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US couple face Bali murder charge

An American couple have been charged with murder after the body of the woman's 62-year-old mother was found stuffed in a suitcase on the resort island of Bali.

Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, were arrested on Wednesday in Bali's Kuta area, a day after the body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found inside the boot of a taxi parked in front of the St Regis Bali Resort.

The charges are based on witnesses and crime scene evidence, said Bali deputy police chief Brig Gen Gusti Ngurah Raharja Subyakta.

Police said the couple hired the taxi and then placed the suitcase inside the boot. Police said they told the taxi driver that they were going to check out of the hotel and would return. After they did not show up, hotel security guards who found blood spots on the suitcase, suggested the driver take the taxi to the police station, where officers opened the suitcase and discovered the body.

The couple told investigators that the woman was killed by robbers while they managed to escape, according to the police chief for Bali's provincial capital of Denpasar, Col Djoko Hari Utomo. He said that contradicted testimonies by the taxi driver and hotel employees.

Mrs von Wiese-Mack, also from Chicago, and her daughter arrived at the St Regis on Saturday, while Schaefer checked in on Monday, police said.

CCTV footage shows that Mrs von Wiese-Mack had an argument with Schaefer on Monday in the hotel's lobby.

Head of forensics Ida Bagus Putu Alit said there were signs of violence on the body indicating the woman fought before she died.

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