CHICAGO (CBS) — As authorities in Indonesia investigate the asphyxiation death of a Chicago woman whose body was stuffed in a suitcase in Bali, a picture has begun emerging of a long history of bad blood between her and her daughter, who has been arrested in her death.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found dead last week. Her daughter, 19-year-old Heather Mack, and her daughter’s boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, have been arrested in connection with the killing, and could be charged with premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of death.
Three years ago a Cook County judge approved a $1.5 million settlement in a lawsuit von Wiese-Mack’s late husband had filed against Royal Caribbean Cruises, after injuring his foot on a cruise ship.
He had been dead for years by the time the lawsuit was settled, so the bulk of the settlement — $840,000 – went to von Wiese-Mack. The Sun-Times reported James Mack’s will indicated he was providing only for his daughter, Heather Mack, who was 10 at the time he signed his will.
However, in 2012, a judge allowed von Wiese-Mack to pay herself the $500,000 that went to her late husband’s estate.
The Sun-Times also has obtained police reports from 86 visits police made to von Wiese-Mack’s former home in Oak Park from January 2004 to June 2013. The reports detail repeated allegations from von Wiese-Mack that Heather Mack punched and bit her, though she regularly asked police not to arrest Heather.
Police did arrest Heather Mack in January 2011, after she allegedly knocked her mother to the floor and broke her arm.
Von Wiese-Mack’s body was found last week, stuffed inside a suitcase Mack and Schaefer allegedly placed in the trunk of a taxi in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort.
Authorities in Indonesia have said Mack and Schaefer told the cab driver they were going back into the hotel to check out, but they instead fled out the back of the hotel. The cabbie discovered von Wiese-Macks’ body about two hours later, when he drove to the police station after noticing blood on the suitcase.
An autopsy found von Wiese-Mack died of asphyxiation due to a broken nose, which was caused by blunt force. She also had suffered broken bones in her head, neck, and face. Wounds on her forerarms and hands indicated she tried to defend herself.
Authorities in Indonesia have said von Wiese-Mack’s body will be flown back to the United States on Wednesday.
Most recently, von Wiese-Mack and her daughter had been living in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. Sources said the repeated domestic disputes in Oak Park continued after they moved to Chicago, and police visited their Gold Coast home several times.
Last month, police were called to the Conrad Chicago Hotel on Rush Street, after von Wiese-Mack accused her daughter of using her credit card without authorization to pay for a party at the hotel. Schaefer and Mack were both detained after a hotel employee called police about a disturbance. Schaefer was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and breach of peace. Mack was released without charges.
Mack’s Chicago-based attorney, Michael Elkin, has said she told him she has been sexually assaulted and drugged while in custody, though police have denied any mistreatment. Mack also has said she is two months pregnant.