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Woman's body found in suitcase in Bali

The daughter of an American woman whose dead body was found stuffed into a suitcase in Bali has been arrested, along with her boyfriend.

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The badly beaten body of a US woman was found stuffed inside a suitcase on a resort island in Indonesia, and authorities have arrested her 19-year-old daughter and the daughter's boyfriend, officials said.

The body of Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62, was discovered on Tuesday after the suitcase was left in the trunk of a taxi outside the Saint Regis Bali luxury resort, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.

Ms Mack's daughter Heather and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaeffer, were taken into custody after they were found by police sleeping in a hotel room in Kuta, about  10 kilometres from the Saint Regis, according to CNN and the Associated Press. No charges have been announced.

St Regis Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali.

St Regis Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali.

"The couple are now being detained and interrogated," Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto told Reuters.

The couple told police they had been taken captive at the resort by an armed gang whose members killed Ms Mack but they later managed to escape, CNN reported. But hotel workers and the taxi driver who discovered the body gave a different version of events, local media reported.

The taxi driver told police that the daughter and the boyfriend hailed him at the St Regis, placing one bag in the boot and two more in the back seat, according to Trans TV. They then went back into the hotel and did not return.

Heather Mack, daughter of Sheila Von Wiese Mack, is escorted by an Indonesian police officer.

Heather Mack, daughter of Sheila Von Wiese Mack, is escorted by an Indonesian police officer. Photo: AFP

After two hours, the taxi driver said he entered the hotel and spoke to employees, who went to the family's rooms and found them empty, the station reported.

When the taxi driver and a manager opened the trunk, they saw blood on the luggage and drove the car to a police station, where Ms Mack's body was found inside a hard-sided gray suitcase, Trans TV reported.

Ida Bagus Putu Alit, a forensic expert at the hospital that conducted an autopsy, said Ms Mack had been "hit by a blunt object and the blows were concentrated on the face and head."

Tommy Schaefer is brought to a police station for questioning about the death of his girlfriend's mother.

Tommy Schaefer is brought to a police station for questioning about the death of his girlfriend's mother. Photo: AP

"There were signs of a struggle by the victim, as there were bruises on her arms and some fingers were broken," Dr Alit added.

Neighbours in the quiet, tree-lined  Chicago neighbourhood where Ms Mack and her daughter lived said they were each sweet, friendly and gregarious. But their relationship appeared troubled.

"Police were here all the time," said one neighbour. "They would call police on each other. It turned very abusive and volatile."

The suitcase displayed at a police station in Nusa Dua, Bali.

The suitcase displayed at a police station in Nusa Dua, Bali. Photo: AFP

Police from the suburb of Oak Park confirmed that police were frequently called to the home.

"Between January 2004 and today, officers had been called to that residence 86 times," said David Powers, spokesman for the Village of Oak Park. "The last call was in June 2013, and they basically said they were a wide range of calls, mostly for domestic trouble and theft. There were several missing person calls, and a few 911 hang-ups that police responded to."

After Ms Mack's husband, James Mack, died in 2006, the mother and daughter continued the family tradition of taking exotic family vacations. This summer it was Bali, "maybe trying to make it work," the neighbour said. "Since her dad died, it was ongoing," said the neighbour. "Your typical teenage stuff would blow up into major, major stuff."

Heather Mack is a talented dancer who attended Oak Park-River Forest High School, where her boyfriend also went to school, neighbours said.

Her mother loved music, like her late husband, and had concerts in her backyard. She was always sweet and helpful, the neighbours said.

"They were gracious people," said another neighbour, who often talked to Sheila Mack when she walked her dog or saw her at neighbourhood block parties. "She was always very friendly, eager to talk and worried about Heather.

"She was trying her very best to do anything Heather needed and she seemed devoted to her," the neighbour said.

Her daughter was "the nicest kid," said a third neighbour.

Whenever Sheila Mack ran into neighbours, she would often bring up her daughter and ask for advice.

"She talked to everybody about her daughter," said the neighbour, who like the others did not want to give her name. "I think she was always looking for help to some degree."

MCT