Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Missing mother abducted from parents' house by estranged husband - husband sentenced to life without parole

By Rex Hall Jr.
Kalamazoo Gazette
April 26, 2010, 5:03PM

COLON TOWNSHIP — Police are searching for a missing St. Joseph County woman who is believed to have been abducted Monday morning by her estranged husband, authorities said.
Venus Rose Stewart, 32, was taken some time between 7:10 and 8:30 a.m. from her parents’ home in the 55000 block of Driftwood Drive in Colon Township, according to Michigan State Police. Police said Stewart, who was last seen wearing pajamas, may be with her estranged husband, Douglas Harrie Stewart, 29.

“We have information to believe she did not leave voluntarily,” said Lt. Mike Risko of the State Police Post in White Pigeon.

Police said the Stewarts may be traveling in a 1998 silver Mercury sedan with Virginia license plate XNP1453 or a silver full-size Dodge Ram with four doors and Virginia plate XNP1301. Douglas Stewart lives in Newport News, Va., and police believe the two may be headed there.

Risko said Venus Stewart formerly lived in Newport News but had moved back to Michigan where she was living with her parents and children. He said Venus Stewart’s father and children were asleep at the house in Colon Township at the time that she is believed to have been abducted. The lieutenant declined to say Monday what information police have that leads them to believe that Venus Stewart did not leave her parents’ home willingly.

Police described Venus Stewart as a white female, 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing approximately 130 pounds with brown eyes and dark hair. Douglas Stewart is described as a white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing approximately 250 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information about the Stewarts’ whereabouts to call the White Pigeon post at 269-483-7611 or the State Police Regional Dispatch Center in Rockford.

(Update 5-2-11)
Two weeks ago, Doug Stewart was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of kidnapping and killing his wife. Stewart was sentenced to life without parole on counts of 1st degree intential murder, and conspiracy to commit first degree inentional murder. A St. Joseph jury convicted Douglas of these charges on March 11 after a three week trial.

During the sentencing, which took place on April 18, Venus' brother Dustin Jasper read a statement by their mother, Therese McComb. Jasper was angry at his former brother-in-law for not telling his family where Venus' McComb's body was.

“Don’t you miss her? Don’t you realize how much Brook and Rachel need their mother? This just shows how much you didn’t love them and saw them as pawns to hunt Venus. You’re hurting Mom by not telling where she is at to have a proper burial.”
Jasper then called his sister's murder a sociopath who lied and seduced his sister into the marriage. "He never served in Afghanistan or was a sniper...A pathological liar lies to get sympathy, to look better, to save his butt...A sociopath will quickly proclaim that you are their true love and soulmate,” Jasper said. “They want to move in together or get married quickly.”

St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman presided over the trial and sentencing.
A week ago, on April 26, 2011,  a vigil was held for Venus McComb in Centreville, MI. It was led by Pastor Don Smith of Firm Foundation Ministries and attended by about 100 people. Pastor Smith said “It was a special day for me. My mother had also dedicated her life to the Lord and was going to be baptized that day...You could see the joy in her face in the midst of the struggles she was going through. Today, the biggest question is, ‘what are we supposed to do without Venus?’ How can something good come out of something so tragic?...We see the life in her legacy just by looking at her daughters. There’s nothing wrong with crying over Venus tonight. We need to mourn.”

Theresa McComb, the victim's mother said, “She made my life complete...She was a free spirit. She loved her little girls more than anything in the world.”

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