U.S. suspect in Bali suitcase murder of mother appoints new lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 27, 2014 3:10 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A U.S. teenager detained in Bali in connection with the grisly death of her mother has hired a new Indonesian lawyer on the advice of her U.S.-based legal team, her police-appointed attorney said.

Heather Mack, 19, was scheduled to be questioned by police this week when she would be advised by a new lawyer, Haposan Sihombing, her current legal representative, told Reuters.

"We received a letter from (Chicago-based attorney) Michael Elkin...to appoint an Indonesian lawyer by the name of Raja Nasution," Sihombing said. He did not elaborate.

Mack, 19, from Chicago, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, were arrested on Aug. 13 as suspects in the death of Mack's mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, whose battered body was found in a suitcase in a taxi outside the resort island of Bali's luxury St. Regis hotel.

An official at the hospital that conducted the autopsy said von Wiese-Mack had been repeatedly hit on the face and head with a blunt object.

Mack and her mother had a troubled relationship and von Wiese-Mack had frequently reported that her daughter punched and bit her, according to police reports cited by Chicago media.

Von Wiese-Mack had recently moved to a condominium in Chicago. Her husband, and Heather's father, classical music composer James Mack, died in 2006.

Mack has so far refused to make a statement to police or to Sihombing. It was not clear whether Schaefer has retained an American attorney.

The two suspects have not been formally charged with a crime. Under Indonesian law, charges would follow an investigation that could take weeks.

(Reporting by Dennys Kapa; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Nick Macfie)