ROME (AP) — An American woman wanted in the 2002 death of her husband, whose remains were so badly burned they weren’t identified for more than a decade, was arrested in Rome after a multinational search, police said Thursday.
Rome police arrested Beverly McCallum, 59, overnight after she and her teenage son checked into a Rome hotel on the northwest outskirts of the Italian capital. Italian hotels are required to register guests in an online system linked to a police database.
The process revealed that McCallum had an Interpol arrest warrant against her, police said in a statement.
The hotel, Papillo, which features Italian and European Union flags, is in a shopping mall in a nondescript area overlooking Rome’s main ring road. Staff confirmed she was arrested there.
U.S. 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.
Police said McCallum was being held at Rome’s Rebibbia prison.
In Michigan, the Eaton County sheriff’s office said it was aware of the arrest but had no immediate comment.
“We have seen media reports of a U.S. citizen arrested in Rome,” the U.S. State Department said. “Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services. Due to privacy considerations we have no further comment at this time.”
Caraballo’s badly burned remains were found in a scorched footlocker in a wooded area in Ottawa County, Michigan, in the days following his death. The identity of the victim was unknown until police received an anonymous tip in 2015.
In the years after the slaying, McCallum reportedly met a man from Pakistan over the internet and moved there. Rome police said she had fled to Pakistan after learning police were on her trail.
Murder charges were announced last year against McCallum, her daughter Dineane Ducharme, and Christopher McMillan, of Grand Rapids. The three also were 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.
McCallum also has two younger daughters, who were 9 and 11 at the time. Maltby testified that McCallum brought the two younger girls with her when she burned Caraballo’s body.
Maltby said one of the two younger daughters later questioned her mother about what happened and said that McCallum 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.
Rome police said McCallum’s teenage son was placed in custody by Rome social services after his mother’s arrest.
Associated Press reporter Ed White contributed from Detroit.
This story has been updated to clarify that McCallum has more than one daughter.