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Police investigate possible premeditated murder of U.S. tourist in Bali

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[August 15, 2014]  By Trisha Sertori
 DENPASAR Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian police said on Friday those responsible for the killing of an American woman, whose remains were found inside a bloodied suitcase on the resort island of Bali, could face the death penalty if the case is deemed premeditated murder.

No charges have so far been pressed over the murder of Chicago-based Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, whose battered body was found in the suitcase outside the St. Regis luxury hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali, earlier this week.

Her daughter, Heather Mack, 19, and boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, 21, were arrested on Wednesday and detained as suspects.

Police said the young couple had checked out of the five-star St. Regis hotel, where a single room can cost as much as $1,340 a night, on Tuesday.

Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto confirmed police were looking at the possibility of premeditated murder, a crime that carries the death sentence.

"Did they prepare the suitcase before the murder? Did they leave the room to prepare weapons? The investigation still has a long way to go," Wiyanto said.

Indonesian police said the investigation could take weeks.

On Thursday, police said they had run psychiatric tests on the teenage daughter of the slain American woman, formerly an editor for famed oral historian Studs Terkel who later studied with Nobel literature laureate Saul Bellow at the University of Chicago.

An official at the hospital that conducted the autopsy said von Wiese-Mack had been repeatedly hit on the face and head with a blunt object.

Von Wiese-Mack had recently moved to a condominium in Chicago. Her husband, and Heather's father, classical music composer James Mack, died in 2006.

(Reporting by Trisha Sertori in DENPASAR; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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