What to Know
- Jennifer Dulos, a 50-year-old mother of five, disappeared on Friday, May 24, after dropping her kids off at school; she remains missing
- Her estranged husband and his girlfriend both pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in connection with her disappearance
- The children's grandmother, who lives in NYC, has filed for custody of them; their father has been barred from contact with the kids
The estranged husband of Jennifer Dulos, the suburban Connecticut mother of five now missing for more than two weeks, and his girlfriend pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with her disappearance Tuesday, as prosecutors unveiled new forensic information for the first time in several days.
Fotis Dulos, 51, and his 44-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. Dulos is now out of jail after posting $500,000 bond on Tuesday, and was seen walking out of the Stamford, Connecticut, courthouse. Prosecutors wanted Dulos' bond increased to $850,000 after they say lab tests showed a mixture of his DNA and Jennifer Dulos' blood on a faucet in the missing woman's kitchen.
That was the first key new forensic detail made public since last week, when court documents revealed cops found blood in Jennifer Dulos' garage and said she appeared to have been the victim of a "serious physical assault." Arrest warrants also linked the pair to videos of trash bags being dumped in areas where Jennifer Dulos' blood was later found on clothing and other items. Surveillance video allegedly showed their pickup truck stopping 30 times along a 4-mile stretch of road to allegedly dump garbage.
Pattis says, "Just because there were 30 stops doesn't mean there were 30 bags," but didn't elaborate on a potential reason for the number of stops.
Prosecutors also allege Fotis Dulos showed up at Jennifer Dulos' New Canaan home on Wednesday, May 22, two days before she vanished. He did not go inside, they said, and allegedly told people he didn't want to go inside because he was worried his DNA would be found inside the residence. The two have not been living together since Jennifer Dulos filed for divorce in 2017.
At the same time prosecutors requested a bond increase, Norm Pattis, a high-profile defense attorney representing Fotis Dulos, asked for a bond reduction. The judge denied both motions and held Fotis Dulos' bond at $500,000. Pattis also asked the judge for an immediate trial, which the judge denied. The bond for the girlfriend, Troconis, did not change; she is permitted to leave the state with the court's permission.
Troconis left court quickly after her brief hearing and did not speak to reporters on her way out. She's due back in court next month while Fotis Dulos' next hearing is scheduled for early August.
Pattis said Tuesday after court that the state picked the wrong fight.
"At the risk of sounding rude, there's a lot you don't know. The state has picked this fight; we'll win it," Pattis said. "We deny the charges. We don't know where Mr. Dulos' ex-wife is. I would ask everyone to put aside the easy narrative here."
Jennifer Dulos, who moved from Farmington to New Canaan after filing for divorce, was last seen while dropping off her children at school in New Canaan on Friday, May 24. She was reported missing later that night after she missed several appointments in New York City and her friends became concerned when they could not reach her.
Police have been searching all across Connecticut, including in Hartford, Farmington and New Canaan, sifting through shredded trash in their hunt for evidence in the disappearance of the 50-year-old mother. Her five children, who range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins — have been staying with her 85-year-old mother at an Upper East Side apartment, apparently under armed guard. The grandmother has filed for custody of the children, while Fotis Dulos remains banned from contact with them. At a custody hearing Tuesday, a judge said he was not yet ready to make a permanent ruling in the case.