Heather Mack, the 19-year-old Chicago woman accused of murdering her mother in Bali with the help of her boyfriend, could soon find herself in an Indonesian courtroom. Indonesian police today announced that they have completed their investigation into the murder.
According to an Associated Press report, police have formally transferred the case to prosecutors, who now have 20 days to formally indict the young couple. Police transferred evidence to prosecutors this morning, including surveillance camera footage, an iron object believed to be the murder weapon, and information from the FBI.
Mack and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, have also been transferred to the custody of prosecutors. Mack is six months pregnant.
The investigation began in August when the body of 62-year-old Shiela von Wiese-Mack was found in a suitcase in the back of a taxi at the St. Regis Bali Resort. Wiese-Mack’s body appeared to have been badly beaten and an autopsy later revealed she had a broken neck, nose, and jaw. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation due to blood from her broken nose.
Investigators have told the media that camera footage shows Schaefer hiding the iron grip of a fruit bowl under his shirt before entering Wiese-Mack’s room. Bits of iron matching the object were found in Wiese-Mack’s wounds.
Indonesian police told the AP that they had questioned 12 witnesses during their investigation. They allege that Mack and Schaefer put the suitcase containing Wiese-Mack’s body into the taxi, but never returned. Blood on the suitcase caused suspicion from hotel security and the police were contacted.
Police had earlier stated that they have enough evidence, including fingerprints and video footage, to charge Mack and Schaefer with premeditated murder. In Indonesia the maximum penalty for premeditated murder is death.
Mack and Schaefer had originally told police that Wiese-Mack was killed by robbers. In early October Mack changed her story, telling police that Schaefer beat her mother after Wiese-Mack had used racial slurs. Mack’s lawyers clarified that Mack had not seen her mother die and did not help put the body into the suitcase.