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A Michigan woman who is accused of burning her husband’s body beyond recognition and dumping it in a blueberry patch in 2002 was arrested early on Thursday in Rome, authorities announced.
Rome police arrested 59-year-old Beverly McCallum after she and her teenage son checked into a hotel in the Italian capital, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. She had been wanted in connection with the 2002 death of her husband Robert Caraballo, whose remains had been so badly scorched investigators didn’t identify them until 2015, NBC News reported.
When Italian hotels register guests, their names are cross-referenced in a police database, which is how authorities were tipped off to her whereabouts, according to The Associated Press. An Interpol arrest warrant had previously been issued against her.
“The hotel registration in her name alerted Italian law enforcement of her existing Interpol warrant and her location,” Sheriff Tom Reich’s office said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of State confirmed they were aware of the arrest, but noted their policy restricting them from commenting on police matters.
“We have seen media reports of a U.S. citizen arrested in Rome,” a spokesperson for the department said in a statement to Oxygen.com. “Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services.”
The official declined to comment further.
Caraballo’s burned remains were found stuffed in a metal footlocker and abandoned in a wooded area in Ottawa County almost two decades ago. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that an anonymous tip led to his identification.
Police announced in November 2018 that charges had been filed against McCallum, her daughter Dineane Ducharme, 38, and Christopher McMillan, 40, of Grand Rapids. The trio were also charged with conspiracy, mutilation of a body, and disinterment.
McMillan pleaded guilty in October in Caraballo’s death. McMillan –– reportedly a friend of McCallum’s daughter –– confessed to the slaying and claimed the three individuals even attempted a “test run” of their plot.
The 40-year-old also alleged in court how McCallum and her daughter masterminded and predominantly carried out Caraballo’s murder by bludgeoning the main to death a hammer.
“They wanted to do it in the basement," McMillan told Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Janice Cunningham, WOOD-TV reported. “They wanted to knock him unconscious and put a bag over his head and suffocate him.”
McCallum hurled the man down a flight of stairs and then pounced on him while swinging the hammer, striking his head with such force that the hammer became lodged in Caraballo’s skull, the Associated Press reported McMillan said.
“Beverly was yelling to get the hammer, Dineane grabbed the hammer and swung a couple times,” McMillan said. “Beverly was yelling, ‘Give me the hammer, give me the hammer,’ so Beverly ended up with the hammer and she used the hammer and put it in his head.”
Ducharme, who is currently in police custody, allegedly told detectives her mother killed Caraballo and that she assisted in disposing of her stepfather’s body, the AP reported.
McMillan is expected to testify against McCallum and Ducharme and avoided life in prison without the possibility of parole in taking the guilty plea.
Last spring, authorities indicated they were seeking an extradition order to remove McCallum from Pakistan where they suspected she had moved to be with a man whom she met online, according to The Associated Press.
Eaton County authorities are now coordinating with the Department of Justice to arrange for McCallum’s extradition back to the U.S. It’s unclear when she may be transported.
“At this time we do not have an estimated date when the extradition process will be completed or when McCallum will arrive back in the United States to face the charges related to the murder of Roberto Caraballo,” the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said.
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