It was a secret that Doug Stewart kept for almost a decade: the location of his wife's hidden remains.
It was a long-standing secret that, according to reports, he agreed to leave this week in exchange for access to video games, which he will now be able to play behind bars.
"The truth is that, without your cooperation and pointing out the location, we would not have found it any other way," Detective Chuck Christensen of the Michigan State Police explained in an interview with MLive.com.
And so it was that on Monday a Stewart chained and handcuffed led the police to a hole 5 feet deep in a wooded area in the municipality of Wakeshma.
"He really did not show any emotion, it was pretty practical," St. Joseph County prosecutor John McDonough told Detroit Free Press. "He walked the detectives to where he was and there he was."
Stewart had been convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 2010 death of Venus Stewart, even though his body was never found.
Venus Stewart, 32, was last seen leaving her father's house in St. Joseph County on April 26, 2010, approximately two months after she parted from her husband. It was reported that he had disappeared when he could not return from receiving the mail.
At the time of the disappearance of his wife, Doug Stewart claimed that he was in Virginia. His alibi collapsed when a man told police that Stewart had persuaded him to pose as him using his identity and credit cards in another state, while the real Doug Stewart committed the crime.
On Tuesday, the human remains unearthed from the makeshift tomb were positively identified as those of Venus Stewart, according to the Sturgis Journal.
The 37-year-old military veteran had long maintained his innocence in the murder of his wife. He said that changed when his sister reconciled with his wife's family, reported WSYM-TV of Lansing.
"It was my fault," said Doug Stewart, according to FOX 8 Live. "I'm going to be in prison for the rest of my life. I turned off the reason and looked for solutions, and chose the worst solution. "
But Doug Stewart apparently had several selfish interests in bringing the police to the body. According to The Associated Press, he agreed to disclose the location on condition that he received certain prison privileges, including access to an Xbox game console.
Stewart will now be granted several of those privileges, including the ability to train dogs, teach a class to inmates and play one of the three Xbox consoles that will be added to the Veterans unit at the Saginaw Correctional Center in Freeland.
The video game consoles, which will be available to all inmates in the unit, will not be connected to the Internet and can only be used for up to 30 minutes per day, Chris Gautz, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections told the free press.
The news of the agreement generated multiple headlines throughout the country. Since then, prison officials have played down Stewart's role in convincing them to allow inmates to access Xbox consoles.
Gautz, in a statement obtained by Lansing's WLNS-TV, said, in part:
"We had already been making plans to provide several used and donated Xboxes … The MDOC believed that if we could help the family close the process by accelerating these programs that were already in the process of being implemented, this would work to the advantage of the MSP and the victim's family. "
Michigan State Police Detective Todd Petersen told MLive.com that Stewart's access to video games will depend on his behavior.
"The moment Doug Stewart does not do what he's supposed to do as a prisoner … the prison can remove those things instantly," Petersen said.
While Stewart's exact role in getting game consoles inside the prison may have been limited to "accelerating" a program that is already under planning, the fact is that a convicted murderer and other inmates will be able to play video games behind bars and that's something virtually unknown in the penal system.
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