Michigan Woman Killed Her Husband Because He Was ‘Cramping Her Lifestyle’ and Then Managed to Evade Arrest for More Than Two Decades

More than two decades after murdering her husband and dumping his scorched body in a blueberry field, fugitive Beverly McCallum, 63, is finally brought to justice.

In a strange twist of events, it was an email from her daughter, a co-conspirator in the murder, that helped detectives solve the bizarre case of Roberto Caraballo, whose fate was a mystery for years.

In April, a jury found McCallum guilty of second-degree murder and disinterment/mutilation of Caraballo, and she was sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison. However, the road to the verdict was long and twisted, involving a trio of killers, flights to Jamaica and Pakistan, and a true-crime documentary that ultimately led to her undoing.

Michigan Woman Killed Her Husband Because He Was ‘Cramping Her Lifestyle’ and Then Managed to Evade Arrest for More Than Two Decades
Beverly McCallum (Photo: YouTube screenshot/Court TV)

In May 2002, a blueberry farmer driving on his land in western Michigan spotted a metal footlocker in one of his fields containing the remains of a victim that had been scorched beyond recognition. The trees and undergrowth around the metal box had also been set ablaze.

The police gathered evidence and interviewed local residents but came up completely empty-handed. With all their leads exhausted and no way to determine the man’s identity, the Ottawa County sheriff’s office landed on an unusual plan: they reached out to a local college in 2005 and asked a class to make a documentary about the case titled “Jack in the Box,” in the hopes of identifying the victim. Unfortunately, it led nowhere at the time.

Fast-forward to 2015, and Detective Robert Donker in the sheriff’s office received two puzzling emails out of nowhere.

“The first one said, ‘I’m scarred’ — I believe she meant ‘scared’ — and the one after was, ‘I’ve got information about a case,’” recalled the retired detective to People. Barbara’s oldest daughter, Dineane Ducharme, had seen the documentary and emailed the detectives with a bombshell. She told the police that the remains belonged to her mother’s husband, Roberto Caraballo — which dental records later confirmed. She also fingered her mom as the killer, but her plan backfired.

When investigators questioned Ducharme at her home in Texas, alarm bells went off. “By the end of the interview, it was clear she was in on it,” former Eaton County (Michigan) Sheriff’s Detective Jim Maltby told People. The police now had two suspects in their crosshairs, and it took three years for them to track down the third: Christopher McMillan of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who was Ducharme’s friend at the time. In 2018, all three were charged in connection with Caraballo’s death.

Ducharme, who was 21 at the time of the killing, was found guilty of first-degree murder, among other charges, and is currently serving a life sentence without parole. McMillan agreed to testify against Ducharme and her mother in exchange for a charge of second-degree murder, which carries 40 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2035.

In his plea agreement, McMillan testified that the killing was planned and McCallum was the ringleader. He alleged that she pushed Caraballo down the basement steps of the home the couple shared with their two minor daughters and Ducharme, McCallum’s daughter from a previous relationship.

According to his testimony, McCallum beat Caraballo with a hammer and then wrapped a plastic bag around his head in an attempt to smother him. All three then put his body in the trunk of a car and drove to Ottawa County 90 miles away, bringing McCallum’s two younger daughters along with them. The trio set his body on fire with gasoline in a field, but not before McCallum took the wedding ring off her dead husband’s finger, McMillan testified, as CourtTV reported.

In the years since the murder, McCallum has been globe-trotting around the world. Just weeks after Caraballo’s death, Beverly moved to Jamaica, along with McMillan, and she remarried another man and had a child. The whereabouts of that man are currently unknown, according to trial testimony via CourtTV.

Once she got wind that police were looking for her, she fled to Pakistan with a man she reportedly met online. “She had five or six aliases that she went under, and she had left when she figured out that her daughter was talking about this case,” said prosecuting attorney Doug Lloyd via People. After two years on the run, police finally caught up to her in Rome, thanks to an Interpol arrest warrant. She was extradited back to the U.S. and put on trial on March 25.

During the six-day trial, Lloyd addressed possible motives for the murder. Carabello had a criminal background and spent time in federal prison. Lloyd argued that he was ready to leave all the drugs and crime behind him, while she wanted to continue that life. “Robert being around was cramping her lifestyle,” he said.

McCallum maintains her innocence and, during her trial, blamed Ducharme and McMillan for the murder.

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