5 chilling details about Venus Stewart's murder
Venus Stewart was a mother-of-two residing at her parents' Colon Township home in Michigan in April 2010 when she went missing. Her estranged husband, Doug, who she once accused of domestic violence and of m*lesting their daughter, was named a prime suspect in her disappearance.
Although Doug initially claimed he had an alibi, he was placed in Michigan by authorities. However, not enough evidence was found to charge him with the crime. Eventually, an imposter came to light who was helping him commit the murder. Over eight years after the incident in 2018, the killer finally confessed to the murder and revealed the location of Venus' remains.
Oxygen's Dateline: Unforgettable will further re-examine Venus Stewart's chilling case in an episode titled Finding Venus. It is scheduled to re-air on the channel this Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 6.00 pm ET.
The synopsis states:
"Venus Stewart stepped outside her door and vanished; investigators suspected her ex, but he had an alibi; a video gamer's tale had detectives seeing double and exposed the truth."
Doug's prison sentence, key witness' confession, and more details about Venus Stewart's murder
1) Venus Stewart was attacked early in the morning outside her parents' house
On April 26, 2010, Venus Stewart, 32, went missing from her parents' Colon Township, Michigan, home after walking outside to check the mailbox. Authorities alleged that she was attacked and abducted between 7.10 and 8.30 am.
While investigating her disappearance, authorities claimed that Venus' wallet and other personal belongings were left inside the house. They also mentioned that there was concrete proof of a struggle outside the house since the gravel in the driveway bore obvious signs of violence.
The mother-of-two had reportedly moved into her parents' home with her daughters from Newport News, where she resided with her husband Doug Stewart. The couple moved from Michigan to the Virginia-based city to start fresh after a tumultuous marriage. She even accused Doug of domestic violence and of m*lesting their daughter, which prompted the move.
2) Authorities found incriminating evidence in Doug Stewart's possession
Doug, the 29-year-old estranged husband of Venus, soon became the prime suspect in her disappearance. According to reports, police in Newport News, Virginia, examined his pickup truck in May 2010 and found possible traces of blood. They also located a Walmart receipt proving that he had purchased a shovel, gloves, and tarp the day before Venus disappeared.
He was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder in relation to the disappearance and killing of Venus Stewart in June 2010.
3) A key witness confessed to acting as an accomplice in Venus Stewart's killing
A key witness and alleged accomplice in the crime, Ricky Spencer, stated at Doug Stewart's trial in February 2011 that he pretended to be Doug in Virginia while he traveled to Michigan to kill his estranged wife, Venus. He further stated that while in Newport News, he wore Stewart's clothes and also used his credit card.
Spencer stated that at around 9.30 am on April 26, after Doug informed him about Venus Stewart's death, he went to Doug's attorney's office and made a payment in his name. He then used his credit card at a nearby fast-food joint and movie theater. While pretending to be Doug, Spencer wore a hooded sweatshirt, a hat, and sunglasses.
4) Doug and his accomplice were sentenced to prison in Venus' murder case
In 2011, Doug Stewart was found guilty on two charges, first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder, based on his accomplice Ricky Spencer's testimony and other evidence. He was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Spencer, who had previously reached a plea agreement, pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to commit manslaughter in June 2011 and was given a one-year sentence. About eight months later, in March 2012, he was released from St. Joseph County jail.
5) Venus' remains were found in October 2018 following a confession by Doug
In October 2018, detectives unearthed Venus Stewart's remains in Fulton from a wooded area in Kalamazoo County. This came after Doug Stewart revealed the location of a five-foot-deep grave where he buried her back in 2010 after fatally striking her.
He offered his confession in return for certain prison privileges. These included access to Xbox gaming systems for him and his inmates in the veterans' area of the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Tittabawassee Township, Michigan, and the right to attend his parents' funerals when they die.
Oxygen's Dateline: Unforgettable will shed more light on the case involving Doug Stewart on February 7, 2023, at 6.00 pm ET.