HARTFORD, Conn — Sunday, May 24th, marks the heartbreaking one-year anniversary of Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance.
Her disappearance sparked a long, intense investigation that continues to this day. The investigation offered up question after question into what may have happened to Jennifer, and if any foul play was involved.
The investigation eventually led to Jennifer’s estranged husband, Fotis Dulos. Also suspected of having something to do with Jennifer’s disappearance were Michelle Troconis, Fotis’ girlfriend at the time, and Kent Mawhinney, a friend.
The three were arrested in early January on charges related to Jennifer’s disappearance. Fotis was charged with murder.
Three weeks later, Fotis was found unresponsive while his car was running inside his garage. Two days later, he was pronounced dead.
On the Friday before the one year mark of her disappearance, a statement was released on behalf of Jennifer's friends and family:
We miss Jennifer beyond words. The ache of her absence doesn’t go away. Countless questions remain unanswered. The brutality and inhumanity of her death and disappearance continue to haunt us, without subsiding.
But the earth keeps spinning, and somehow an entire year has elapsed. We can see it, and measure it, in the growth of her children, who are taller, stronger, wiser, and more like their mom every day. And we continue to see and sense her in their expressions, their gestures, their laughter, their hugs.
It is a testament to her deeply loving influence as a parent that Jennifer’s children are healthy and well. They are safe and surrounded by love and support. Gloria, their grandmother and guardian, is also healthy and well, for which we are so grateful during this precarious time.
In the past several months, the focus of the media has turned, as it should, to the life-threatening illness that has engulfed the globe. We know Jennifer has not been forgotten. The investigation into her death and disappearance is active and ongoing, and we remain extremely grateful to the Connecticut State Police and New Canaan Police for their commitment to Jennifer’s case. Two people have been arrested for conspiracy to murder and have yet to stand trial. That day will come.
The calls for Justice for Jennifer are powerful and moving. We urge that their scope be extended to all victims of intimate partner violence, many of whose stories are never told and who are now even more at risk. Some community-based groups are organizing Candles for Jennifer on Sunday, May 24. Please support them—in Jennifer’s honor, and in honor of all those who have died by intimate partner violence.
Likewise, for any who can afford to do so, we encourage donations to a local women’s shelter, family shelter, or food bank. These vital organizations are struggling during the pandemic, at a time when their services are more crucial than ever.
Jennifer was a very private person; she would never have wanted the details of her life to be made public. When you read about her case, we ask that you keep that in mind. She was gentle, kind, brilliant, and courageous, and we still cannot believe she is gone.
The investigation continues into Jennifer's disappearance.
Here is how the last year has played out:
In the evening on May 24th, 2019, the New Canaan Police Department had received a report of a missing person.
Friends of Jennifer Dulos had reported her missing after not hearing from her for about 10 hours, and after she had missed several appointments during the day. The friends had said that the last time one of them had contact with her was when Jennifer dropped her five children off at school that morning.
Jennifer was believed to be driving her 2017 black Chevy Suburban at the time she dropped off her children. Police had said that at no time were the five Dulos children missing, and that they were staying with family as the search began for Jennifer.
Later that Friday, police found Jennifer’s Chevy Suburban at Waveny Park in New Canaan.
On May 28th, police had reported that the New Canaan Police Investigative Section in partnership with the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad, with the assistance of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, worked around the clock to locate Jennifer by exploring all leads and tips.
The had said the investigation was being treated as a missing person case, but by default, that also means a criminal investigation was underway as well. Police said that is usually the case with missing person cases, to try and determine if the missing person was the victim of foul play or intentional harm.
A drone was used to help scour the area for Jennifer, but police came away with no results.
The first arrest
Jennifer's disappearance soon led police to her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.
Within hours of her SUV being found, police spoke with Fotis at the New Canaan police department where he handed over his mobile phone.
Police later determined that Dulos is believed to have been in the area of Jennifer's home on the Friday she disappeared.
On June 2, Fotis Dulos and girlfriend at the time, Michelle Troconis, were charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and hampering an investigation in the first degree.
Released court documents had revealed how Jennifer was fearful of Fotis, which led to their contentious divorce and custody proceedings.
In December 2018, Fotis had asked for access to his children and for the divorce case to be dismissed. The five children are currently in custody of their grandmother, Gloria Farber.
According to the warrant, Fotis Dulos’ cell phone traveled back-and-forth between two properties he owns in Farmington throughout the day on May 24, which is when his estranged wife went missing. At 7:10 PM records show his phone and his girlfriends traveled to area of Albany Ave, Hartford. Police and fire departments searched that area for evidence on Friday.
Evidence had led investigators to a trash facility in Hartford. Police said that Fotis and Troconis were seen the night Jennifer disappeared dumping evidence into trash bins on Albany Avenue. Evidence had led investigators to a trash facility in Hartford. Investigators also scoured ponds and lakes, and Waveny Park where Jennifer's vehicle was originally found.
Fotis and Troconis were originally charged with tampering with evidence and hindering the investigation into Jennifer's disappearance. A warrant that was released by police reported that Troconis had originally lied to police during an interview on June 2nd. The warrant also stated that Troconis and Fotis wrote "albi scripts" detailing where they were on May 24th and 25th, but Troconis had later admitted the details were false.
On January 7th, Fotis, Troconis, and a third person, Kent Mawhinney, were arrested and charged in connection with the disappearance with Jennifer.
Fotis Dulos was charged with felony murder, murder, and kidnapping. He faced a court-set bond of $6 million. He later posted bond, and was ordered on house arrest with limited permissions to leave. A week later, his release conditions were further restricted after he was seen removing items from a memorial dedicated to Jennifer.
Court officials said Fotis was scheduled to appear in Stamford court Tuesday due to issues related over his $6 million bond. Sources told FOX61 the bondholder was being questioned about whether the real estate assets that Dulos put up to secure his bond and release have enough equity due to liens and mortgages. Fotis did now show up to court that afternoon, and police later found him unresponsive in his garage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Troconis has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and had a court set bond of $2 million. She later posted bond.
Mawhinney, a Bloomfield-based lawyer and personal friend of Dulos, was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and was also charged with $2 million. He was unable to post bond, and remains at a correctional facility in Cheshire.
In an almost-500 page search warrant released by police, they outlined what led them to eventually charging Fotis, Troconis, and Mawhinney in connection with Jennifer's disappearance.
A gag order was placed on the investigation, limiting what investigators and those involved with the case could share with the public and media.
Read the arrest warrants here
On Tuesday, January 28, police said they responded to Dulo's Jefferson Crossing home after Fotis failed to appear for an emergency bond hearing in Stamford.
When Farmington police arrived, they said they saw Fotis in a vehicle, and in "obvious medical distress from an attempted suicide." They forced their way into the garage and immediately began rendering medical aid.
Fotis was taken to nearby UConn Hospital and then was flown by LifeStar to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. At Jacobi, he was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in a hyperbaric chamber. Pattis had described Fotis' condition the next day as "dire".
Defense Attorney Norm Pattis confirmed on January 30th that Fotis Dulos had died.
RELATED: Norm Pattis: ‘Fotis Dulos has died’
The court case for Troconis and Mawhinney continue.
Pattis asked that the case against his client be continued after Fotis's death, but eventually the case was dropped.
Jennifer's children are said to be living with their grandmother.