Husband of missing Connecticut mom charged with her murder
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The estranged husband of a missing Connecticut mother of five was charged Tuesday with killing her, and his girlfriend and an attorney for him were arrested on conspiracy charges.
State police arrested Fotis Dulos, 52, at his Farmington home. He was being held in lieu of a $6 million bond on felony murder, murder and kidnapping charges.
Also arrested were Michelle Troconis, a girlfriend of Fotis Dulos, and attorney Kent Mawhinney, a friend who represented Fotis Dulos in a civil dispute with his in-laws. Each was charged with conspiracy to commit murder with bond set at $2 million. All three defendants are expected to appear Wednesday in Superior Court in Stamford.
Jennifer Dulos, of New Canaan, disappeared May 24 amid contentious divorce and child custody proceedings with Fotis Dulos. She hasn’t been seen since despite extensive searches by authorities in a case that has drawn national attention.
Norm Pattis, an attorney for Fotis Dulos, said he was not surprised by the arrests but does not believe prosecutors can make the charges stick.
“What these charges tell us is the state has evidence and doesn’t know what to make of it,” Pattis said. “And what it intends to do is throw as much against the wall and let the jury decide what happened. Our position is that’s not good enough for Fotis Dulos.”
Messages seeking comment were left with Troconis’ attorney and the office of Mawhinney.
According to arrest warrants, Mawhinney had a prearranged meeting with Fotis Dulos on the morning of his wife’s disappearance, was at Fotis Dulos’s office and had his cellphone with him. He also was mentioned in what police described as “alibi notes” found in the trash at Fotis Dulos’ business, according to the warrants. Police declined to take any questions from the media at a news conference Tuesday, saying they barred by a gag order issued in the case.
Previously, Fotis Dulos and Troconis, 44, were charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in connection with Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. They pleaded not guilty and posted bond.
An arrest warrant later revealed the array of evidence police have compiled in the case.
Police say they have surveillance video from Hartford allegedly showing Fotis Dulos in a pickup truck with Troconis disposing bags of items, some of which were later recovered and found to be stained with Jennifer Dulos’ blood.
They also have traffic and school bus camera footage of a man they believe was Dulos driving a pickup truck to New Canaan on the morning Jennifer Dulos disappeared; surveillance video of Fotis Dulos getting the truck washed and detailed days after she vanished; and evidence that Jennifer Dulos’ DNA was found on the truck’s passenger seat, according to the warrant.
State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. said in court last year that Jennifer Dulos’ blood also was found mixed with Fotis Dulos’ DNA on the kitchen sink faucet of her home in New Canaan.
Pattis has offered several different theories for Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, including that she may have faked her own death to frame her husband.
Fotis and Jennifer Dulos had been in the middle of a contentious two-year divorce at the time of her disappearance. A probate judge in November granted custody of their children to their maternal grandmother, Gloria Farber.
Fotis Dulos filed a motion last month seeking to dismiss the divorce case because there has been no activity for nearly six months. A hearing in that case had been scheduled for Thursday.
Family and friends of Jennifer Dulos released a statement on Tuesday afternoon thanking police for their work leading to the arrests.
“Although we are relieved that the wait for these charges is over, for us there is no sense of closure, spokeswoman Carrie Luft said. “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.”
Fois Dulos and Troconis were both brought to the state police barracks in Bridgeport to be booked.
Shortly after Fotis Dulos’ arrest, New Canaan Police issued a one word Tweet — “Justice!”
Pat Eaton-Robb reported from Hartford.
Chris Ehrmann is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage, in a partnership with The Associated Press for Connecticut. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Troconis in some instances.