Memorial service set for slain mom Venus Stewart

LEONIDAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Venus Stewart will be laid to rest this weekend, more than eight years after she disappeared on her way to the mailbox.

A graveside service for the mother of two is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Leonidas Cemetery, according to the obituary listed on Schipper Funeral Home Ltd.’s website.

Venus Stewart was 32 years old when she was abducted and murdered by her estranged husband as she walked out of her parents’ Colon Township home on April 26, 2010, still wearing her pajamas.

Michigan State Police Lt. Chuck Christensen said Doug Stewart admitted to killing her about a year ago, but did not disclose what he did with her body.

Det. Todd Petersen said time, pressure and authorities agreeing to a couple of prison requests ultimately changed Doug Stewart's mind.

In October, Doug Stewart led investigators to Venus Stewart's body, located down a two-track near South 42nd Street and East U Avenue in Wakeshma Township, about 12 miles north of where she vanished.

Petersen said Doug Stewart was very familiar with the area —  his father had worked there cutting wood as a business, and Doug Stewart would work for him as a teenager.

Venus Stewart was living at her parents’ St. Joseph County home with her daughters at the time of the killing. A week before Venus Stewart’s disappearance, she was granted temporary legal custody of the couple's daughters, who were 3 and 5 years old at the time.

At the time of Venus Stewart's disappearance, Doug Stewart claimed he was in Virginia. However, his alibi fell apart when a Delaware man named Ricky Spencer came forward and told investigators he had posed as Doug Stewart and stayed in Virginia while the real Doug Stewart carried out the crime.

Doug Stewart was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder on March 11, 2011.

Venus Stewart’s parents refused to move because they believed Doug Stewart, who is in prison for life, had buried her nearby.

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