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Atty: Chicago teen innocent in Bali "suitcase murder"

CHICAGO - An attorney for a 19-year-old Chicago woman accused in the death of her mother, who was found stuffed inside a suitcase on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, says the teen had no involvement in her mother's death, reports CBS Chicago.

The body of Mack's mother, 62-year-old Sheila Von Wiese-Mack, was found Tuesday in the trunk of a taxi parked in front of The St. Regis Bali Resort in the island's upscale Nusa Dua area, where she had been vacationing with her daughter, authorities said.

The mother was beaten to death, reports the station.

The victim's daughter, Heather Mack, and the daughter's boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, were arrested Wednesday morning at a hotel in Bali's Kuta area, about 6 miles from the St. Regis, according to authorities.

The suitcase found containing the body of Sheila Von Wiese-Mack SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images

Attorney Michael Elkin, who represents Heather Mack, says that any allegations that his client was involved in her mother's death are not true and "will be disproven as the investigation continues or at the conclusion of trial, if formal charges are indeed filed," reports the station.

Elkin reportedly says he has been retained by Heather Mack to help secure legal counsel in Indonesia, where she is being held. He said it would be up to her attorney in Indonesia to decide what role Elkin will play in any legal proceedings.

According to the station, Elkin said the U.S. Consul's office in eastern Indonesia helped make arrangements for him to speak with the teen on Thursday.

Heather Mack and Schaefer have not been charged. They have only been detained as suspects, according to the station.

Reuters reports authorities in Bali said they have conducted blood and psychiatric tests on Heather Mack and Schaefer to determine a motive in the case.

Television images of Heather Mack reportedly show her laughing and telling a group of reporters, "You are crazy."

Col. Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief in Bali's capital, Denpasar, said that Heather Mack and Schaefer hired a taxi Tuesday afternoon and then placed the suitcase inside the car's trunk. The two then told the taxi driver that they were going to check out of the hotel and would return, he said, citing the driver, I Ketut Wirjana.

However, after two hours, Heather Mack and Schaefer had not reappeared, Utomo said. Hotel security guards found blood spots on the suitcase, and suggested that Wirjana drive the taxi to the police station. Officers at the station opened the suitcase and discovered the body.

Von Wiese-Mack and her daughter arrived at the St. Regis on Saturday, while Schaefer checked in on Monday, Utomo said.

CCTV footage shows that the victim had an argument with Schaefer on Monday in the hotel's lobby, he said.

Von Wiese-Mack was the widow of highly regarded jazz and classical composer James L. Mack of Oak Park, Illinois, who died in 2006 at age 76.

The doorman at the Chicago apartment building where Von Wiese-Mack and her daughter live described the slain 62-year-old as a wonderful mother, who devoted her life to raising her daughter, CBS Chicago reports.

Prior to moving to Chicago, the family lived in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Ill., for many years. Authorities were reportedly called to that home over 80 times between January 2004 and June 2013, mostly for domestic incidents. There were also reportedly calls reporting a theft and a missing person, as well as some calls in which someone hung up.

Last month, Schaefer was arrested and Heather Mack was detained last month at the Conrad Hotel in Chicago after an employee called police about a disturbance. Chicago Police said Schaefer was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and breach of peace. Heather Mack was released without charges filed.

Schaefer also reportedly has a 2012 conviction for simple assault. He had previous drug- and alcohol-related arrests, too, but charges were dropped in those cases, reports the station.

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