From David — A weblog (with full archive)

September 3, 2019 — Preliminary Hearing November 19 for Dineane Ducharme

A telephone call this afternoon to the Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office revealed that Dineane Ducharme is scheduled to have her preliminary hearing at a 9 a.m. November 19 before District Court (56A) Judge Julie H. Reincke. She has long since been arraigned. There exists the possibility that she might waive her preliminary, so I will have to check before I go. Her attorney, G. Michigan Hocking, had nothing to say to me on the subject.

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September 3, 2019 — Missed that one — Dineane Ducharme is in Eaton County custody

Each week I would use an inmate locator to see if Dineane Ducharme had been extradited from Texas to Eaton County in the matter of the murder of her step-father,  Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37. Ducharme is accused of the murder along with Chris McMillan, and Ducharme’s mother, Beverly McCallum. They beat him to death with at least one hammer and perhaps another instrument on or about May 7, 2002 in the basement of the home Caraballo, McCallum, and Ducharme, shared 334 Horatio Street, Charlotte.

One Chris McMillan allegedly also was on hand to assist in the murder. His arrest came first in November of 2018. The arrest warrants for Ducharme and McCallum went out at the same time. None of those warrants came to light until last April when Lansing State Journal reporter Kara Berg found a court proceeding in a first degree murder arrest against McMillan and reported it. (Shortly thereafter followed a press conference…all in these pages.) And while McMillan was scooped up first in Grand Rapids, Ducharme was in jail in Texas and it was going to take some time to bring her to Eaton County.

So I waited and I looked…and I completely missed it. It took a return call from Detective Sergeant John Ivey of the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department today to set me straight. Using his choice of inmate finder, Vinelink.com, he led me right to her. (And you can replicate that yourself.) Moreover, he told me she had been in Eaton County custody since May 24.

Oh. Thank you.

And it may be that her preliminary hearing is in November. (These things often change.)

Now, that leaves Caraballo’s wife, Beverly Ducharme McCallum (and a long list of aliases) as on the run. And she is a whole other story. Evidently when she caught word that her daughter was talking to retired Detective Bob Donker in Ottawa County about the murder (yep, that’s how it started unravelling in 2015), McCallum married a Pakistani doctor as a sort of internet bride and had since then been living there. The U.S. and Pakistan have an extradition treaty but these things really can take time. It hasn’t happened yet.

Eaton Country has a warrant for her arrest, but it will take the help of the U.S. State Department for what Ivey called an extraditable warrant. He noted other cases in Mexico where it’s taken upward of two years to bring home a fugitive. So, I asked, who could tell me about the progress in this case?

Well, that would be someone from the State Department. So I have reached out through the department’s media division. Here’s what I wrote:

I am following up on a request for the extradition from Pakistan of Beverly Ducharme McCallum wanted in the murder of Roberto Caraballo on or about May 7, 2002. She fled the country roughly in 2015.

Where do things stand? Any estimates?

And so, I wait a little more. But I am grateful to have some answers and that Dineane is right now where she needs to be.

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July 1, 2019 — Another arrest in the Wilda Wilkinson murder

I have been off the grid from some time, doing filming in California. While I was absent, the 1986 Wilda Wilkinson murder was solved. Here is the account from the Detroit Free Press. And this from WWMT.

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May 12, 2019 — A look at the house

This past week I had business in Charlotte, the scene of the 2002 murder of Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37. Before he was identified Caraballo had been dubbed “Jack in the Box,” by Ottawa County Sheriff Department investigator Detective Bob Donker (retired) for the manner in which he was found…his corpse burned beyond recognition and identification in a footlocker that had been carried (not dragged) into a wood near a blueberry field south of Grand Haven. I looked for the address of what Eaton County investigators have identified as the scene of his murder, 334 Horatio. Investigators found evidence that indicates that he was assaulted in the basement here.

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May 4, 2019 — Charges dropped against Michael Leon Curry

Arrested March 18th for the July 29, 1986 murder of Wilda Wilkinson, Michael Curry was released April 26, according to Channel 8, WOODTV8.

Reporter Leon Hendrix says that the VanBuren County prosecuting attorney will be giving more details next week.

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April 17, 2019 — The swear-to hearing

The day after the press conference, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Eaton County seeking information about the arrest warrants. I wanted to know more of the story. It was denied in large part and only the arrest complaints were granted. That was something. What I SHOULD HAVE asked for was a copy of the swear-to hearing that outlined much of the crime directly from the court. I’ve been schooled, thank you very much. And here it is. This is what I was after:

Note the start and end times: 5-5:16 p.m. It sure looks like this hearing was intended to be out of the public view. The court closes its doors at 5 p.m. Is there a compelling reason for all this to be in secret? That’s up to the prosecutor and judge to explain. There was only one person giving testimony, Detective James Maltby, and he worked for the county, so he could have been ordered to appear just about any time.

Doing the people’s business in secret is not doing the people’s business.

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April 17, 2019 — Oh, this begins to tell the story

Lansing State Journal reporter Kara Berg has really done her job. Here is the beginning of the story of what happened.

Here is the victim, the son of teachers, a father, and allegedly murdered by his wife, stepdaughter, and her friend.

 Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, 37

The idea that Roberto Caraballo was still alive when a plastic bag was put over his head to suffocate him…. When I made the film investigators gave that as one possibility. The other was the there was so much blood that it had to be caught. Much more to come.

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April 15, 2019 — A day in court this Friday for Mr. McMillan

Christopher Wayne McMillan will be in Eaton County Circuit Court April 19 (scheduled for 8:30 a.m.) for a status conference. This may be routine, but one never knows. According to his attorney, John Deming, he is unlikely to be there to allocute.

Mr. McMilland is accused of murdering (homicide–open murder), conspiring to murder, and mutilating the body of Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo on or about May 7, 2002. His bail was set at $1 million and he is now in the custody of the Eaton County Jail. He is changed with co-defendants Beverly McCallum and her daughter Dineane Ducharme. Ms. DuCharme is being extradited from a jail in Texas. Ms. McCallum is in the wind, perhaps in Pakistan, according to Sheriff Tom Reich in his presser of April 4.

Mr. McMillan comes to circuit court after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing in district court.

The arrest warrants for the three were issued November 7 of last year. How long has he been in custody? The officer at the booking desk in the county jail indicates that he has been there since November 8, the day after the warrants were issued. So, about five months, a long time. And it wasn’t until a reporter for the Lansing State Journal, Kara Berg, came across the case, that the matter was brought to light, perhaps as a result of her noting that on March 26 the court scheduled the status conference in a murder case, previously unremarked.

Mr. McMillan allegedly was in Charlotte when Mr. Caraballo was murdered (police have determined the crime scene there). Most recently he has been living in Grand Rapids. His facebook page indicates that he came there from San Augustine, Texas. He is quite a piece of work as his page reveals.

There is a notice on his arrest complaint that his DNA is on file from a previous case. I am sure all that will be forthcoming.

So, this Friday is Good Friday.

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April 5, 2019 — The presser and such

Here is the Fox 17 account of the presser.

It is probably the best one. Channel 8 had audio troubles and then some. There are as well lot and lots of stories out there.

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April 4, 2019 — “Jack in the Box” apparently solved

It has taken roughly 17 years since the crime. And now reporters are learning that the “Jack in the Box” case is likely solved. In the first place, there was always the lack of knowledge of Jack’s identity. He is Roberto Higüey Alejandro Caraballo, a native of the Dominican Republic. He was 37 at the time of his murder.

Here are some initial reports:

The Lansing State Journal.

WLNS

And there is a press conference scheduled for today in Eaton County. There is a lot of information that will come out, much of it slowly. But the question some of you have had was this: did the film have anything to do with the solution of the crime? It’s my understanding it did. But the real and ongoing work is the result of two detectives in particular. But that is likely their story to share.

My idea was that I needed to keep Jack’s story out in public, just in case. This relates to my concept of these murder films—and I’ve now made six feature-length films of this kind; of that number, five have been solved. While I am very happy to entertain an audience, I am really reaching out for the ONE person who can tell the police what they need to prosecute the case.

We know that in the early stages of a murder investigation time is the enemy. But once a case grows cold, time can be an ally; people grow consciences, get religion, have kids, think about what they’ve done, are freed from fear of retaliation. Anything can happen, and time is your friend.

But 17 years???

It takes as long as it takes.

And we need to remember Roberto for who he was. In addition to victim, he was a beloved family member. Remember THAT man through all the flash of the news.

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