Michigan prisoner gets Xbox for revealing location of estranged wife's remains

A Michigan man who is serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife revealed where he hid her body 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, 32-year-old Venus Stewart, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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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.

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.

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He 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.

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.”

In this Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 photo, detectives investigate the scene where remains believed to be those of a southwestern Michigan woman who disappeared in 2010 were found, in Fulton, Michigan.

In this Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 photo, detectives investigate the scene where remains believed to be those of a southwestern Michigan woman who disappeared in 2010 were found, in Fulton, Michigan. (Daniel Vasta /Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)

Peterson said the remains were found in a five-foot-deep hole, and that the size of it supported notions of premeditation.

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.

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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.”