ROME—The two daughters of Beverly McCallum remember vividly the night in May 2002 when they helped their mom lug a metal box into the back of the family van in Charlotte, Michigan, about 100 miles from Detroit. The girls were aged 9 and 11 at the time and the older of the daughters later said she was pretty sure that her father, Roberto Caraballo, was inside the box. Nevertheless, the mom and her kids drove several hours to a wooded area near a blueberry field close to Lake Michigan. They dumped the box and drove back home.
The girls’ father was indeed stuffed inside the metal case; he had been beaten, suffocated, and burned beyond recognition. That’s why, when the box was found a few months later, no one had any idea whose remains were inside.
The girls were told their dad had run off and left them, according to the Lansing State Journal. But in 2015, Dineane Ducharme, McCallum’s daughter from a previous marriage who was 21 in 2002, confessed that she had helped her mother kill Caraballo and then clean up the mess from her stepfather’s murder in the basement of the family home. They were helped by a third person, Christopher McMillan, 40, of Grand Rapids, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year.
Ducharme told police that she had helped her mother push Caraballo down the stairs to the darkened basement before beating him with a hammer so viciously that it got stuck in his skull. McCallum then allegedly wrapped a plastic bag around her still-breathing husband and suffocated him. Then Ducharme says they burned his body in a basement fireplace and placed the remains inside the metal box that McCallum and her other daughters disposed of.
Sure enough, when detectives then checked the DNA of the unidentified man found in the metal box near the blueberry patch years earlier, it was a perfect match to Caraballo.
Last November, Michigan authorities officially reopened the case and charged McCallum, who had long-since disappeared along with Ducharme and McMillan, for murder, conspiracy, disinterment, and mutilation of a body. Ducharme is due to stand trial after a court ruling in December.
She said that her mother had moved to Pakistan years earlier to live with a man she met on an online dating site.
Police soon caught up with McCallum and late last year started the process of extraditing her from Pakistan back to Michigan to face charges for her husband’s murder. But she disappeared while in Pakistan and authorities were again left with a cold case until early Wednesday morning when Italian officials arrested her in a hotel on the ring road around Rome.
Italian police confirmed McCallum’s identity to The Daily Beast and said that they were working on a tip through Interpol that she was staying in the $40 a night hotel planning her next move. She was alone at the time of her arrest, but a hotel clerk at the hotel where she was arrested told The Daily Beast that she thought she had checked in with a man a few days earlier.
Now Michigan police will have to apply to extradite the American fugitive from Italy, which could take a matter of months. No attorney for McCallum has yet been named and it is unclear whether she will fight extradition.