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Suspect's call alerted investigators, murder trial reveals

A phone call from a Medford woman accused of shooting her husband to death in his sleep at an Applegate Creek campground in November 2012 first alerted police that the husband could be in grave danger, a Jackson County sheriff's deputy testified Tuesday during her murder trial.

Deputy James Biddle testified in Siskiyou County Superior Court that Patricia MacCallum's phone call on Nov. 19 changed his perception of what started as a missing-person case.

MacCallum told the detective her toddler had found her husband's wallet and cellphone in her car. Biddle said that made him realize the potential risk to Michael Christopher MacCallum because he "lacked the means for self-care" in the rural camping area where he was last seen.

Biddle said Patricia MacCallum's information was inconsistent with her first call stating that the phone and wallet were with her husband.

Biddle told the court that he talked to Michael MacCallum's employers, friends and family during his search, eventually putting out an all-points bulletin to alert other agencies.

On cross examination by defense attorney William Duncan, Biddle noted that the information about the found items was given voluntarily by Patricia MacCallum, and that the campground where Michael MacCallum's body was eventually found would have been hard to locate without directions from the defendant.

Sheriff's Sgt. John Richards and Deputy Eric Johnson detailed for the court their parts in the search for Michael MacCallum, identifying the route taken to the Applegate campground and the eventual discovery of a wadded-up tent near his campsite.

Johnson said he traversed a steep hillside down to the tent, cutting open a flap to see what was inside. He reported that he saw spent shell casings and what appeared to be blood. He left the tent overnight to await assistance with its retrieval, he said.

Michael MacCallum's body was found Nov. 20, 2012, at the base of a cliff just south of the Oregon-California border. He was 34 and had worked in Medford as a bartender and as a driver for Checker Cab. Prosecutor Joe Allison said Monday Michael MacCallum was shot eight or nine times with a .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol while he was sleeping in his tent.

— David Smith, Siskiyou Daily News