An American man has confessed to killing his girlfriend’s mother, whose body was found in a suitcase in Bali, police have said.
Tommy Schaefer, 21, said he carried out the crime after an argument with victim Sheila von Wiese Mack, officers added.
Schaefer’s partner, Heather Mack, 19, claimed she watched him kill her mother and then helped stuff the body into the case, said the police chief in Bali’s capital Denpasar.
The couple were arrested on the island on August 13, a day after the 62-year-old victim was discovered in the boot of a taxi at the St Regis hotel where the three had been staying.
Colonel Djoko Heru Utomo said: “Schaefer confessed to killing von Wiese-Mack during police interrogation. He was hurt and offended by the victim’s words in an argument with him. That is the motive for the murder.”
He said Ms Mack, who is three months’ pregnant, admitted her involvement during a separate interrogation.
The pair are in custody in Bali while police investigate and could face the death penalty if found guilty of premeditated murder.
Police say they have interviewed dozens of witnesses, including the taxi driver and hotel employees, and some had reported an argument among the three over who should pay for the rooms.
Security camera video showed the victim having an argument with Schaefer in the hotel reception.
Police have said the couple hired the taxi and placed the suitcase inside the boot.
They then told the driver they were going to check out of the hotel and would return.
After they did not show up, hotel security guards who found blood on the suitcase suggested the driver take the vehicle to the police station. That was when officers opened the case and discovered the body.
Col Utomo said the pair were accompanied by their Indonesian and US lawyers during the interrogations.
The pair are yet to be charged with any crime because, under the Indonesian legal system, suspects are not formally charged until they appear in court at the start of a trial.
A trial will only begin once police have completed their investigations and passed the evidence to prosecutors. The victim and the suspects are all from the Chicago area.
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