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2 Americans arrested in Bali under suicide watch

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 20, 2014 at 11:11 pm •  Published: August 20, 2014

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — An American couple arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of murdering the woman's mother and stuffing her body into a suitcase at a resort hotel are being held under a suicide watch, their appointed lawyer said Wednesday.

Haposan Sihombing, an Indonesian lawyer assigned to the couple by Bali police, said Heather Mack and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, are refusing to talk to investigators. Their American attorney said this week that Heather Mack is two months pregnant and complained about her treatment in custody.

Sihombing said Mack, 19, is being detained at the Denpasar police station while Schaefer, 21, is being held separately at the provincial police headquarters. Neither has been charged, but Indonesian police say they are investigating it as a possible case of premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of death.

"All materials that can be used for suicide such as ropes, long trousers, and clothes with straps are being kept away from them," Sihombing said.

The body of Mack's 62-year-old mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, was found last week inside a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi in front of an upscale Bali hotel. The couple was arrested the next day at a hotel about 10 kilometers (six miles) away.

The couple told police that von Wiese-Mack was killed by robbers, while they managed to escape. Security camera video showed that the victim earlier had an argument with Schaefer in the first hotel's lobby.

Von Wiese-Mack's body was being flown back to the U.S. early Wednesday. An autopsy found she had died of asphyxiation after her nose was broken by a blunt blow.

Sihombing said the two are refusing to talk to investigators until the arrival of their American lawyer, Michael Elkin, who was en route to Indonesia on Wednesday.

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