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Body of US woman in suitcase: Bali police chief 'sure it was premeditated murder'

Published on Aug 17, 2014 2:22 PM
 
Police escort suspect Tommy Schaffer (centre), suspected in the murder of Sheila von Wiese Mack, while in custody at Bali police hospital in Denpasar on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on August 15, 2014. Bali police chief Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu declared on Friday that Heather Mack, 19, and Tommy Schaefer, 21, a United States couple who allegedly killed Ms Mack's mother, could be charged under Article 340 of the Criminal Code on premeditated murder. -- PHOTO: AFP

DENPASAR (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - Bali police chief Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu declared on Friday that Heather Mack, 19, and Tommy Schaefer, 21, a United States couple who allegedly killed Ms Mack's mother, could be charged under Article 340 of the Criminal Code on premeditated murder.

"I'm sure it was premeditated murder. Why? Because the suspects deliberately placed the dead body in a suitcase. We will probably charge them under Article 340 of the Criminal Code," Inspector-General Benny told journalists. Article 340 carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or capital punishment.

The couple allegedly killed Ms Mack's 62-year-old mother Sheila von Weise Mack and placed her body in a silver suitcase, which they put in the trunk of a taxi at The St Regis Bali Resort last Tuesday afternoon. They then left the hotel, where they had been vacationing, via the beach.

Insp-Geb Benny gave assurances that the couple would be processed under Indonesian law as the murder had occurred in the country. "They have yet to make a statement. However, in the Indonesian legal system, if someone commits a crime in Indonesia, whoever it is, Indonesian citizen or foreigner, we will process them based on Indonesian law," Insp-Gen Benny said.

"That they have not made a statement is not a problem. All the evidence we have, including the CCTV footage, fingerprints and the luggage, shows that they were the perpetrators," he added.

Meanwhile, Ms Mack has claimed that she is pregnant. She said it was an ectopic pregnancy that required treatment in her home country.

"She told the police she is pregnant. She said it is an ectopic pregnancy and so she needs to fly back to her country soon for medical treatment," Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto confirmed on Friday.

To verify her statement, the police conducted a pregnancy test on her at the Bhayangkara police hospital on Friday.

The test was performed by Dr Sudastra, an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Ms Mack also underwent a health test on Friday.

A health test was also conducted on Mr Schaefer, who is Ms Mack's boyfriend. The couple was escorted from Denpasar Police station to the hospital in separate cars. The health test on Mr Schaefer also included a psychiatric test.

"We have yet to receive the test results," Mr Hery said. "The health test included a psychiatric test to determine her psychiatric condition."

The police have yet to interrogate the couple, who have refused to talk to the police before their lawyer arrives in Bali.

As reported previously, a taxi driver delivered a silver suitcase containing Mrs von Weise Mack's body to the South Kuta Police station on Tuesday afternoon.

According to taxi driver I Ketut Wirjana, he went to The St Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua to pick up guests. When he arrived outside the hotel lobby, a foreign man and woman told him to open the trunk and placed the suitcase inside.

They then asked him to wait while they returned to the hotel lobby, but after two hours they had not returned to the taxi. CCTV footage examined later showed that the couple had left the hotel via the beach.

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