An American woman wanted over the 2002 murder of her husband in the US state of Michigan has been arrested in Rome after a multinational search, Italian police have said.
Roberto Caraballo was beaten and suffocated, and his body dumped in a blueberry patch.
His remains were so badly burned when they were found in a wooded area in Ottawa County days after his death that they were not identified for more than a decade.
It was only when police received an anonymous tip in 2015 that they were able to confirm the remains were of him.
Rome police said on Thursday that Beverly McCallum, 59, was detained after she and her teenage son checked into a hotel on the northwest outskirts of the Italian capital.
Hotels in the country are required to register guests in an online system linked to a police database.
In a statement, police said that process revealed McCallum had an Interpol arrest warrant against her.
The hotel, Papillo, which features Italian and European Union flags, is located in a shopping centre in an area overlooking Rome’s main ring road.
Staff confirmed she had been arrested there, and police said she was being held at the city’s Rebibbia prison.
US authorities had been seeking to extradite McCallum from Pakistan to stand trial over the killing of her husband after murder charges against her were announced last year.
It is believed that after his death she had met a man from the South Asian country on the internet and had moved there after reportedly learning police were after her.
Murder charges were also brought against her daughter, Dineane Ducharme, and Christopher McMillan, while all three are also accused of conspiracy, disinterment and mutilation of a body.
McMillan, a friend of Ducharme – and of Great Rapids, Michigan – pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and had been expected to testify against the other two.
Ducharme was also in custody.
McMillan told investigators that the killing was planned and that a “test run” was performed beforehand, according to Michigan’s Eaton County Sheriff’s Detective James Maltby when he testified at a hearing last year.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Maltby said McMillan told police 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 his skull.
Maltby testified that McCallum wrapped a plastic bag around Caraballo’s head while he was still breathing.
He added that Ducharme, then aged 21, had told police that her mother had killed him and that she helped dispose of her stepfather’s body.
McCallum also has two younger daughters, who were nine and 11 at the time.
Maltby testified that McCallum brought the two younger girls with her when she burned Caraballo’s body.
He said one of the two younger children later questioned her mother about what happened, and said that McCallum told her she killed Caraballo in self-defence.
After the murder, Ducharme and her mother moved to Pasadena, Texas.
McCallum subsequently fled to Pakistan after learning that the investigation was progressing, said Maltby.
Rome police said McCallum’s teenage son was placed in custody by social services after his mother’s arrest.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s office said it was aware of the arrest.
A spokesperson said: “We have seen media reports of a US citizen arrested in Rome.
“Whenever a US 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.”
Calls to the US Embassy in Rome were not immediately answered.
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