COLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The family of Doug Stewart, who was convicted in April of murdering his wife Venus in 2010, has never spoken publicly about their son or his conviction.
Though his parents, Doug Stewart Sr. and Karol Stewart, did not want to appear on camera, they spoke with 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday night.
Among other things, they said they're unhappy with their son's attorneys and still believe he's innocent.
"We didn't get a nickels worth out of those attorneys, not a nickels worth," Doug Stewart Sr., Doug Stewart's father told us. "[The attorneys] figured it was a cut and dry case. They never even prepared a defense for him they were so sure he was gonna be acquitted."
Further, they said they haven't seen any proof that Venus Stewart is even dead.
"We told them, if I knew for a fact that she was dead I would go out and help them look, and do anything, but where do you want us to look? What do you want us to do?" said Karol Stewart, Doug Stewart's mom.
Venus Stewart's body has never been found after she disappeared outside her parents' Colon Township home on April 26, 2010.
"If he did [kill Venus], he's where he belongs," said Doug's mom. "If he did this, but for God's sake show us that he really did this."
His dad went on to tell 24 Hour News 8, "I can't see him doing something like this to her. I don't know how he could do something like this because he loved [Venus] dearly."
He said they understand that the McCombs are also going through an incredibly difficult time.
The Stewarts said they just want to move on with their lives, and signs posted near their Fulton home make that difficult.
The fliers both urge people to look for Venus, and specifically ask Doug Stewart to tell where her body is. The elder Stewarts take those posters down when they see them.
The people who post those fliers "don't think about Mom and Dad. They think about [Venus]. And they think about Doug, and they have no idea what hell we've went through," Doug Stewart Sr. told 24 Hour News 8. "I've aged. I tell you, I've aged. Man, I'll tell you."
Several women in Venus Stewart's family have put up thousands of fliers in the more than a year since Venus disappeared. Her aunt, Mary Ellen Hopkins, spoke to 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday.
"It is their right to tear [the fliers] down just like its my right to put them up, but I'm not playing a game. This is not a family feud, this is I want to find Venus," said Hopkins.
Both the St. Joseph County prosecutor and Sheriff's department said there is no law that prohibits putting up, or taking down signs like these.
"We are not stupid we know [Venus' parents] feel bad. We know these girls feel bad that's why we agreed to put this stuff up. We don't care if you find her," said Doug Stewart Sr. "If she's out here, if you find her, you find her, but I'll tell you what. After the effort the state police and sheriff's put out if she'd have been out here they would have found her. I've never seen such an effort in my life."
Hopkins said she "really could care less how they feel right at this point." Mary Ellen Hopkins told 24 Hour News 8, "I care more about finding Venus and like I said, it's hard on Larry and Therese [McComb, Venus's parents]. But they know it's got to be done. They want Venus where she belongs. We have the cemetery plot, we have the stone. We need Venus."
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