An American fugitive wanted in connection with the 2002 death of her husband, whose remains were so badly burned they were not identified for more than a decade, has been arrested in Rome, police in the Italian capital said Thursday.
Beverley McCallum was picked up after she checked into a hotel, Rome Police confirmed.
Hotels in the country are required to register guests using an online system linked to a police database. This revealed that she had an International arrest warrant against her, a police spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
McCallum initially tried to provide fake identification, but officers were not fooled, according to several local media reports. Police told the AP that McCallum was being held at Rome’s Rebibbia prison. Calls to the U.S. Embassy in Rome weren’t immediately answered, the AP reported.
American authorities had been seeking to extradite McCallum from Pakistan, where she was believed to be living, to stand trial in the slaying of her husband, Robert Caraballo. In 2002, he was beaten and suffocated, and his body was dumped and burned in a blueberry patch in western Michigan.
Eaton County sheriff’s said it was aware of the arrest and would comment Thursday.
Caraballo’s badly burned remains were found in a scorched footlocker in a wooded area in Ottawa County in the days following his death. The victim’s identity remained unknown until an anonymous tip in 2015 led police to identify the remains as Caraballo.
Murder charges were filed last year against McCallum, her daughter, Dineane Ducharme, and Christopher McMillan, of Grand Rapids. The three were also charged with conspiracy, and disinterment and mutilation of a body.
McMillan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He had been expected to testify against the other two. Ducharme was also in custody.
McMillan, a friend of Ducharme, told investigators that the slaying was planned and a “test run” was performed before killing Caraballo, Eaton County sheriff’s Detective James Maltby testified at a hearing last year.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Maltby said McMillan told investigators that McCallum pushed Caraballo down the basement stairs of a home, then beat him with at least one hammer in an attack so vicious that it got lodged in Caraballo’s skull. McCallum wrapped a plastic bag around the head of the still-breathing Caraballo, Maltby testified.
Ducharme, who was 21 at the time of the slaying, told police her mother killed Caraballo and that she helped dispose of her stepfather’s body, according to Maltby, who also testified that one of the children said McCallum had told her she killed Caraballo in self-defense.
Sometime after the killing, Ducharme and her mother moved to Pasadena, Texas. McCallum subsequently moved to Pakistan after learning that the investigation into the slaying was progressing, Maltby said.