Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

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Normal Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Wrapitup on Mon May 03, 2010 12:29 pm

Missing mom 'wouldn't leave on her own'
Stewart's parents suspect husband's involvement

Updated: Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010, 12:05 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010, 10:34 PM EDT

* By Jessica Leffler
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COLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Although the estranged husband of a missing Colon Township woman says he has nothing to do with his wife's disappearance, Venus Rose Stewart's parents are skeptical.

Larry and Therese McComb say their daughter came outside the family's St. Joseph County home to take the mail out, then vanished. Stewart, 32, was last seen in her pajamas outside the residence around 7 a.m. Monday.

She was staying with her parents after leaving her husband, Douglas Stewart. Police initially believed she was with him, but Douglas was located in Virginia without Venus.

"I am a good citizen, a good person," he told 24 Hour News 8 by phone Tuesday.

But Venus' parents fear the worst.

"This is numbing," Larry McComb said. "You go from numbness to hysteria."

He said he immediately noticed what looked like the remnants of a scuffle in the gravel of his otherwise-perfect yard.

"You can see where there's a footprint or two," McComb said. "And my daughter's footprint was up on the tank here.

"So, they figure he parked his car there, snuck behind the woodpile, and when she came out to put the mail in the mailbox, he grabbed her. She didn't make it to the house."

24 Hour News 8 obtained court documents that detail the couple's relationship.

In 2008, Venus requested a personal protection order against Douglas, saying: "I am scared to death and every day I live in constant fear. I am constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when he will appear again."

She had left her husband before, but most recently, this February, her parents said.

Douglas lost custody of the couple's children to Venus. The McCombs said to their daughter, being a mother was everything.

"I was surprised she didn't wake me up to tell me to take care of the kids before she put the mail in the mailbox," Larry McComb said. "I wish she would have."

Venus' parents and friends are posting signs in an attempt to find her. The doting mother would never willingly leave her 3- and 5-year-old behind, they say.

"She was the best mommy in the world," Therese McComb said. "And I know she would never leave on her own. There's no way. She would never leave on her own.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by artgal16 on Wed May 05, 2010 9:09 pm

It sounds like this case in another one where the husband has killed his wife. I felt so sorry for Venus' mother pleading for her daughters life. What will happen to those two little girls?
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Guest on Thu May 06, 2010 3:31 pm

I have been watching this story on NG. Lets hope those two girls will not be returned to their Father. I am sure the court gave Venus custody for a reason.
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 07, 2010 7:30 pm

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 07, 2010 7:35 pm

Michigan State Police want to talk to man in disappearance case:
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Subject seen "acting suspiciously" after Venus Stewart vanished

By Kathy Jessup | Kalamazoo Gazette
May 07, 2010, 7:37AM

Michigan State PolicePolice want to interview this man in the Venus Stewart abduction.

COLON — Police want to talk to a man seen near Adams Lake on April 25, the day before Venus Stewart was reported abducted from her parents’ Colon Township home.

Police do not consider the man a suspect or a “person of interest” in the investigation at this time, but detectives “would like to speak to him,” said Lt. Mike Risko, commander of the Michigan State Police White Pigeon Post.

The man was seen April 25 between 6 and 10:30 p.m. in an area around Adams Lake where authorities have been searching for signs of the 32-year-old mother of two. The lake is northeast of Colon, about a mile east of the home of Stewarts’ parents, where she was last seen.

Police released a sketch of the man they hope to talk to Thursday. He is a white man, believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet, 5 inches to 5 feet, -8 inches tall, weighing 150 to 160 pounds, with short, dark hair and a mustache.

Two people who saw the man did not recognize him as someone who lived in the area and said he was “acting suspiciously,” Risko said. They described him as “disheveled, not wearing a shirt and asking people for cigarettes,” he said.

Stewart disappeared April 26 sometime between 7:10 and 8:30 a.m. Family members said she had gone to the home’s mailbox and was last seen wearing pajamas.

So far, police have found no witnesses to an abduction and scant physical evidence, but have said they believe Stewart was abducted.

Venus Stewart mugView full sizeVenus Stewart“It’s like she’s disappeared off the face of the earth,” Risko said Thursday. “I’ve never seen someone be so cleanly gone. All of her personal belongings were left behind and she disappeared in her pajamas.”

Risko said Venus Stewart’s estranged husband Douglas H. Stewart, of Newport News, VA, remains the sole “person of interest in the case.”

According to Risko, Douglas Stewart’s alibi that he was in Virginia at the time of the abduction “checks out so far.”

Risko said Douglas Stewart has retained an attorney and is “not cooperating” with investigators at this time.

The Newport News Police Department on Wednesday seized a Mercury sedan and a Dodge Ram owned by Douglas Stewart based on a Michigan search warrant. Risko said Michigan State Police lab technicians flew to Virginia and were checking the vehicles for evidence.

Court records show the couple had a rocky marriage, including an exchange of personal protection orders and two divorce filings that were later dismissed.

The couple moved from Michigan to Virginia in 2009. Venus Stewart and the couple’s two daughters, aged 3 and 5, returned to Michigan in February.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Michigan State Police White Pigeon Post at 269-483-7611 during regular business hours or after-hours at MSP’s Rockford Regional Dispatch Center, 616-866-6666.

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Normal Dad finds handwritten notes from Venus

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 07, 2010 7:38 pm

Allegations against estranged husband made

Updated: Thursday, 06 May 2010, 11:03 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 06 May 2010, 5:03 PM EDT

* By Jessica Leffler

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As the investigation into the disappearance of Venus Stewart continues, some handwritten notes have surfaced alleging her estranged husband was involved in inappropriate touching with the couple's children.

24 Hour News 8 obtained a copy of the handwritten notes by Venus detailing her daughter's story. According to the documents, her daughter told Venus about the incident in February 2010.

The notes were provided by Larry McComb, Venus' father, who said he stumbled across the papers in a drawer. February is when Venus left her husband, Douglas Stewart, and moved in with the McCombs in Colon Township, Larry McComb added.

The Schoolcraft Police Department investigated the claims made in the notes. Allegedly, Douglas had one of his daughters touch him inappropriately. A younger sibling was home at the time of the alleged incident, but in a different room.

The Kalamazoo County prosecutor's office told 24 Hour News 8 no charges were filed against Douglas because there was "insufficient evidence."

Venus recently was awarded full custody of the two children.

Doug emphasized how worried he is about his wife in a phone call Wednesday with 24 Hour News 8. He was in Virginia when Venus disappeared and police say his alibi is solid. Doug was unavailable for comment by phone Thursday.

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Normal Venus Rose Stewart: Mom Missing in Michigan, Estranged Husband a Suspect

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 07, 2010 7:46 pm

By Pete Kotz in Child Abuse, kidnapping, missing persons, unsolved
Friday, May. 7 2010 @ 12:57PM

​UPDATE: Venus Stewart's husband Douglas had been accused by their daughter of molesting her. Police never charged him due to insufficient evidence, but it was at that time that Venus took her children and left for Michigan.

Venus Stewart went out in her pajamas to put something in the mail. Signs of a struggle indicate she was abducted.

​Virginia young daughter had accused her father of molesting her. Venus' notes detailing the accusations were found after Court records note that Venus and Douglas Stewart had a contentious marriage. She'd once been arrested for hitting him. And she'd filed a protection order against him, claiming sexual and physical abuse. Venus had filed for divorce three times. Douglas had filed once.

But the couple managed to hang on, moving from Michigan to Virginia in hopes of mending their wounds.

Yet she'd recently moved back to Michigan with her two kids to stay with her parents. The state of Virginia, it seems, was in the middle of an investigation into the sexual abuse of her 5-year-old daughter.

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Douglas-Stewart

Douglas Stewart's estranged wife had previously accused him of physical and sexual abuse

​Venus' parents say she was deathly afraid of her estranged husband, who'd lost custody of the kids. In her 2008 request for a protection order, she wrote, "I am scared to death and every day I live in constant fear. I am constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when he will appear again."

And that fear was no doubt heightened last week. In her pajamas, Venus went out to the mailbox in front of her parents' Colon Township home at 7 a.m. That was the last anyone has seen of her.

Her parents believe someone was hiding behind a woodpile. Marks in the gravel showed indications of a struggle. A week later, no one has heard from her.

Douglas has been questioned by police in Virginia. He claims he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance, and police are checking his alibi.

A search of the nearby woods has come up empty, but police say evidence suggests she didn't leave on her own. Her parents also say the mother would never leave without her kids, ages 3 and 5.

​UPDATE: Venus' dad found her notes chronicling the sex abuse charges against her estranged husband.

After Venus disappeared, her dad found her notes detailing her daughter's charges of molestation against Douglas Stewart. The notes say that, back in February, one of the daughters claimed that Douglas had her touch him while a younger child was in another room.

Virginia police didn't charge him over the incident, saying there was insufficient evidence. But Venus did receive custody of the kids.

Meanwhile, Douglas appears to have a solid alibi in Venus' disappearance. He was in Virginia at the time she was abducted. Police, however, still don't seem in a rush to rule him out as a suspect.

Police have also released a sketch of a man behaving suspiciously near Venus' parents' home the night before she disappeared. The man was wet, as if he'd been swimming. And he was trying to bum cigarettes. Who knows if he's related to the case, but a search of a nearby lake revealed no clues. Flooding has hindered searches of other water bodies.

Neighbors have also reported seeing a suspicious truck parked near the kidnapping site.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by jeanne1807 on Fri May 07, 2010 8:46 pm

This is a strange one. He says he was in VA which is 600 miles away from MI. He says he has witnesses. So then I think..hummm he had somebody else do the dirty deed.
But then we find this drifter and wonder did he snatch her. But the article said he was a small fellow. Wouldn't she yell and scream and be heard.
Then I wonder at her fathers words. "I don't know why she didn't wake me up when she went to the mailbox". Why would she do that. A 3 and 5 year old would be ok in front of a tv or at the door while mom mailed a letter. Why would she wake pop up.
Why too would she parade down the driveway in her pajamas? I don't even get the paper without a robe.

I have lots of questions about all of this. Somebody took her but I don't know it was the husband in this case.
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Wrapitup on Fri May 07, 2010 8:53 pm

LMAO, Jeanne!! As far as "parading down the driveway in her pajamas" goes, I think it would depend on what type of pajama she is wearing. Maybe she had on long, loose pajama pants and a t-shirt. I know this isn't the point but had to comment.

She was so afraid of the ex or estranged husband that by moving in with her folks, they probably told her to tell them if she was going to go outside, even if it's just to go to the mailbox or whatever. That is the only explanation I can come up with.

As far as the husband, I don't think he did it, but like you said..I think he hired someone to snatch her. I would love to know more about him - his financial position, etc.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by jeanne1807 on Fri May 07, 2010 8:56 pm

Well they said on NG or JVM that he is a truck driver. Drives a delivery truck to restaurants..local.
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Normal Venus Stewart Update: Wal-Mart Receipt Raises Suspicion in Case of Missing Mother, Say Police

Post by Wrapitup on Wed May 12, 2010 1:09 am

May 11, 2010 4:25 PM

Posted by Edecio Martinez

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. (CBS/WMMT) New details continue to emerge in the search for missing mother Venus Stewart, who investigators believe was kidnapped almost two weeks ago at her parents' home in Colon Township, Mich.

Police have now searched the property of the woman's estranged husband, Douglas Stewart. CBS affiliate WMMT obtained the search warrants that detail what police were looking for when they searched, and what they found as potential evidence.

According to the documents, they found an apparent blood stain on the driver's side door of Douglas Stewart's pick-up truck. The documents say police also found a receipt from an Ohio Wal-Mart showing a purchase that included gloves, a tarp, and a shovel.

The court documents say that detectives also removed ten items from the Virginia apartment that Douglas used to share with Venus; those items included two computers and a roll of duct tape.

The 32-year-old mother disappeared on April 26 from her parents' home in Colon, over 80 miles south of Lansing. According to her mother, Therese McComb, Stewart had gone outside early that morning in her slippers and pajamas to mail a letter and never came back.

According to WMMT, a neighbor reported seeing a man crouched behind a gray pick-up truck that was parked in an empty lot across from the house around the time that she went missing.

The local CBS station also reports that the documents say that tire impressions taken from that scene were compared to those on Douglas Stewart's truck and that the general tread pattern is a match.

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This estranged ass who she was scared to death of is guilty. I would expect LE to arrest this idiot asap!

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by jeanne1807 on Wed May 12, 2010 7:07 pm

Things aren't looking good at all.

You know when Venus' mother was crying for her daughter why didn't her husband comfort her?

If this all happened at 7:30 am how come nobody saw anything. If it was a retirement place they had to be up watching the neighbors and drinking coffee. If it was a mixed neighborhood then I would think people would be going to work at that time.

Strange nobody saw or heard anything.
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Wrapitup on Wed May 12, 2010 11:36 pm

I think it probably happened so fast noone noticed.

Police searching area in St. Joseph County for evidence in Venus Stewart abduction
By Rex Hall Jr. | Kalamazoo Gazette
May 12, 2010, 10:18AM

COLON TOWNSHIP — Police this morning were searching an area in St. Joseph County for evidence in the abduction of Venus Rose Stewart, authorities said.

“We’ve got people on the ground right now,” Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Risko said. Risko declined to say where police were conducting their search.

Stewart, 32, has not been seen or heard from since the morning of April 26.

Investigators believe the mother of two was abducted some time between 7:10 and 8:30 a.m. from the front yard of her parents’ home in the 55000 block of Driftwood Drive in Colon Township.

She was last seen wearing pajamas. Risko said the search this morning by police was based off of research by investigators.

Police have said Stewart’s estranged husband, Douglas Harrie Stewart, 29, of Newport News, Va., is the sole person of interest in his wife’s disappearance. Police said Tuesday that they had received information that Douglas Stewart was back in Michigan.

Police are awaiting analysis of suspected blood that was found in Douglas Stewart’s Dodge Ram pickup truck during a search of the vehicle last week. Police also found a receipt from a Walmart in Ohio inside the pickup truck for a tarp, gloves, shovel and a hat that were purchased April 25.

The search for evidence this morning is at least the third time that investigators have combed an area in St. Joseph County since Venus Stewart’s disappearance.

Police have already searched a wooded area near Adams Lake and they used sonar equipment to search the lake.

Investigators ask anyone with information about Venus Stewart’s whereabouts to call the state police post in White Pigeon at 269-483-7611 or the agency’s Regional Dispatch Center in Rockford at 616-866-6666.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu May 13, 2010 1:02 am

jeanne1807 I agree. It was odd to watch him sit there with that odd look on his face and just stare at his wife as she cried on camera. It's a strained and awkward moment and the media keeps re-running over and over.
During that same interview Mr. Stewart said he found an empty plastic wrapper for a tarp.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Guest on Fri May 14, 2010 3:31 am

Blood stains in the husband's truck? Definitely suspicious. I'm afraid that it's another sad story of a vengeful estranged husband & his missing wife!
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Normal Doug Stewart: Arrest Made in Venus Stewart Disappearance, Death (Video)

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:15 am

By JoAnne Thomas

Venus Rose Stewart, 32, recently of Colon Township, Michigan, vanished without a trace between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM the morning of April 26, 2010. Along with her two children, she had been residing with her parents and was last seen in her pajamas mailing a letter from their mailbox.

Her estranged husband, Doug Stewart, 29, of Virginia, had what appeared to be a solid alibi at the time.

When police arrived on scene that morning, they noticed signs of a struggle, and also discovered a clear plastic bag that had been used to transport a tarp.

Neighbors reported seeing a truck with 4 doors near by, along with a man resembling Doug Stewart crouched near by.

Michigan State Police have actively been pursuing all leads since the alleged abduction off Venus Stewart was reported.

Today, June 22, 2010, Doug Stewart was lodged in the St. Joseph, Mi. jail for the death of his wife.

Doug Stewart: Arrest Made in Venus Stewart Disappearance, Death (Video)

There’s no disputing that Doug and Venus Stewart had a tumultuous marriage. They had moments of physical violence and each took out a restraining order on the other. Mrs. Stewart accused her husband of abusing the children, left Virginia and moved in with her parents in rural Colon Township. She stated from the beginning that her husband, Doug Stewart, was going to kill her. She may have been right.

While Douglas Stewart is in custody for her death, no charges have been filed and her body has not been found. The prosecutor has announced a press conference for Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

Stewart has been in Michigan seeking visitation with, and custody of, his two minor children. His request have been denied until an investigation has been completed.

Michigan State Police described him as a person of interest early on. They searched his truck and car, as well as his parent’s Michigan home for evidence. They acknowledge finding some blood, and stated the tire tread on the truck was compatible with tire tracks left in the road at Venus Stewart’s parent’s home. They also found an Ohio Wal-Mart receipt for a tarp, gloves and shovel in the vehicle, dated the day before the alleged abduction of his wife.

He has denied any involvement in her disappearance, and maintains his alibi. Police theorize the following:

Lt. Mike Risko of the Michigan State Police the day Venus disappeared, says a man wearing a hoodie and tinted sunglasses entered a law office in Newport News, Virginia, and claimed to be Douglas Stewart, paying a bill. Police say they don’t know if the man would be considered an accessory to a crime at this point, but want to talk to him. Risko went on to say that the State Police now have evidence that Douglas Stewart was in Michigan the night before Venus disappeared, but would not elaborate.

Venus Rose Stewart’s parents, Larry and Therese McComb are said to be devastated by the news that Doug Stewart had been jailed for their daughter’s death. They had been holding on to hope that their daughter was still alive.

A friend of the McComb’s, Colleen Roussey, states:

“(Doug) was such a controller. I just knew he killed her. He had to have killed her. We’re all just — we’re calling each other and crying. It is so horrible for all of us, because we’ve all been working so hard to bring that girl home. And that didn’t happen.”

Sadly, it seldom does happen once a spouse goes missing. The number of missing and murdered spouses has risen dramatically over this past decade; it appears people have lost the ability and the will to communicate. It’s all about revenge, and seldom are the the children and their well being factored in. I think it’s a shame that as couples start to drift apart, they no longer remember the love that brought them together. How sad they can’t think of the children born of that love, and try for a peaceful resolution, instead of leaving them parent-less. What an awful legacy to leave a child when one parent murders the other!

Douglas Stewart is, of course, innocent until proven guilty of the kidnap / murder of his wife, Venus. Like it or not, we must remember that.

This post will be updated with the charges after the press conference.

Anyone with information regarding Stewart’s disappearance is asked to call the Michigan State Police White Pigeon Post at 269-483-7611.

Checkout the video and leave your comments and theories on ‘Doug Stewart: Arrest Made in Venus Stewart Disappearance, Death’ in the comment section below.

What do you think happened to Venus Stewart? Could she still be alive? If not, how likely is it her body will be found?

If Venus was your loved one, what would you do to bring her home? How would you punish the person responsible, if you had a choice?

Should the paternal grandparents be allowed to visit the children while this case is pending? Why? Why not?

Update1 : June 23, 2010
Douglas Stewart is being held on a $4 million dollar bond. He was arraigned Wednesday on one count of open murder and one count of conspiracy to commit pre-meditated first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both charges are felonies.


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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:39 am

Virginia Man on Trial in Michigan for Missing Wife's Murder

Prosecutors in Michigan are trying to convict a Virginia man for the murder of his wife -- even though her body has never been found.

Officials are anchoring the case on evidence they say ties Douglas Harrie Stewart to the crime, as well as testimony from an alleged accomplice.

Venus Rose Stewart, 32, disappeared on April 26, 2010. She had been staying at her parents' home in Sturgis, Mich., about 150 miles southwest of Detroit.

Douglas Stewart is on trial for the murder of his wife, who has been missing since April.
According to police, Venus Stewart went outside in her pajamas to mail a letter around 7 a.m. She never returned. Authorities found signs of a scuffle in the gravel driveway. Nearby, they also found packaging from an 8-by-8-foot tarp.

"We have information to believe she did not leave voluntarily," Lt. Mike Risko of the Michigan State Police said in an April interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette.

From the onset, authorities told the media that Venus Stewart may have been abducted by her then 29-year-old estranged husband, Douglas, who lived in Newport News, Va.

But when authorities later located Douglas Stewart in Virginia, his wife was not with him. Nevertheless, police said they still considered him a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. Douglas Stewart denied any involvement.

The Stewarts were married in 2002 and lived in Schoolcraft, a village in Kalamazoo County, Mich., until about 2009, when they moved to Newport News. The couple had two daughters, ages 3 and 5.

The Gazette obtained copies of three personal-protection orders that Venus Stewart had requested against her estranged husband. The most recent had been filed in February 2010. A previous request, filed in July 2008, had been terminated after three months and a second, filed in March 2009, had been denied, the newspaper reported.

In her 2008 request for a personal-protection order against her husband, Venus Stewart wrote: "I am scared to death and every day I live in constant fear. I am constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when he will appear again."

Venus Rose Stewart disappeared from her parents' Michigan home after going outside in her pajamas to mail a letter at 7 a.m. April 26.
But she was not the only one in the relationship who requested a personal-protection order. In August 2008, Douglas Stewart filed his own request, claiming his wife suffered from anger problems and that she had attacked him in June 2008 "with approximately nine blows" to the face.

"She has informed me on a daily basis that she will kill me for taking the kids away from her," Douglas Stewart wrote. "I cannot live my life in constant fear. ... I live my life in fear now and I fear the outcome of my children. Please help me. Please help her."

Douglas Stewart's order, which was initially approved, was dismissed roughly two months later.

Roughly two months before she disappeared, Venus Stewart was granted custody of the couple's children and moved back to Michigan to live with her parents.

Venus' mother, Therese McComb, told Michigan station WOOD that her daughter "was the best mommy in the world ... she would never leave on her [children]. There's no way."

After Venus' disappearance, authorities obtained a search warrant for a Mercury sedan and Dodge Ram pickup truck belonging to Douglas Stewart. They also searched him and his home in Virginia, Michigan's WLKM Radio 95.9 FM reported.

Forensic technicians retrieved several items during the searches, including a Walmart receipt in his truck for a "shovel, tarp, cap, gloves," according to police. The date on the receipt was the same day his wife vanished. Authorities also took swabs of an "apparent blood stain" on the driver's side of his car and another in his truck, which they sent off for testing.

In June 2010, authorities announced they had made a breakthrough in the case and had proof that Douglas Stewart was in Michigan when his estranged wife vanished. Police said they had uncovered an elaborate plan, in which Stewart had someone in Virginia impersonating him on the day his wife went missing. The impostor went to his attorney's office in Newport News that morning and made a payment on his legal account, police said.

"He had an alibi that he was in Virginia when Venus disappeared, and we learned pretty soon that his alibi didn't hold up," Risko told the Gazette.

Stewart was arraigned on charges of open murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder on June 23. His bond was set at $4 million.

Following Stewart's arrest, St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough held a press conference, announcing that authorities said a Delaware man named Richard Spencer had pretended to be Stewart.

Spencer testified at a hearing to determine whether the case against Stewart should move forward to trial, admitting to posing as his friend. He also said that Stewart had explained to him how he killed his wife.

Spencer alleged that Stewart drove to Michigan on April 26. He said Stewart told him he pretended to be a mailman and placed a call to his wife's parents' house and told her he had a package. When Venus Stewart left the home, her husband grabbed her, Spencer testified.

"He said he was able to get her into a headlock and that a drop of blood came from her nose, that it hit the concrete," Spencer said.

Spencer told authorities that Stewart did not inform him of where he buried his wife's body.

Stewart's trial began on Feb. 23. His attorney, Jeffrey Schroder, has denied his client was involved in his estranged wife's disappearance and accused McDonough of asking the jury to do "guesswork" with the alleged evidence, the Gazette reported.

The trial, which continues today, is expected to last three to four weeks.
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:48 am

Alleged accomplice tells how Doug Stewart planned to kill his wife
February 28, 2011

CENTREVILLE — Richard “Ricky” Spencer III pretended to be his friend Doug Stewart by wearing his oversized clothes, buying a double cheeseburger with his credit card and even calling Doug's parents, mimicking their son, Spencer testified Monday.
While Spencer disguised himself and stayed in his friend's apartment in Newport News, Va., Doug Stewart drove to Michigan with “plans to take care of business,” Spencer said.
Spencer testified that Stewart told him: “'There's a good chance that I could get away with this. I'll always be under the radar and live the rest of my life. This is where I want you to come in, Ricky. I want you to be my alibi."
Doug Stewart is charged with first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder in connection with the April 26 abduction and presumed slaying of his estranged wife, Venus Stewart, whose body has not been found.
Spencer, a key prosecution witness, testified until about noon Monday when proceedings were stopped for the day as scheduled. The prosecution is expected to resume questioning Spencer on Tuesday morning.
Under questioning Monday by St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough, Spencer said he decided to help with the plan after Doug Stewart told him stories of how Venus Stewart allegedly slapped and choked one of their children.
Spencer said he was concerned the couple's children were not safe and could be harmed by Venus Stewart.
“Is this why you decided to help your best friend?” McDonough asked Spencer.
“Yes,” Spencer said.
Doug Stewart and Spencer met through an online video game system called Xbox Live in 2008 and often played games for several hours a day.
Spencer, 21, was living with his parents in Delaware.
Spencer said he considered Doug Stewart his “best friend.”
“He called us brothers from another mother,” Spencer said, describing their close relationship.
Spencer didn't have any spring break plans, so he decided to meet Doug Stewart in person for the first time on April 1, 2010, he said

Doug Stewart, who was living alone at the time with his pet bird in Newport News, had an apartment that “smelled kind of bad” and was a “complete mess,” Spencer said.
“We talked about how crazy it was we were finally meeting each other,” Spencer said about when he arrived.
The two made made plans to go clubbing and to an amusement park.
On April 4, Spencer called his parents — who thought he was vacationing with a buddy from high school — and asked to stay longer.
Later on that day, Doug Stewart announced he had something important to say, Spencer said.
Doug Stewart said he worried his wife physically and mentally hurt their two children, and if anything ever happened to his little girls, he said he would go on a “rampage killing people” from his wife to her family to lawyers to jurors, Spencer testified.
“When he was telling you this, what were you thinking?” McDonough asked Spencer.
“I was shocked,” Spencer said.
Doug Stewart's attorney Jeffrey Schroder asked for a mistrial at the mention of a possible threat to jurors, but Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman denied his motion.
During their conversation, Doug Stewart told Spencer he wanted to do these things because “his children were at stake,” not because he was angry at his wife, Spencer said.
That's when Doug Stewart asked for his help, although Spencer declined to get involved initially, he testified.
But Doug Stewart persisted and continued to ask for Spencer to come stay in his apartment, wear his clothes and be his alibi while he went to Michigan, Spencer said.
Eventually, Spencer agreed, he said.
Doug Stewart began to talk about his plans to not leave behind any evidence by avoiding toll roads and paying for items with cash.
“He asked me questions like a teacher would ask a student,” Spencer said, describing their conversation. “If you're trying to kill somebody and you don't want any evidence... what do you use?”
In a park outside his apartment, Doug Stewart told Spencer to turn around and then he put him in a headlock until Spencer lost his breath.
Doug Stewart told Spencer, if you do that for 10 seconds, a person will pass out. If you do it for 30 seconds, it can be fatal, Spencer testified.
On April 11, Spencer returned home where he lived with his parents in Delaware.
Four days later, Spencer met Doug Stewart in Bethesda, Md., to get Doug Stewart's credit card, car and apartment keys, a prepaid cell phone and several of Doug Stewart's clothes, including a hooded sweatshirt and shorts.
Doug Stewart gave him instructions on a piece of paper to call his parents and directions to use his credit card to buy food at a fast food restaurant, so it would appear as if Doug Stewart was still in Virginia, Spencer testified.
On a cell phone, Doug Stewart called Spencer and instructed him where the cameras were in his apartment building and in the adjacent parking garage. Stewart also told Spencer to keep his head down when Spencer entered building.
Once in the apartment, Spencer called Doug Stewart's parents — as Doug Stewart listened on — and pretended to be their son, he testified.
“What's the word?” Spencer said to Doug Stewart's father, just as Doug often did.
In a brief conversation, Spencer told Doug Stewart's father that he wasn't feeling well and planned to drive to Michigan the next day.
That night, Spencer said he freaked out and slept restlessly.
“It started to get too real,” he said.
Spencer said he played Xbox games in Doug Stewart's room to relax. "I tried to play anything I could to get my mind off it," he said.
Later on, Doug Stewart called and told Spencer he'd been pulled over by the police in Ohio, so he aborted the plan because there was now a record of his whereabouts, Spencer testified.
Ohio State Police Trooper Jeremy Wheeland, the only other witness to testify Monday, said he pulled Doug Stewart over for crossing the lanes outside Dayton at 4:25 a.m. on April 16.
Spencer and Doug Stewart would meet up a second time on April 25, Spencer said.
Testimony ended for the day before McDonough could ask Spencer about events of April 26.
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:00 am

Doug Stewart killed Venus Stewart with headlock until she bled, witness testifies

CENTREVILLE — In her final moments, Venus Stewart was put in a headlock by her estranged husband until a drop of blood dripped from her nose, a witness testified Tuesday.

"And that was it," Ricky Spencer, the alleged accomplice of Doug Stewart, told jurors Tuesday in St. Joseph County Circuit Court.
Spencer had recounted what Doug Stewart told him over the phone about surprising Venus Stewart outside her parents' Colon Township home on April 26, killing her and burying her body.
"I asked him if it was worth it and he said it was to protect his kids and give them some type of future and he told me that he was going to call me later because he was going to bury her," Spencer testified under questioning from St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough.
Spencer, 21, of Bear, Del., said he spoke again with Doug Stewart later on the morning of April 26 and Stewart told him he had to pick a different burial spot for Venus Stewart "because there were people around."
Doug Stewart, 29, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder in connection with Venus Stewart's abduction and alleged slaying.
Ricky Spencer, a key witness in the Venus Stewart murder trial, testifies Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors allege Doug Stewart, who is being held in the St. Joseph County Jail on $4 million cash/surety bond, abducted his wife outside her parents' home, killed her and disposed of her body.
Michigan State Police investigators have said they believe Venus Stewart is dead although they have not located her body.
Spencer testified Monday and Tuesday that he acted as Doug Stewart's impostor and alibi in Newport News, Va., where Stewart resided, and stayed at Stewart's apartment while Stewart traveled to Michigan to abduct and kill Venus Stewart, 32.
Venus Stewart had moved back to Michigan with the couple's two young daughters and was living with her parents, Therese and Larry McComb.
Spencer said he also wore clothes given to him by Stewart and used Stewart's credit card while he stayed in Newport News. After he received word from Doug Stewart that Venus Stewart was dead, Spencer, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, hat and Aviator sunglasses, went to Stewart's attorney's office and made a payment in Stewart's name. He then used Stewart's credit card at a local movie theater and fast-food restaurant, Spencer testified.
Spencer testified that he later left Newport News on April 26 and traveled to Bethesda, Md., where he met Stewart and gave Stewart back the clothing, credit card and keys to his apartment.
Spencer told McDonough that he later spoke to police who were investigating Venus Stewart's abduction and alleged slaying. He said he told investigators that he helped Doug Stewart carry out a plan to kill Venus Stewart and that he knew Doug Stewart was going to kill his estranged wife.
"I was scared," Spencer said when asked by McDonough why he had spoken to investigators and given them information pertinent to the case.
Toward the end of his testimony, Spencer said he helped Doug Stewart carry out the plan to kill Venus Stewart because he believed Doug Stewart's two daughters were in danger in Michigan with their mother. But he also testified that he did not want to kill Venus Stewart and did not intend for her to die. He said he was shocked and upset when Doug Stewart told him Venus Stewart was dead.
"Did you agree to help Mr. Stewart carry out his plan?," McDonough asked Spencer.
"Yes," Spencer said, before adding, "I was hoping he wouldn't go through with it."
Just a few days after Stewart and Spencer had carried out the alleged murder plot, a man who lived in the same Newport News apartment complex as the Stewarts told jurors that Doug Stewart had scratches and bruises on his neck, forearms and thighs.
James Weaver said he noticed the marks on Doug Stewart, who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, during a conversation he, Stewart and another tenant had at their apartment complex three to four days after Venus Stewart' was reported missing in Michigan.
James Weaver testified that Doug Stewart had scratches and bruises on him a few days after Venus Stewart went missing.
"It was kind of odd because he was telling us what a bad person she was," Weaver said. "He had bruises and scratches on his neck, his forearms and his thighs."
Before Weaver took the stand Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from three employees of the apartment complex in Newport News where the Stewarts lived, including Katherine Ross, the complex's assistant manager, who said that after she found out Venus Stewart was missing, Doug Stewart spoke to her about the complex's surveillance system and "who could get their hands on it."
Jurors also heard from some of Stewart's former co-workers at U.S. Foodservice in Virginia and two employees from the office of Doug Stewart's attorney in Newport News.
One of the employees at the law practice, Colleen Bateman, said a man visited the office on April 26 and handed her an envelope with Doug Stewart's name on it that contained a $100 bill. She said the man was dressed in green cargo pants, a hooded sweatshirt, hat and Aviator sunglasses. She said the man was only in the office a short time and appeared to be smaller than Doug Stewart. She also said his attire did not match what Stewart had normally worn during previous visits to the law office.
"He always came in nicely dressed," Bateman said of Doug Stewart. "Almost a military-type bearing or stance. That gentleman (on April 26) was slouchy.
"It was like a different type of person."
Bateman and a paralegal at the law office, Amy Jo Richardson, both testified Tuesday that a person came into the office again on April 27 to make a payment on Doug Stewart's account. Bateman said the man who came to the office on April 27 was wearing the same clothes as the man from the day before and she believed they were the same person although she was not able to see their faces.
But Richardson said the man who visited the office on April 27 was "chattier" and "chunkier" and that she believed the visits were from two different people. When asked if she saw the face of the visitor on April 27, Richardson identified Doug Stewart in the courtroom.

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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:05 am

Juror in Venus Stewart murder trial: 'The evidence spoke for itself'
CENTREVILLE — Jurors that found Doug Stewart guilty of murder Friday said that, in the end, they were guided by evidence presented in the murder case and they made the right decision.

“Absolutely,” several of the jurors responded when asked if they were satisfied with the verdict they delivered just before 11:30 a.m. Friday, finding Stewart guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder in connection with the April 26 abduction and slaying of his estranged wife, Venus Stewart, 32.

Doug Stewart, 29, faces mandatory life in prison on both counts at his April 18 sentencing in front of St. St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman.

The jury deliberated for a little more than three hours between Thursday and Friday before notifying Stutesman it had reached a verdict.

Doug Stewart, who was taken away by sheriff's deputies after the verdict was read, showed little emotion in the courtroom, sitting stoically in his chair between his attorneys, Jeffrey and Kymberly Schroder.
Several of the jurors said Friday they came into the case wanting and hoping to find Doug Stewart not guilty but were swayed by evidence in coming to the decision that Doug Stewart was responsible for his wife's death.

“The evidence spoke for itself,” said one juror who declined to give his name. “It was all about the evidence. That's what we went on.”
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Normal Re: Missing mom, Venus Rose Stewart, wouldn't leave on her own' /Estranged husband, Doug Stewart, Found Guilty first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:01 am

Wow -what an elaborate scheme he created to "get away with murder"! Unfortunately, he must have forgotten that old saying... "Be sure your sin will find you out." I guess he hadn't counted on his "good friend" spilling the beans!

I found it quite unbelievable his reason for murdering his ex-wife - because he feared for his daughter's lives. WTF
Wasn't HE the one that was accused of molesting his own daughter?!? It sounds like a cover-up to me!!
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Post by Wrapitup on Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:30 am

To this day her body has never been recovered. And, a jury found him guilty.

Raine, we must be psychic. I was just thinking of this case the other day and wondering if there was anything new. Thank you for bringing it up to date!!

What a horrible person her husband is! I feel so sorry for her daughters and her parents!

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