Doug Stewart, who was convicted in the disappearance and murder of his estranged wife Venus Stewart, remained silent about the whereabouts of her remains for over eight years before leading authorities to a rural Kalamazoo County field where she was found buried in October 2018. Venus disappeared in April 2010 from her parents' home in Colon Township, Michigan.
According to reports, Doug was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder in March 2011, receiving a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. Doug was reportedly serving time at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Michigan when he revealed the location of Venus' remains.
Dateline: Unforgettable is scheduled to re-air an episode titled Finding Venus, which chronicles the disappearance of Venus Stewart and the prolonged investigation to find her body. The episode will air on Oxygen at 6:00 pm ET on February 7, 2023.
Doug Stewart requested prison privileges in return for revealing the location of his dead wife's remains
In October 2018, Doug Stewart, a U.S. military veteran serving life behind bars for his estranged wife's murder, showed authorities the exact location where he buried her body in Michigan eight years ago in 2010, after requesting an Xbox and other prison privileges for himself and his prison inmates at the Saginaw Correctional Facility.
Venus Stewart, then his 32-year-old estranged wife and mother of his two daughters, went missing from her parents' house in southern Michigan on April 26, 2010. Stewart was eventually found guilty of killing her in 2011. Authorities alleged that she moved there from Virginia after separating from her husband and accusing him of domestic violence and molesting their daughter.
A Delaware man named Ricky Spencer testified that he impersonated Doug in Virginia to help him provide an alibi, while the latter traveled to Michigan and committed the crime. Even though Venus' body wasn't discovered at the time of the trial, he was found guilty of the two charges. Doug, however, maintained his innocence and continued to deny any involvement in his wife's death for years.
According to reports, Doug Stewart told authorities at his sentencing that,
"All I have to say is I'm innocent. I did not do these crimes. I ask police to continue looking for my wife. If not for me, my children need to know what happened to their mother."
Over seven years after his conviction, Doug Stewart confessed to murdering his wife and burying her body in an isolated region
At one point in 2018, Doug Stewart demanded special rights in return for disclosing the location of his wife's remains. His demands included Xbox gaming consoles in the veterans section at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Tittabawassee Township, Michigan, where he is presently incarcerated, as well as the chance to attend his parents' funerals when they pass away.
Along with giving a complete confession to the 2010 murder of his estranged wife, Doug Stewart led investigators on a three-hour drive to a remote wooded region in Kalamazoo County, where he carried out the murder and concealed the body. Venus Stewart's remains were later definitively identified using dental records.
He reportedly admitted to tricking his wife into leaving her parents' house that April morning and strangling her until she lost consciousness. He then took her to an isolated location that he claimed to have visited the previous evening, where he fatally hit her and then buried her body.