Missing Connecticut mom told officials she was afraid of estranged husband
Two people arrested in connection with the disappearance of Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos appeared in court Monday as authorities released details of evidence gathered from searches and surveillance video last month.
The woman’s estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, have been charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and hindering prosecution, New Canaan police said.
They were arrested Saturday night and arraigned on Monday in Norwalk Superior Court before Judge Stephanie McLaughlin.
Defense attorneys for both suspects asked for a reduction in bail, but it was not granted. They were each detained on a $500,000 bond. Additionally, they must surrender passports and wear a GPS monitor if they post bond.
Troconis posted bond and was released. Fotis Dulos was still in custody Monday afternoon. Neither was required to enter a plea.
Another hearing has been set for June 11 in Stamford.
CNN has attempted to reach out to lawyers for Dulos and Troconis.
Warrants lead to evidence
Investigators on May 24 discovered “a large quantity of physical evidence in the garage area and inside” Jennifer Dulos’ house. according to an application for arrest warrants dated June 1.
The evidence includes “stains on the garage floor that tested positive for human blood,” “areas of suspected blood spatter,” and “evidence of attempts to clean the crime scene.”
“Based upon the crime scene processing, investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene, and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim,” the document said.
Surveillance video footage, captured May 24 by the Hartford Police Department Capital City Command Center, shows a truck that matches Fotis Dulos’ vehicle. The vehicle, a black Ford Raptor pickup, is registered to Fore Group LLC, a company owned by Fotis Dulos.
The video shows a white man matching Dulos’ appearance putting “multiple garbage bags into various trash receptacles,” according to the document. And in some cases, the “video showed items being discarded which appeared to be stained with a substance consistent with the appearance of blood.”
One video clip shows a white woman with a thin build leaning out of the vehicle’s passenger seat, “either placing something on the ground or picking up an item.” She was deemed “consistent with Michelle Troconis.”
“Detectives checked the trash receptacles shown on surveillance and recovered garbage bags consistent with bags show on C4 video, clothing with a blood-like substance and other items and household good (e.g. kitchen sponge) with blood-like stains, and other items,” the document said.
A two-year-old custody battle
Jennifer Dulos, a 50-year-old mother of five, had been in a two-year custody battle with her estranged husband when she disappeared. She had told officials she was afraid of him before her disappearance, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
“I know that filing for divorce and filing this motion will enrage him,” she said, according to the documents. “I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way.”
She said her fear intensified after Fotis Dulos purchased a handgun in 2017 and said he had “revenge fantasies” about harming other people.
Alan J. Rome, Fotis Dulos’ attorney in the proceedings, could not be immediately reached on Monday.
Her friends reported her missing
Jennifer Dulos was last seen on May 24, driving a 2017 black Chevrolet Suburban in New Canaan, police said.
One friend was in touch with her earlier in the day, after Dulocs dropped her children off at school, police said. The children are safe and well cared for, family spokeswoman Carrie Luft said.
Dulos’ friends reported her missing about 7 p.m. that day, saying they hadn’t heard from her in 10 hours and that she had missed several appointments.
Since then, the New Canaan Police Department with the help of Hartford Police and Fire Departments and Connecticut State Police have combed through various areas of the state, looking for the mother. Police have not said if they have found her.
‘She would never, ever disappear’
Hundreds of people across Connecticut have packed vigils and churches hoping for the safe return of Jennifer Dulos.
At a Sunday vigil at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan, Aaron Cooper, the head of New Canaan Country School, said the community is “heartbroken.”
Cooper said Dulos’ five children are “beloved members of our school community.”
Those who know Jennifer Dulos, he said, “know her as an incredibly warm person, as an unbelievably devoted mother, as an active member of our community, supporting everything with her children, volunteering for everything.”
“We stand together to support the children, and support the family they’re with and to support our community,” he said.
In a statement to CNN affiliate WTIC from Jennifer Dulos’ family and friends, she was described as “an extremely thoughtful, reliable, and organized woman,” in addition to being a devoted mother.
“She would never, ever, disappear when she is responsible for the lives of five loving and energetic children,” the statement said. “Jennifer is gentle, kind, intelligent, and funny, and above all she prioritizes the health and happiness of her children.”
According to that statement, prior to living in New Canaan, Dulos and her family lived in Farmington, which is farther east, about 10 miles from Hartford.
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct month police captured surveillance footage allegedly showing a truck matching Fotis Dulos’ vehicle.
CNN’s Christine Maxouris, Tony Marco, Michelle Lou, Taylor Romine, Carma Hassan, Eric Levenson and Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.