Police reports describe girl biting, punching mom found in suitcase
Sheila von Wiese-Mack repeatedly said in police reports she didn’t want officers to arrest her teenage daughter, Heather Mack, who is now in custody of Indonesian authorities after von Wiese-Mack’s murder.
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on Aug. 18, 2014.
The Chicago woman found stuffed in a suitcase last week on the resort island of Bali described a reign of terror by her daughter to Oak Park police in the years leading up to her death.
But Sheila von Wiese-Mack repeatedly said in police reports she didn’t want officers to arrest her teenage daughter, Heather Mack, who is now in custody of Indonesian authorities after von Wiese-Mack’s gruesome demise.
Von Wiese-Mack told police Heather Mack bit her. Repeatedly.
She claimed the girl punched her in her already broken ankle during an argument in January 2010 over household chores.
She accused Heather Mack of locking her in her room, preventing von Wiese-Mack from calling 911, and threatening to “stop leaving bruises” by hitting her widowed mother “in the head.”
Police did arrest Heather Mack after she allegedly pushed her mother in the chest, knocked her to the floor and broke her right arm in January 2011, records show.
It wouldn’t be the only time she was taken into custody. Von Wiese-Mack sometimes told police she wanted to pursue her complaints criminally.
But two years after her arm was broken, von Wiese-Mack refused to let police take pictures of a bite mark on her right wrist because she did not believe “Heather going to jail” would help the situation.
In all, Oak Park police have said they were called 86 times in 10 years to the Mack home in the 600 block of Linden. On Monday, authorities in the western suburb released records containing details of those calls in response to a Chicago Sun-Times Freedom of Information Act request.
Heather Mack’s Chicago attorney, Michael D. Elkin, declined to comment on the records. But he released a statement earlier Monday confirming that his client, who is now 18, is two months pregnant.
Since Mack has been in Indonesian police custody, Elkin said she has been sexually assaulted at least three times; found mysterious needle marks on her body; complained she wasn’t getting enough water; and said police had given her “vitamin pills” she didn’t recognize.
Elkin emphasized that Heather Mack has not been charged with any crime — and he said he is “gaining ground in finding local counsel” to represent her.
Mack and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, were arrested in Bali’s Kuta area last Wednesday, a day after von Wiese-Mack’s body was found stuffed inside a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the upscale St. Regis Bali Resort in the island’s exclusive Nusa Dua section.
An autopsy found that von Wiese-Mack, 62, died of asphyxiation from a broken nose bone resulting from a blunt blow, authorities said. She also had a broken neck.
Many of the Oak Park police reports released Monday night were prompted by complaints from von Wiese-Mack that her daughter had either gone missing or run away. Others appear to document theft or property damage unrelated to the family feuding.
But in others, von Wiese-Mack complained that her daughter suffered from depression and struggled with her role as a key witness in a wrongful death lawsuit after her father died.
Von Wiese-Mack’s late husband, highly regarded jazz and classical composer James L. Mack, died in 2006 at 76.
Heather Mack also had been hospitalized multiple times because of her violent behavior, which would allegedly lead her to break things in the home and routinely threaten her mother, according to the police reports.
Von Wiese-Mack told police she caught the girl taking explicit photographs of herself, and she accused her daughter of stealing credit cards, money and jewelry from the home.
Heather Mack denied taking $1,060 cash from her mother in one such incident in 2010, according to the reports. But Heather Mack also told police she was mad, so she took a cab to Water Tower Place “with the intention of using [von Wiese-Mack’s] credit card to go shopping.”