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September 23, 2015

Chicago Man Charged in Connection with the Murder of Sheila Von Wiese in Bali, Indonesia

WASHINGTON—A Chicago man has been charged for conspiring with his cousin and cousin’s girlfriend to kill a U.S. citizen at a resort in Bali, Indonesia, in August 2014, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Chicago today.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon for the Northern District of Illinois and Acting Special Agent in Charge John A. Brown of the FBI’s Chicago Division made the announcement.

According to the complaint, Robert Ryan Justin Bibbs, 24, of Chicago, advised his cousin, Tommy Schaefer, and Schaefer’s girlfriend, Heather Mack, on how to kill Mack’s mother, Sheila Von Wiese in August 2014. The complaint alleges that, on or about Aug. 2, 2014, Von Wiese and Mack departed Chicago for a vacation in Bali, Indonesia. On or about Aug. 12, 2014, Schaefer allegedly departed Chicago and arrived in Indonesia at the same resort where Mack and the victim were staying. The complaint alleges that, within hours of Schaefer’s arrival, the victim was bludgeoned to death, and Schaefer and Mack stuffed the body in a suitcase and placed it in a taxi cab, which was later discovered by Indonesian police.

According to the complaint, Bibbs knew of the plot to kill Von Wiese before Schaefer and Mack carried it out, advised them on how to kill the victim, and counseled Schaefer on how to evade detection by law enforcement. According to the complaint, Bibbs did so because he believed that Schaefer would gain access to Von Wiese’s estate through the victim’s daughter, Mack, and that Schaefer would share the inheritance with family members, including Bibbs.

On Aug. 13, 2014, Schaefer and Mack were arrested in Bali. In April 2015, an Indonesian court convicted Schaefer and Mack of charges related to Von Wiese’s murder. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in an Indonesian prison, while Mack was sentenced to 10 years.

Bibbs was arrested today by federal authorities. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez today at 3 p.m. CDT.

The charges and allegations contained in a criminal complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago Division and being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bolling Haxall and Julie Porter of the Northern District of Illinois and Trial Attorneys Hope Olds and Christine Duey of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.

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