What to Know
- Jennifer Dulos, a suburban mother of five from Connecticut, vanished May 24 after dropping her children off at school
- Her estranged husband has been charged with murder and other crimes; his girlfriend has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder
- Authorities had received thousands of tips in their quest to find Jennifer Dulos, but they've turned up no sign of her in more than seven months
Fotis Dulos, the husband of a suburban Connecticut mother of five who vanished after dropping her children off at school in late May, has been charged with capital murder, murder and kidnapping in his estranged wife's disappearance, State Police said Tuesday.
His ex-girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, Connecticut State Police said. Both were taken into custody safely and without incident. They had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, whose remains have not been found.
Fotis Dulos' lawyer Norm Pattis told reporters outside his client's Farmington home Tuesday that he had just learned of the arrest warrant and said two other arrests were happening simultaneously — one on a charge of murder, another on a charge of conspiracy.
"I'm not surprised that the state decided to bring the charge," his current lawyer Pattis said Tuesday. "I haven't seen the warrant. I'll be surprised if they can win it. Mr. Dulos contends he was not involved and I don't think the evidence will show that he was."
At a later press conference, Pattis said that they "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 added that the charges came as a relief to them "because after months of listening to innuendo, suggestion and rumor, we now have something to shoot at, and we intend to begin firing those shots at Mr. Dulos’ bond hearing."
Bond for Fotis Dulos has been set at $6 million; his arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Stamford.
Former Fotis Dulos attorney, Kent Mahwinney, was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to police. Bond for Mahwinney was set for $2 million, as police suspect he helped cover-up the crime.
According to police, Mawhinney was arrested twice in 2019 in an unrelated case. The first was a domestic violence incident in January 2019 in which he was arrested for sexual assault, disorderly conduct and unlawful restraint. The second arrest, according to police, was for violating a protective order that was put in place as a result of the first arrest after he allegedly attempted to use a third party to contact the victim.
Attorney information for Mawhinney was not immediately known. Pattis said that they were surprised Mawhinney had been arrested, and expressed concern that the charges would make him unavailable to testify as a witness.
"It is an extraordinary thing to charge a member of the bar with a crime, especially a crime as serious as conspiracy to commit murder," Pattis said. "Mawhinney was an important part of our defense, we believe he was with Mr. Dulos that morning."
For her part, Troconis' bond was set at $2 million. News 4 has reached out to her attorney for comment.
Both Troconis and Mawhinney are also scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
Last year, Connecticut State Police released a 38-page arrest affidavit for Fotis Dulos laying out step-by-step their allegations of evidence tampering in his wife's disappearance. Evidence included blood stains in his estranged wife's New Canaan home, missing vehicle seats, a mystery trip to an auto detailer and a license plate in a drain, among other reported pieces to the puzzle. Read the full affidavit below.
In a new state warrant release Tuesday, investigators revealed extensive DNA evidence, including Jennifer's found in various locations and Dulos' fingerprint on a garbage bag dumped in a trash receptacle in Hartford. They also found a logo from a bicycle police believe the 52-year-old took from his garage, brought to New Canaan and rode to Jennifer's house.
Investigators theorize that Fotis Dulos waited before going on the attack, then used zip ties to "secure and incapacitate Jennifer for some time" as he put her body in her SUV which he then drove to and left at a nearby park.
Law enforcement officials are under the belief that Jennifer is no longer alive, following a medical examiner's findings that "categorized the event as a Homicide of violence, to likely include some combination of blunt force injuries."
Fotis Dulos has denied the tampering charges that were filed against him. Most of his court hearings have been brief; and when he has spoken to the press, it has simply been to profess his love for his five children and say how much he misses them.
The five children have been living with Jennifer Dulos' mother, Gloria Farber, in her Upper East Side townhouse, supposedly under armed bodyguard protection, since their mother went missing. Fotis Dulos has been banned from any sort of contact with the kids.
Farber has filed for sole custody of the children; Fotis Dulos has battled her claim and recently sought to dissolve his divorce proceedings, arguing that his estranged wife has not been present to appear in court to propel them forward.
As for what happened to Jennifer Dulos, Fotis Dulos and his attorneys have offered a series of scenarios, including one where Jennifer Dulos ran off to punish him, like the female lead in the novel and film "Gone Girl."
The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos
Suburban mother of five from Connecticut vanished May 24, 2019
In an exclusive one-on-one interview with NBC 4 New York, Fotis Dulos asked that the public wait for all the facts to come out.
"I know what I've done, I know what I haven't done," he told NBC 4 New York in July, about two months after his wife vanished.
In that interview, he sent his prayers to Jennifer's family, and said that any notion he wished her ill was "ludicrous."
"I had my differences with Jennifer like many people do when they go through a marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I wish her ill in any way ... I never wanted Jennifer out of the way, " he said.
Jennifer Dulos' family has rejected Fotis Dulos' defenses at every turn.
In a statement following news of the arrest, Jennifer Dulos' family said in part: "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."
For those in the town of New Canaan, where Jennifer was from and was last seen, news of the arrest did not come as a surprise, but rather with a sense relief. Many in the town had been waiting on Fotis Dulos to be arrested for months, and had been wondering why he hadn't yet faced charges.
"I think the community really wants to find the killer because for anyone to do that anywhere ... they should get justice. And if [Fotis Dulos] did it, he should go to prison," said neighbor Brian Sullivan.
Some in the town said that as soon as the news broke, people started honking car horns to alert one another of the update.