The case of the American couple being questioned in connection with the killing of the woman’s mother in Bali has taken yet another turn.
Heather Mack, the 19-year-old Chicago area woman whose mother was found dead in a suitcase last week, is about two months pregnant, her attorney said, according to Agence France-Presse. And Mack is accusing Indonesian authorities of physically and sexually abusing her while in custody.
She and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, have been detained in the country for nearly a week while police investigate the circumstances of Sheila von-Wiese Mack’s death.
Vn-Wiese Mack’s half-naked body was found beaten and stuffed into a grey, hard-shelled suitcase on Aug. 12. A taxi driver found the body after Mack and Schaefer brought that suitcase and other pieces of luggage from the hotel to the taxi, then abandoned them. Police said surveillance video shows the pair leaving the luxury St. Regis Bali Resort through the back, on a strip of beach behind the property.
They have been assigned an Indonesian lawyer but have refused to talk to police without their American lawyer, Michael Elkin.
Elkin said Mack tearfully told him that she was sexually assaulted three times while in custody, according to CBS 2 in Chicago.
“I said, ‘Were you touched?’ And she said ‘Yes,’” Elkin told the TV station. “I said, ‘Were you touched inappropriately?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’”
In a separate statement reported by AFP, Elkin said: “Heather was told that if she does not speak to the police she will be deprived of food and water. Heather was told that unless her attorney arrives within days she will be deprived of food and water and that he will be denied access to meet with her.”
But Indonesian authorities deny that there has been mistreatment. In fact, they say, Mack and Schaefer have been given a relative luxury: fried chicken from KFC.
Citing police sources, News Corp Australia Network said Schaefer complained that they had been given the fast food because he is black and “KFC is for the lower echelons of society.” Police countered that in Bali, KFC is too expensive for all but the most well-off Indonesians to afford.
“We have already given treatment that is more than normal,” said Denpasar Police Chief Djoko Hari Utomo, according to News.com.au, in response to Elkin’s claims. “We give the same food for all suspects. We also give special attention to her as she is still young. This is a transition period for her.”
The body of von-Wiese Mack, a Chicago-area widower, will be flown from Indonesia to the United States on Wednesday, according to News.com.au.
In the final moments of her life, von-Wiese Mack struggled, according to an autopsy that was conducted over the weekend. There were indications of a broken neck, a broken nose and asphyxiation, News.com.au reported.
According to Reuters, Indonesian officials say that an FBI agent has arrived in Indonesia to assist in the investigation.
“We are strengthening our investigation so we know what happened. The FBI has already come and is helping us,” Hari Utomo said.
Mack and Schaefer have been officially designated as suspects in the case, but charges are not typically filed in Indonesia until the investigation is complete and the trial begins.
They have said that armed burglars killed von-Wiese Mack and that they managed to escape to a nearby hotel, where police discovered them the following day.
If tried and convicted of pre-meditated murder, they could face a death sentence, which would be carried out by firing squad.