Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Encounter With Sheila Mack The Bali Suitcase Murder Victim

On the front page of the Sun Times I saw the picture of a battered & bloodstained suitcase that contained the body of Shelia Mack. It was someone I’d met and done some work for not long ago. She was apparently murdered and stuffed in the bag by her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. It was a tragic end for two people who on the surface lived the kind of life that most people would kill to have. But not one I was really surprised to hear about despite the briefness of our encounter.

They lived in a gorgeous old mansion on the north side of Oak Park IL. Just around the corner from a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. It was a house originally built for a bank president and among its unique features was a vault in the basement. When I met her Shelia was in the process of cleaning out her house and moving into the city. Her husband had passed away, the house needed a lot of repair work, and she felt that her and her daughter needed a change of scene.

Johnny Mack had been a music arranger / producer / composer with a large collection of old classical records and books. These are two areas that I have some background in which is why I was called in to help by a friend of a friend who had been hired to do the house sale(s). Shelia also had some furniture she wanted to sell on eBay which is another thing that I do. It was while I was photographing these elaborately carved wooden swings and gathering background on them that I had my brief encounters these two people.

My impression was that this was at one time a home a family shared many years ago. Though still reflecting intelligence and good taste it was now just a house filled with tension that two people lived in. Shelia was distraught and fearful over the direction her daughter Heather’s life had taken, her boyfriend / accomplice in particular. I met though never conversed with Heather but she seemed like an adolescent antisocial misfit who radiated hostility. I was one myself once so I know the signs. Shelia was in a hurry to sell the house and complete the move and get her daughter out of town.

A good plan but in the end she didn’t move far enough away. After a couple of visits to the house my work was done and not long afterwards I heard that Sheila had sold the house and was living in Chicago. The boyfriend issue was just a symptom of a deeper problem that haunted these two people. Just a few weeks after Heather was caught partying with new boyfriend Tommy and friends at a luxury hotel on Sheila’s credit card the pair left on a luxury vacation. Even though friends warned not to take her with.

But the trouble just followed them to the St. Regis on the island paradise of Bali. Two days after mother and daughter arrived Tommy turned up. Apparently a fight erupted over who was going to pay for the additional hotel room. It was a fight that ended in murder. They stuffed the body into a suitcase then left it with a taxi driver. Ditched the driver and then checked into another hotel where they partied on the dead woman’s credit card.

For more on the gory details of this crime follow this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment