On November 7, 2008, 39-year-old Doug Sidie reported his ex-wife, Alisha, missing. The two divorced in 2007 but were trying to reconcile & had recently been living together in Hatfield, Wisconsin with their two-year-old twin sons. At the time, 27-year-old Alisha was working as an assistant at a chiropractic office & also part-time as a bartender at a local bar. She had previously served in the Air Force. On top of two jobs & taking care of twin two-year-olds, Alisha was also a full-time student at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Doug told police that he & Alisha got into a fight on the night of November 7th & that he suspected that she went to the Mug Tavern, a local bar. He added that at the time of their argument, Alisha was drunk & took her purse with her when she left. Her car sat at the house; the family couldn’t understand where she would have potentially walked to. Sometimes Alisha would bring the boys to her mom’s house after she & Doug got into a fight though her mom hadn’t seen her.
After police spoke with Alisha’s family & friends, they found that no one had seen her since the 7th, the night Doug also claimed to have last seen his wife. Doug helped authorities search for Alisha through area woods over the next week, crying while speaking to reports, his twin boys in tow, asking where their mommy was.
At the time of their fight, Doug’s friend, Jess Terry, was visiting from Illinois & staying at their house for the weekend for a hunting trip. Doug told police that Jess had been sleeping on an air mattress in their living room on the night that Alisha went missing. When authorities went to speak with Jess, Doug informed them that he had already gone back to his home in Illinois.
After interviewing Doug, police headed to Lake Villa, Illinois to speak with Jess. They found it strange that he not only came to the interview with a handwritten timeline of events that occurred the night Alisha went missing, but they exactly matched Doug’s story.
Jess said that on the morning of the 7th, he & Doug had gone hunting & then went to the Mug Tavern for drinks. He said they then went to pick up a six-pack of beer & headed back to the Sidie’s house at approximately 7:30 pm & he had fallen asleep in the living room at 8pm.
In the meantime, police began to search the Sidie’s home after obtaining a search warrant. They discovered that a pistol was missing from Doug’s gun collection. Police asked Doug if he wanted to file a report for the missing gun, Doug declined, saying he felt it would “turn up.”
Around this time, police found Alisha’s cell phone in a nearby creek after a witness called in a tip. A receipt also showed that Jess purchased the six-pack of beer at 9:30pm, rather than 7:30 as he originally claimed. Jess was quickly transitioning from a witness to a suspect in police’s eyes.
Jackson County Detective Tim Nichols & former Wisconsin Investigative Services Bureau Agent, Ed Wall, returned to Illinois to speak with Jess for a second time. On this visit, Jess said that he thought he remembered being home earlier than 9:15pm but that “anything’s possible.” As he spoke with detectives, they noticed that Jess continued to click the top of his pen in a nervous manner. His body language & demeanor showed that he was nervous & had more to say.
They continued to press him about his timeline until he cracked & admitted that he wasn’t actually asleep the whole night as he initially claimed. He began to sob & say that he was “really stunned by it all” & was just hoping it was all a nightmare that would just go away.
Jess said that when they returned from the Mug Tavern, he used the Sidies’ bathroom & when he came back out, he didn’t see Doug. He said that he went to the front door to check & saw Doug coming back in. Doug told Jess that he shot Alisha; Jess said, “We gotta help her.” Doug responded, “She’s dead. She’s gone.” Doug then left to dispose of Alisha’s body.
As Jess’s statement was solidified, a dive team was called out to the lake where Alisha’s phone was found. They found a pistol with one round discharged; it matched the serial number from the gun missing from Doug’s collection.
Doug confessed that he shot Alisha after she threatened to leave & take their sons with her. He said she also threatened the life of his 8-year-old son from a previous relationship. He told police that her body could be located in the woods. The police used a tracker dog & Alisha’s body was found on November 15th in a densely wooded area in Komensky, Wisconsin. Alisha had a single gunshot wound to the left eye from a .22 caliber handgun. Doug said that he shot Alisha in the face as she left the garage where they argued.
He said he used rubber kitchen gloves & moved her body into his pickup truck. He first put her body in a marsh though returned after he felt the location was too visible. He drove to the wooded area in Komensky, dragging Alisha’s body face down across a dirt road & left her body where it was found a week later. The gloves & Alisha’s purse were found at the same site.
Tracy, Alisha’s sister who is 9 years younger, heartbroken, recalls the night her sister was murdered. She said that at the time, Alisha was talking about leaving Doug again. She had taken the boys out to dinner at a tavern for a fish fry. Because she happened to be eating at a bar, Doug called Alisha’s dad to tell him she had the boys at a bar & that she’d been drinking. When Alisha’s dad called her to see what was going on, she reassured him that all was well & they were just eating dinner. They both wondered why Doug was being deceitful & manipulative. When Alisha got home & put the kids to bed, she went out into the garage to have a conversation with Doug. Doug claims that Alisha threatened to leave him & take the boys with her & that he would never see them again.
He said that in his anger, he grabbed the gun & said, “F**k you, you f***ing b!tch” & shot her.” Tracy can only imagine, in horror, what thoughts went through her sister’s head in the minutes before she died. The autopsy showed that she had blood in her lungs & that she did not die instantly. She can only imagine the fear she felt knowing her babies were innocent. Instead of calling 911, Doug rolled Alisha’s body into a carpet & loaded her body into the car.
At the time, when Tracy got not only one phone call from Alisha’s friend asking if she’d seen her, but also a call from Doug, she could have never imagined that her sister was lying dead in the woods. As days passed, the family grew more & more devastated, the search party growing smaller, their hope beginning to dwindle.
Tracy recalls having a good relationship with Doug; the two would go hunting together. She noticed that during the search, he didn’t seem to be actually looking for anything as they combed the woods. As the days went by, Alisha’s family grew suspicious that Doug had something to do with Alisha’s disappearance.
Doug said he delayed telling police the truth because he wanted to spend time with his twins. As the investigation continued, it was discovered that this was not the first time Doug attacked Alisha. The same year Alisha was murdered, in April of 2008, the couple was out, celebrating Alisha’s birthday when Doug got drunk & the two argued about him driving. Doug pulled the car over & when Alisha got out, Doug backed the car up & hit Alisha. A deputy just happened to witness the event. Doug was only arrested for a DUI since Alisha didn’t want to press any charges against him. Tracy recalls fighting with her sister in the parking lot of the Jackson County jail that day when Alisha asked Tracy to bail Doug out. All she could say was, “you don’t understand, you’re not a mom.” There was plenty of mental & verbal abuse in the relationship; Tracy said there were two occasions that things got physical; another time, Doug had pushed or hit Alisha.
When they got home, Doug could only blame Alisha for the whole event & by the next day, Tracy said, everything was just brushed under the rug like it never happened. As time went on, Doug became more possessive & insecure, ridiculing the outfits that Alisha wore, the people she hung out with. Only one week before Alisha was killed, she & Tracy spoke & Alisha considered her relationship with Doug; unsure if she should continue to work on its repair or end it. Tracy, 18-years-old at the time, suggested that she go back to Doug & save her marriage. For many years, Tracy dealt with guilt, feeling like she contributed to her sister’s death.
Tracy describes Alisha as sassy, outspoken, energetic & fierce; by nature, she wasn’t a meek person that could be easily manipulated. Somehow, she ended up in an unhappy, abusive relationship. Tracy has been trying to understand the speak out about domestic abuse. She said that Alisha was her rock, she always looked up to her older sister & admired her strength.
Doug was charged with first-degree murder & pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison & will be eligible for parole after 35 years at age 75. Judge Elliott Levine said that what happened after the murder played a large factor in the time that Doug will serve; the defense attorneys argued for parole in 20-25 years though Judge Levine said, “If he throws the gun down & calls 911, things might be different.” Alisha’s parents, two sisters & a close friend testified & pleaded that Doug never be released from prison. Alisha’s mom, Susan Rowlee said that Doug dumped her daughter’s body in the woods like a bag of trash. “He promised my grandsons that he would bring their mama home & he knew she was dead & her body was out lying in the woods.”
During his sentencing Doug was apologetic toward Alisha’s family, saying, “I know they hate me. I can’t say that I blame them. I can’t tell them I’m sorry enough, I can’t put into words.. I never meant for this to happen. I never meant for things to go this far.” Doug is at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.
Tracy remembers that when Alisha first met Doug, they enjoyed each other’s company & had a lot in common; she also respected that Doug was a good provider. There were red flags that went unnoticed; their relationship progressed very quickly, Doug came as what seemed like a knight & shining armor. The family had recently gone through a house fire & Doug quickly offered that they move in together; he was right there to help the family. As time went by, Doug gradually began to isolate Alisha from her family, first ostracizing her mom & later her sister. Alisha dealt with verbal abuse that also progressed to physical abuse at times.
Since Jess was a cooperative witness, he wasn’t arrested though Alisha’s family couldn’t wrap their heads around why he hadn’t called for help when he discovered that Doug shot. Jess argued that he was fearful for the boy’s safety though when Doug left the house with Alisha’s body, he had the opportunity to take the boys & seek help. Jess claims that he went to sleep & left in the morning though Alisha’s family believes that Jess fully assisted Doug in moving Alisha’s body that night, even taking the boys with them. The twin boys ended up being adopted by the family’s cousin. Tracy knows that they’re in a good home but is saddened that they will never know their mom; too young to remember her.
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