KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. – A convicted murderer who is serving a life sentence after killing his wife and disposing of her body revealed where he hid her corpse eight years ago in exchange for an Xbox, authorities said.
Douglas Stewart, 29, on Monday led investigators through a wooded area in Kalamazoo County, to where he’d buried his estranged wife, Venus Stewart, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Stewart reportedly said he remembered the site because he’d left two stumps there.
“He really showed no emotion — he was pretty matter-of-fact,” St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough said. “He walked the detectives right to where it was, and there it was.”
Authorities have been visiting with Stewart annually since his sentencing to try and get information about the body’s location. And to think, all this time Xbox was the answer.
Stewart buried the remains in a tree-lined area that he used to visit with his father as a teenager, about 15 minutes from the site of the murder at Venus’ parents house. Police had searched dozens of areas nearby but never the specific place that he led them yesterday.
McDonough said the remains were positively identified as those of Venus Stewart after dental tests were performed by medical anthropologists at Western Michigan University.
Recovering the body took a day. It was an emotional process for the team who had spent years working on the case, McDonough said.
Stewart was living in Virginia in April 2010 when his estranged wife disappeared from her parents’ home in Michigan. Venus Stewart had moved after accusing her husband of domestic violence and molesting their daughter, police reports indicated.
Consequently, the Michigan man was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011, based largely on the testimony of Ricky Spencer.
Spencer told authorities that he had been persuaded to impersonate Doug Stewart while the man drove to Michigan, Fox News reported.
Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Todd Peterson told the Sturgis Journal that even though “the criminal portion has been closed, we just kept at it to help find closure for Venus’ family.”
Peterson said the remains were found in a five-foot-deep hole, and that the size of it supported notions of premeditation.
“It was just really good after all that time to finally find her for the family,” Petersen added.
.@wwmtnews @wwmtandyd: Exclusive: Estranged husband leads police to body of Venus Stewart in Fulton, Michigan, eight years after she disappeared. He was already serving a life prison term for her murder: https://t.co/DYXavUcT5j
— Kevin Olivas (@KevinOlivasMedi) October 23, 2018
In exchange for leading investigators to the body, Stewart’s housing unit at the Saginaw Correctional Facility — depending on the inmates’ behavior — will be allowed to play Xbox video games during their free time. The Xbox will reportedly not have access to the Internet.
Stewart’s request that he be released under supervision to attend his parents’ funerals when they die was denied by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
“Today is the most rewarding thing I’ve been able to do, being able to give the family closure,” McDonough told the Journal. “This is something we’ve all been working for … this is the one good thing (Doug Stewart) has done since he killed Venus.”
But it certainly was not done out of the kindness of is heart.