mother and father, noted jazz composer James Mack, who died in 2006 on a family vacation in Greece. Over the course of the next decade, her relationship with her mother grew increasingly fractured and occasionally violent.
In 2011 she was arrested on domestic battery, aggravated battery and battery charges after an argument with her mother.
Schaefer, an aspiring rap artist, was arrested by Chicago police last month in a disorderly conduct case at a downtown hotel where he and Mack allegedly booked a room and ran up a nearly $1,000 tab using von Wiese-Mack's credit card without her authorization.
On the day of von Wiese-Mack's death, witnesses said they saw her arguing with her daughter and Schaefer over who would pay the hotel bill.
Later, the couple loaded a suitcase into the trunk of a waiting taxi, refusing offers of help from the hotel staff.
The original taxi driver waited two hours before opening the trunk, where he discovered the bloody suitcase and drove it to a police station.