A woman exits the home where she is staying in an early morning hour; she sojourns out merely to mail a letter. The woman is clothed in only slippers and pajamas; oddly enough, she never returns to her house and to the companionship of her two young daughters. She simply vanishes. “It’s as if she disappeared from the face of the earth,” says Lt. Mike Risko.
Yet evidence remains of a violent struggle; the ground is torn up, by way of large gouges and heel marks, and the woman’s footprint was left on a gas tank in the yard. Her abductor must have grabbed her right at this very spot, at the gas tank, which is in the front yard? A piece of tarp left behind by the kidnapper was found on the scene later on by police.
Shortly before the abduction, a witness sees a stranger who is sopping wet, down by nearby lake by the name of Adams. The stranger asks for a cigarette. The exact time of this incident is not indicated in extant reports. Later on, a neighbor sees an out-of-place truck parked in an adjacent (to the McComb residence), abandoned lot.
The spotting of this truck by a neighbor occurred on the same morning that the woman went missing, early Monday morning, April 26th. Evidence of a tire track is left behind where the suspicious car was parked. Perhaps, this tire track is being tested to see if it matches the tire of our person of interest? I can’t confirm this.
The woman in question is Venus Rose Stewart, 32, and the location of her abduction is at her parents’ house, on Driftwood Drive in Colon Township, Michigan. Colon Township is in St. Joseph County, a rural area in southern Michigan. After the abduction, Venus Stewart’s father, Larry McComb, finds four detailed notes written by Venus, that document some of the transgressions of her estranged husband, Doug Stewart.
Significant physical evidence, that points to the husband, Doug Stewart, as the perpetrator of his wife’s abduction, includes a Wal-Mart receipt on the front passenger seat floor of his silver Dodge Ram pickup truck. Doug purchased a tarp, gloves, a shovel and a hat. A video tape from the Ohio Wal-Mart exists also of these suspicious purchases.
The time of purchase was at 6:45 PM, April 25th, the day before Venus went missing. The location of the Wal-Mart was somewhere in Ohio, an approximate midpoint between Newport News, Virginia, where Stewart lived, and Venus’ parents home in Colon Township, Michigan. This suggests that Doug was making a beeline towards Venus’ known location, and thought to pick up a few items needed for his intended purpose.
A shovel? Okay. A tarp? Yea. Gloves and a hat? Sure, let’s not leave any fingerprints. And now Lt. Mike Risko of the Michigan State Police is saying they can definitely place Douglas Stewart in Michigan on the day that Venus Stewart was abducted. Risko hasn’t revealed how they have been able to tie him specifically to Michigan?
Perhaps, even more important, is the evidence of blood found in Doug Harrie Stewart’s pickup truck. Apparently, there was additional blood found inside Doug’s other car, a Mercury Sable. The question remains, is this blood that of Venus Rose Stewart’s? A Michigan crime lab is doing analysis of the blood at this time. If they can confirm that it’s Venus,’ I would think they can make an arrest, of Mister Stewart of course!
All along Doug has claimed he has a solid alibi, that he was in Newport, News, Virginia at the time Venus went missing. Authorities now believe that an impersonator was purposely being seen at various locations in the Newport, News vicinity. According to Lt. Risko, the impersonator visited Stewart’s law office and paid a bill for his civil custody case. A clerk at the receptionist desk was tricked into believing it was actually Stewart himself!
This impersonator had on a hoodie and dark glasses. (I heard he had on a baseball cap also?) This imposter was also captured on video at Doug’s apartment complex. Remember, this was near to the time that Venus vanished, that early Monday morning of April 26th. It’s implied that Doug would have had to have hired this shady individual to sheep his identity. Risko says: “This person may not have known what Mr. Stewart was up to.”
Most chilling of all is the plethora of court records, in which Venus sought court-ordered protection. These documents are more circumstantial in nature, in the way they make Doug Stewart culpable in this abduction (and quite possibly the murder of his wife). But the level of fear present in what Venus wrote is most shocking, in the sense that she already knows that her husband is going to kill her. It was a given.
A portion of one such document reads: “I am tired of living in constant fear and I am afraid of what this is doing to my children. I am scared to death and everyday I live in constant fear and I am constantly looking over my shoulder wondering when he will appear again.”
A second document, that I believe was a petition for a personal-protection order (just an empty piece of paper really) filed in March of 2009 against Doug, includes more feelings of foreboding from Venus. “Once Doug loses all control over me, he is going to hunt me down and kill me. Now that I don’t have my parents to protect me and if he finds out where I am at he is going to kill me! It is only a matter of time.”
This is hard to believe, but the judge in St. Joseph County denied this second request for a protection order. The reason given by the judge is that the request must be only granted ‘for emergency situations, where there is danger of harm happening within the next few days.’ I am disappointed in the judge’s decision and greatly disturbed by the words that Venus has written.
Just this last February, Venus filed yet a third request for a protection order; finally, this one was granted. By this time she had fled Virginia and her controlling husband, and returned to live in Michigan with her empathizing parents.
In this February 26th document her phrasing is still imbued with fear and desperation. One can only imagine how abusive, how bad this Stewart fellow is. Venus’ words express her high anxiety, she says she’s: “running for my life so I will be around for my kids.”
One item that might be interpreted as the denouement in this case, is the fact that on April 19th a judge granted Venus temporary custody of the estranged couple’s two daughters. Therese McComb, Venus’ mother, sensed strongly that this was a threatening development. Therese heard her daughter’s words after court and believed her fears were real. Venus said to her: “I lived with him. I know. He’s going to get me somehow, somewhere.” I don’t believe her concerns were unfounded; she knew just how crazy this man was, for sure.
Some speculation on my part is called for at this time. This excogitation contains the premise that the husband did do it; let me include this disclaimer so that some might not accuse me of falsely, or better yet, prematurely fingering a fellow of grievous wrong doings. I’m simply turning this theory over in your minds with inky words. Words that may give us insight into this case of mysterious abduction.
So here we go, why would Doug go to all the trouble to establish a reliable alibi, by way of hiring an imposter that is visibly seen at locations normally frequented by Doug, and smartly timed when the abduction was taking place in Michigan, and yet be so stupid as to leave a Wal-Mart receipt lingering on a floorboard of his pickup truck?
Moreover, I believe he was video-taped purchasing these fishy items at the Wal-Mart? How stupid is this? He should have shopped at a pawn shop and paid cold, untraceable cash. In stark contrast, the imposter scheme reeks of cleverness! Go figure.
Furthermore, why would he use his own pickup truck to carry out this crime? Didn’t he fear that someone would identify it or take down the tag? And didn’t he wear a disguise on that Monday morning? The police sketch shows a man with a mustache and without eye-glasses. Doug, of course, wore eye-glasses, but maybe not all of time, like when he was committing crimes.
Even more stupid to me, is the fact that he did not clean up all of the blood from the two vehicles? How could this be, unless he did not see all of the stains. And how could there be blood in two different vehicles? I don’t want to get too graphic, and you probably know where I’m going with this, but this suggests a moving of the body, or possibly a transporting of bloody clothing in a different vehicle, don’t you think?
I sure hope this character is arrested soon; you know right here and now I believe that the husband did it. But the police must build a solid case, if it’s going to stick in court. One can only imagine the malice this man must hold in his heart for his wife (no more). And DNA evidence results take a life time (it seems) to come back from the lab. And don’t forget, the imposter must come forward to tell what he knows!
After Susan Powell, this is the most disturbing case I’ve seen, where a wife goes missing (seemingly forever). The difference in this case from Susan Powell’s is that Josh covered his tracks thoroughly, where as Doug Stewart left a plethora of incriminating evidence across the wide landscape of America, from Virginia through Ohio, and well into Michigan. But he won’t get away with it! Doug can look forward to a conviction of first degree murder and certainly, a death sentence awaits him. And don’t think Josh Powell won’t pay for his crime some day!
(Sources-Fox 17 online, Michelle Sigona.com, helpfindthemissing.com, Kalamazoo Gazette and Jane Velez-Mitchell’s Issues)