3 charged in 2002 cold case murder

Becky Vargo • Apr 4, 2019 at 7:12 PM

Two suspects have been arrested and a third one is being sought as police announce charges in the murder of man whose body was found in a Grand Haven-area blueberry field nearly 17 years ago.

The suspects’ names were released at a press conference Thursday in Eaton County, where police believe the man was murdered in May 2002.

A farmer found a man’s body in a burned vehicle in a blueberry field near 152nd Avenue and Winans Street in Grand Haven Township on May 8, 2002. At the time, the victim was said to be a man between the ages of 35 and 55. It was determined that the man died from blunt-force trauma.

Police said the body was placed inside a metal footlocker, taken to Ottawa County and set on fire.

The man was not identified for 13 years.

“For a long time, this investigation sat stagnant until some clues started to come in,” Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker said during Thursday’s joint press conference with the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office in Charlotte. 

In 2005, then-Hope College professor David Shock, a Grand Haven resident, and his students produced a documentary on the unsolved murder.

In 2015, a family member of the murder victim saw the 10-year-old Hope College documentary on the cold case, which was referred to as the “Jack in the Box” murder. That family member then contacted the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

“We were really at almost a dead end,” Kempker said Thursday.

Through information provided by the family member, police were able to use the deceased man’s teeth to identify him as Roberto Caraballo, a Charlotte resident who was 37 at the time of his death in 2002.

That’s when local officials contacted the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office. 

Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said detectives traveled to Texas and Florida, conducting the investigation until they determined the murder happened in the basement of a residence on Horatio Street in Charlotte. With the help of the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, police were able to confirm the murder location, Reich said at the press conference.

The Charlotte Police Department helped identify the three suspects, Reich said.

Christopher McMillan, 40, of Grand Rapids is now lodged in the Eaton County Jail. 

Dineane DuCharme, 38, is in custody in Texas, awaiting extradition.

The third suspect, 58-year-old Beverly McCallum, is believed to be in Pakistan, Reich said. Detectives are working with federal authorities to find McCallum and extradite her back to Michigan to face charges. Reich said she has numerous aliases.

Caraballo had been married to McCalllum, Ducharme is McCallum’s daughter, and McMillan was Ducharme’s friend at the time of the murder, police said.

All three are facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and mutilation of a body, Reich said.

“We’re extremely pleased that we were able to help the family with closure,” Kempker said. “For us, in law enforcement, it’s satisfying to close any cold case.” 

Kempker said Eaton County will handle the prosecution in the case, but Ottawa County detectives will be heavily involved.

“Our staff had tons of hours put into this case,” Kempker said. “They will be testifying.”

Police did not disclose a motive.

“We don’t want to jeopardize our court proceedings,” Reich said. “This information is going to be left up to the judge and jury when it goes to trial.”

Capt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office explained that the case was called “Jack in the Box” because investigators added some personality to the case rather than the more generic term “John Doe” for the unknown victim.

Holland Sentinel reporter Evan Sasiela contributed to this report.

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