Thursday, August 14, 2014

Indonesia/Illinois: Update--Murder of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62

According to The Associated Press in Chicago, as Indonesian police question the 19-year-old daughter of a woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in Bali, authorities in an upscale Chicago suburb examined records of 86 incidents in which police were called to the family's home.

Sheila von Wiese-Mack lived with her daughter, Heather, in Oak Park, IL. Police disturbance calls for service began in 2004, and ended in June 2013, according to village of Oak Park spokesman David Powers, who also said the family moved out about a year ago. 

The bulk of the calls were missing-person reports, and others included domestic problems and theft.

Mr. Powers didn't have details about the calls, but said none resulted in arrests. He added there were a number of emergency 911 calls made from the residence in which the caller hung up, and, as is standard procedure, the police department sent a squad car to investigate.

The body of the 62-year-old Shelia von Wiese-Mack was found Tuesday (August 12) inside a suitcase left in a trunk of a taxi. It was parked in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort in the island's upscale Nusa Dua area, Denpasar, Bali, police chief Col. Djoko Hari Utomo has said.

On Wednesday (August 13), police arrested Heather Mack, 19, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, who is also from the Chicago area. 

COMMENT: On February 2, 2013, the battered body of Long Island resident Sarai Sierra, 33, was found in Istanbul, Turkey. Ms. Sierra, who was married, and had never traveled abroad in her life, strangely embarked on an exodus that would eventually lead to her death.

I ask our readers to review my posting of February 11, 2013:

I have spent most of my adult career as a US federal agent and Senior Regional Security Officer (SRSO) investigating just about every conceivable wrongful injury or death that can confront a foreign traveler abroad.

I suspect that the only "take-away" for our readers is that the WORST possible place for any relationship problem that people from all walks of life often encounter is "away from home...wherever home is."

As most of our readers know by now, Shelia von Wiese-Mack, 62, formerly of Chicago, was found dead, stuffed into a piece of luggage in Bali on Tuesday (August 12).

Initial facts seem to suggest that Shelia was murdered by her daughter, Heather Mack, 19, and Heather's boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, on or about August 12:

Few details were available from Bali, but the police records from the upscale Chicago suburb could shed light on the relationship between the mother and daughter. Friends have also started talking to local reporters, alleging that the mother-daughter relationship was often contentious.

Wiese-Mack was the widow of highly regarded jazz and classical composer James L. Mack, who died in 2006.

Seven years later, Wiese-Mack was featured in a profile by a century-old Chicago book club called the Caxton Club, where she was a member. In it, she described doing research for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, studying under Saul Bellow and working as an editor for author Studs Terkel.

A long-time friend and assistant of Terkel, Sydney Lewis, confirmed Wiese-Mack had, in fact, worked for Terkel, but she said that her duties were limited to transcribing for the famed Chicago writer.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.