CHARLOTTE, Mich. (Court TV) — A motions hearing took place this morning in the case of a woman accused of killing her husband more than 20 years ago.
Beverly McCallum allegedly pushed Roberto Caraballo down the basement stairs of the couple’s Charlotte, Michigan home in 2002, beat him with a hammer and suffocated him.
The victim’s fate was a mystery for decades, as his charred remains were discovered in 2002 in a metal box in a blueberry patch in western Michigan. The body was not positively identified as belonging to Caraballo until 2015.
McCallum, now 63, wasn’t arrested until 2020, when she was apprehended at a hotel in Italy, just on the outskirts of Rome. McCallum was a guest of the hotel, along with her teenage son. Italian hotels are required to register their guests using an online system that connects to a police database. The database flagged an Interpol arrest warrant.
U.S. authorities initially had been trying to extradite McCallum from Pakistan, where they thought she had been living. She arrived in Italy from Pakistan. Italian authorities said McCallum, who has Italian heritage, was attempting to arrange to live permanently in Italy.
Following her return to the U.S. earlier this year, McCallum was ordered held on a $10 million bond. She faces charges of second-degree murder and disinterment/mutilation of a body.
At issue during today’s hearing were the terms and conditions under which McCallum was extradited from Italy. She was extradited on a charge of second-degree murder, but prosecutors notified the judge that they wanted to amend their charge to first-degree murder. A follow-up hearing was scheduled for November 29.
According to the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, McCallum is the third and final person to face charges in the case. They say that after McCallum shoved 37-year-old Caraballo down the steps, she then tried to recruit two individuals to help dispose of the body: Her own daughter, Dineane Ducharme, and a friend of Ducharme, by the name of Christopher McMillan.
In a plea agreement, McMillan testified against Ducharme and McCallum. He told authorities the killing had been planned and that he had participated in a “test run.” According to McMillan’s testimony, McCallum pushed Caraballo down the basement steps, beat him with a hammer, which became lodged in his skull, then wrapped a plastic bag around his head while he was still breathing.
Ducharme, who was 21 at the time of the killing, admitted to helping her mother dispose of her stepfather’s body.