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Atlanta Woman's Own Daughter Implicates Her When Interrogated About Stepdad's Brutal Murder
Detectives must determine if an Atlanta police officer was the casuality of a revenge hit or something much more personal.
The picturesque Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro is known as the location of the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind.
But in 1994, the hamlet became the setting of the mysterious case of Douglas “Doug” Overstreet, 37, a respected lieutenant with the Atlanta Police Department who worked part-time as a security guard at the Rio Bravo bar in Buckhead.
The investigation into his murder began on September 28, 1994, when his wife, Candace, 40, called authorities to report he was missing, according to Oxygen's The Real Murders of Atlanta.
She explained that Doug liked to go off camping on his own, but she’d grown concerned after three days of no contact. She’d even reached out to his friends and his employers without any luck.
She told police it was the perfect marriage and that Doug was close to his stepdaughters, Brandi, 21, who lived at home, and Keisha, 19, a college student. As for his life outside of the Overstreet home, Candace claimed that Doug had hit work setbacks, including being passed over for a promotion and being involved in a GBI investigation concerning his unit.
Candace mentioned that she was scared that Doug may have gone off and killed himself, according to investigators.
Police searched places that Doug was known to frequent and put an APB out on his vehicle. They also considered that, as the head of the burglary unit, he may have made enemies. But nothing stood out in his files suggesting that he was the target of revenge.
Then, Doug’s truck was found in the long term parking lot at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The truck was photographed at the airport and transported to a secure warehouse for processing for fingerprints and other evidence. Prints that were found belonged to his family members.
At that point, the FBI joined the case, according to Robbie Frederick, a retired detective with Clayton County Police Department.
Police initially considered that Doug may have taken a flight — either voluntarily or involuntarily — but then, they received word that a naked man’s body was discovered in Lake Thurmond, near the Georgia-South Carolina border, said Joe Parris, a former Atlanta police officer. The victim had been shot 14 times, UPI reported. Members of the Atlanta team on the case went to South Carolina, where they identified the body using fingerprints as Doug Overstreet.
Detectives began their homicide investigation by focusing on the number and placement of gunshot wounds on Doug's body. At least four wounds were near Doug’s inner thigh, suggesting that there may have been a personal or even motive.
Candace acted like she was distraught when police broke the news about her husband. And while she initially painted their marriage as idyllic, she soon changed her story. She said she suspected that Doug was having an affair.
Police found evidence suggesting that Doug may have had a relationship with another woman he met through his job at Rio Bravo, where Doug’s coworkers told investigators that Candace was aware of his socializing. But authorities came up with no new suspects through this line of investigation.
The medical report from Doug’s autopsy revealed that two different firearms were used to shoot him — a 9mm and a 38 mm.
Police contacted Candace at her home to see if she could shed light on the case. She claimed that Doug had expensive tastes and had racked up debt but she didn’t know who loaned him the money.
Why had she not mentioned this significant information earlier, detectives asked? She said she didn't want to spoil Doug’s good name by talking about it, according to The Real Murders of Atlanta.
“We looked at those financials to see if maybe that could have been the cause of whatever he ran into,” said Frederick. Doug’s friends said that he borrowed money to keep his wife happy, but investigators were not able to tie financial problems to his death.
Three days after his body was found, detectives paid a condolence call to Candace, who mentioned that she was burying Doug with his badge, which she retrieved. That immediately raised a red flag because police officers typically don’t leave home without their badge.
Authorities asked if they could take a look around the house and Candace gave them permission. In the couple’s bedroom they discovered that all of Doug’s belongings were gone. His presence had been wiped away, according to Cliff Sticher, retired Chief Assistant DA, Clayton County Judicial Circuit. They also found that the carpet in the room had been untacked and there were blood stains on the subflooring.
Police left without mentioning these discoveries to Candace — and returned with a search warrant. Further inspection revealed significant bloodstains. "This was not a shaving accident,” said retired FBI agent Peter McFarlane.
In addition, investigators found two bullets below the bedroom flooring. Using Luminol, which reveals the presence of blood, they saw a long blood trail leading from the room to the basement. They also turned up blood in Candace’s van.
“The murder is horrific. It’s like something out of a movie,” said Linda Looney, former news reporter, CBS Atlanta.
Police believed that Doug had been shot in the bedroom and then dragged through the house and into the car. Because he was a big man, it would have taken two people to move him, so at that point they requested that Candace and Brandi accompany them to the police department for a further interview.
At the station, Candace declined to speak with authorities but Brandi, who was in a separate room, didn’t know that. Police told her that her mother had owned up to the crime, prompting Brandi to tell investigators that her mother had awakened her and told her that she had shot Doug. She enlisted Brandi’s help in moving the body and driving it to the lake.
Investigators said that Brandi told her that Candace admitted she had used two separate weapons to shoot Doug, investigators said. Candace tossed the guns into a river to dispose of them.
To throw investigators off, Candace drove Doug’s truck to the airport and had her daughter follow her in her car. They returned home and cleaned up the gruesome murder scene.
On December 21 1994, Candace Overstreet was indicted on two counts of felony murder. She never revealed her motive for the murder, according to Looney.
Brandi was given immunity in exchange for her testimony against her own mother. “Giving Brandi immunity and getting the testimony from her closed the loop on the case,” said Skip Breezer, Doug’s friend.
The DA’s office learned that Candace’s defense team was going to allege that Doug was sexually assaulting his stepdaughters. Prosecutors found no evidence of that.
To preserve Doug’s good name, they agreed to let Candace plead to voluntary manslaughter, according to The Real Murders of Atlanta.
Candace was given a 40-year sentence. Scheduled for release in 2034, she was paroled December 1, 2020.
To learn more about the case, watch The Real Murders of Atlanta on Oxygen.