FARMINGTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of a missing Connecticut mother of five, has been arrested on charges of murder, while his girlfriend now faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Jennifer Dulos went missing from her home in New Canaan, Connecticut, on May 24, 2019, after dropping her five children off at school.
On Tuesday, 50-year-old Fotis Dulos was charged with capital murder, murder and kidnapping. His 46-year-old girlfriend Michelle Troconis was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, as was Kent Mawhinney, a civil attorney who represents Fotis in a civil case.
It was a day of dramatic developments and new information. Investigators have not recovered a body, but they say Jennifer Dulos is dead, and all the evidence points to her estranged husband and two accomplices, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
It came 229 days after Jennifer Dulos vanished from her New Canaan home. Local police announced the news with a simple Twitter message: “Justice!”
— NewCanaanPolice (@NewCanaanPolice) January 7, 2020
The shadow of suspicion over Fotis Dulos, now taking substance in the form of felony murder and kidnapping charges. The arrest warrant spells out the case against him. There is much DNA evidence from the missing woman recovered from items, including zip ties police say Dulos dumped in Hartford.
Web Extra: Read The Full Arrest Warrant (.pdf)
The warrant reveals for the first time “it appears zip ties were used to secure and incapacitate Jennifer Dulos for some time… . It is believed that [she] was alive at the time… to restrain her movements and prevent her escape.”
The warrant also reveals police believe Dulos rode a distinctive vintage bicycle to Jennifer’s home on the morning she disappeared, and likely dumped the bike in Hartford later.
The warrant quotes Lauren Almeida – the family nanny – who said after Jennifer vanished, “Fotis never asked me how Jennifer was doing… or showed any concern about the fact that Jennifer was missing.
Tuesday morning, state police swarmed the Farmington mansion Dulos built on spec and was trying to sell, taking him into custody, and transporting him to Troop G headquarters in Bridgeport.
“We’ve sat for months, waiting and listening to speculation, and now we get to address the proof. We are confident about our case. We are confident about our odds. We said long ago, ‘bring it on.’ And they did. We’re here, we’re ready,” said attorney Norm Pattis. “After months of listening to innuendo, suggestion and rumor, we now have something to shoot at. We intend to begin firing those shots at Mr. Dulos’ bond hearing tomorrow morning.”
The fact that a body has not yet been found is not lost on Pattis.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Dulos had any involvement in the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer, and we defy the state to prove that she is in fact dead,” he said.
Also facing charges is Fotis Dulos’s former girlfriend Michelle Troconis, and his one-time civil attorney Kent Mawhinney. Both are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, meaning they allegedly knew about the crime in advance.
The warrants detail what police say was Troconis’ constantly changing story about her interactions with Fotis Dulos the day Jennifer Dulos disappeared. She allegedly told police Fotis had once, in reference to his and Jennifer’s ongoing marital problems, said, “Sometimes I hope [Jennifer] disappears.”
The warrant alleges Mawhinney lied about his contact with Dulos on the day Jennifer disappeared, and about a phone call from Dulos, made while Dulos was allegedly dumping evidence in Hartford.
It also alludes to a large hole discovered on the grounds of the Windsor Rod and Gun Club before Jennifer’s disappearance, described as “one hundred percent a human grave.” Mawhinney helped to establish the club more than a decade ago. Police later inspected the hole but found it was filled in and contained no human remains.
Within days of her initial disappearance, Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband was arrested and accused of trashing clothes and cleanup supplies that were stained with his missing wife’s blood. He and Troconis were charged with tampering with physical evidence and hindering the prosecution.
Pattis also said the court put a $6 million bond on Dulos after he is arraigned Wednesday in Stamford. Bond for Troconis and Mawhinney was set at $2 million.
Dulos was on bail on evidence tampering charges.
The arrest warrant touches on an alleged motive, saying Dulos was broke and wanted access to a multi-million dollar trust fund Jennifer’s father set up for the five children.
The three suspects will spend the night in jail and appear in court Wednesday.
Following the announcement of charges, Carrie Luft of the Family and Friends of Jennifer Farber Dulos group released this statement:
“Above all we thank the Connecticut State Police and the New Canaan Police Department, as well as the assisting local departments, for their tireless commitment and diligent, painstaking work that have led to these arrests. Although we are relieved that the wait for these charges is over, for us there is no sense of closure. Nothing can bring Jennifer back. We miss her every day and will forever mourn her loss.
“We believe the arrest warrants will speak for themselves, and we ask that you please respect our privacy during this time. Thank you.”
Previously in the investigation, surveillance images showed Jennifer Dulos’ SUV leaving the home. Police believe her husband was driving it with her body inside. According to a warrant on Dulos, “The crime and the cleanup are believed to have occurred between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.”
Investigators also say the couple had the vehicle cleaned. State Police asked Troconis why the truck was washed.
“You showed me the picture of the blood in the door. It’s because the body of Jennifer at some point was in there,” she allegedly replied.
Police say they found bloodstains and spatter in the garage of the home, leading State Police to believe Jennifer Dulos was the victim of a “serious physical assault.”
Court records show a contentious divorce. According to documents from 2017, she said, “I am afraid of my husband. I know that filing for divorce and filing this motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way.”
Her five children, ages 8 to 13 years old, are now in the care of their maternal grandmother in Manhattan. CBS News reported that Fotis owed his mother-in-law in excess of $2.5 million.
Three weeks later, Troconis asked a judge for and was given an order preventing Fotis Dulos and his attorneys from contacting her.
In July, a report by the Hartford Courant said a shirt belonging to Jennifer Dulos was found stained with her blood along with a bra and cleaning supplies with blood.
Since then, loved ones of Jennifer Dulos have not given up hope.
“The heartbreak goes on even as time moves forward,” said Luft said in a statement. “Thank you to the New Canaan and Farmington-Avon communities for the ongoing support and solidarity. And, as ever, we are deeply indebted to the New Canaan and Connecticut State police for their tireless and dedicated efforts in Jennifer’s case.”
Anyone with information that may assist law enforcement in their investigation should contact the New Canaan Police Department tip line at (203) 594-3544 or see the website FindJenniferDulos.com.