CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman will spend the rest of her life in prison for the murder of her stepfather, whose body was dumped in Ottawa County and remained unidentified for more than a decade.
Dineane Ducharme, formerly of Charlotte, Michigan, was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ducharme was convicted in December of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and disinterment and mutilation of a dead body in the death of Robert Caraballo.
“Throughout the trial, the defendant decided to continuously play the blame game. She deflected all her responsibility and placed it solely on her mother,” Eaton County Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd said in a Tuesday statement. “It’s unfortunate to witness the defendant continue to not accept guilt for her actions, but I hope that the family finds a sense of justice in the outcome of this case.”
Caraballo, 37, was killed in 2002 in Charlotte. Authorities say Ducharme, her mother Beverly McCallum (Caraballo’s wife) and Ducharme’s friend Christopher McMillan of Grand Rapids then put Caraballo’s body in a metal footlocker, burned it, took it to an Ottawa County blueberry farm and left it in the woods there. It was found May 8, 2002.
In 2005, a Hope College professor made a documentary about the case at the request of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. That spurred a tip that ultimately led to the identification of the remains in 2015 and charges in 2019.
In 2019, McMillan pleaded to second-degree murder and conspiracy and sentenced to at least 15 years in prison. He testified in court that the murder was McCallum’s idea because her marriage was unhappy. He said that McCallum shoved her husband down the stairs, Ducharme and McCallum beat him with a hammer and the two then suffocated him.
McCallum fled to Italy in attempt to avoid prosecution, authorities say, and remains in jail in Italy pending extradition to Michigan.