They called each other Bonnie and Clyde.
And as they planned the gruesome death of Sheila von Wiese-Mack in Bali last year, Tommy Schaefer and Heather Mack allegedly traded text messages that ranged from giddy to tense — all the way up to the fatal moment.
Federal authorities opened a new window this week into the minds of the young Chicago couple by charging Schaefer’s cousin, Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs, for the role they say he played in the murder plot. A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday after his arrest in Chicago contains roughly five pages of typo-riddled text messages between Schaefer and Mack.
In the hours before they set their plan into action, Mack allegedly told Schaefer by text she “literally cant wait” for her mother’s murder.
The death of the 62-year-old Chicagoan generated international headlines after von Wiese-Mack’s body was found in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi outside the St. Regis Bali Resort. Mack and Schaefer were later convicted in Indonesia for the slaying. Schaefer, 22, is serving an 18-year prison sentence. Mack, 19, was sentenced to 10 years.
Now Bibbs, 24, could face life in prison if convicted in the United States of conspiring with the couple. He is expected to appear Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez.
The feds say Schaefer expected to put his hands on up to $11 million through Mack’s inheritance. Von Wiese-Mack took her daughter on an Indonesian vacation in August 2014, and Bibbs allegedly said he knew Mack wanted to attempt the murder there.
Authorities say von Wiese-Mack’s credit card was used to pay the $12,209 airfare so Schaefer could join Mack in Bali.
While the couple otherwise communicated openly in texts about their plan, they used the phrase “saying hi” as code for the Aug. 12, 2014 murder. Mack allegedly told Schaefer they should wait until von Wiese-Mack fell asleep. Schaefer allegedly told her, “wait til it’s a heavy snore.”
At 8:20 a.m., Mack allegedly texted Schaefer, “Theres no better time to say hi is there?” And for the next 37 minutes, the feds say the couple traded the following messages:
Schaefer told Mack to “Go with your gut baby . . . I’ll be outside! If u need me I’ll hear it.”
Later, Schaefer wrote: “I promise you heather. All u have to do g Is get her weak. G no listen. I’ll be standing by the door. Coming now.”
Then he referenced their “Bonnie and Clyde” nicknames.
“Relax,” Schaefer wrote. “Ur Bonnie. Do it.”
The couple discussed using a “big a– pole” to attack von Wiese-Mack. They used the letters “ko” for knocking their victim out.
“Are you sure she’ll ko,” Mack wrote.
Officials believe Schaefer managed to hide in the bathroom of the room von Wiese-Mack shared with her daughter before the murder took place. Indonesian authorities believe a large fruit bowl, attached to a stand, was used to beat von Wiese-Mack to death.
“Okay slow but don’t keep the door open for too long,” Mack wrote. “Too much light comes in. Text when yiure in. Slow g quiet. If i talk at all just come in quick.”
Eventually, Schaefer wrote, “Here I come.” And later, Mack replied, “Good job. Stay over there. Shes facing the other way.”
“She’s so awake,” Schaefer wrote.
Mack later replied, “Cant we sfcate [suffocate] her together.”
Eventually, Schaefer warned, “Phones on 1%.”
As their exchange came to a close, Schaefer wrote, “Let me just creep up. And wack her. Once I do it. She was drunk slipped and fell.”
Finally, Mack replied, “Okay g. Okay just knock her out. Itll be so much easier. Is the door closed. Phone dead, ?”
And within moments, the feds say, von Wiese-Mack was bludgeoned to death.
In an emailed statement, von Wiese-Mack’s brother, William A. Wiese wrote: “Reading the criminal complaint against Bibbs is very difficult, agonizing and sad, but it starts to give a glimpse into what really happened in the brutal murder of our dear sister, Sheila. I am so thankful for the tireless work of the FBI and US Justice Department in seeking justice for Sheila. The powerful and overwhelming evidence from the text messages quoted in the criminal complaint appear to demonstrate premeditation and a complete and utter lack of remorse from Schafer and Mack.”