Missing Connecticut mom’s estranged husband, girlfriend to appear in court
The estranged husband of missing mom of five Jennifer Dulos and his girlfriend have been charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence; Laura Ingle reports from the courthouse.
NORWALK, Conn. — A man police believe to be Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of Jennifer Dulos, the Connecticut mother of five who has been missing for more than a week, was caught on multiple surveillance cameras the night she was reported missing throwing out numerous garbage bags and items "which appeared to be stained with a substance consistent with the appearance of blood," according to court documents revealed Monday.
Fotis Dulos is likely to face further charges in the coming days, prosecutors said during a Monday arraignment on evidence tampering allegations, and asked Dulos' bail be kept at $500,000. No plea was entered by Dulos or his girlfriend, who was also arraigned on tampering charges in a separate hearing Monday at Norwalk Superior Court.
Dulos, 51, and girlfriend Michelle Troconis, 44, were arrested late Saturday at a hotel in Avon, Conn., on charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution relating to the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos. Dulos' lawyer Monday said it was unlikely he would be able to post bail immediately. Troconis' attorney said she would be able to make her $500,000 bail Monday. She will have to wear a GPS monitor.
Troconis, a multilingual high-roller who has interviewed celebrities on television and helped launch an upscale ski resort in Argentina, arrived at the courthouse first. Her brown hair was tied up in a ponytail and she did not speak to the media. Fotis Dulos arrived in court soon after wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Fotis Dulos and Troconis became romantically involved about a year before Jennifer Dulos filed for divorce and moved to the close-knit community in New Canaan. Authorities have hinted other charges against the couple could be coming soon.
Since Dulos was reported missing 10 days ago, local, state and federal authorities have been "working around the clock" to find her, New Canaan police said in a statement Sunday.
Specifically, authorities spent the weekend searching Fotis Dulos' sprawling 10,000-square foot Farmington mansion, as well as a nearby residence Dulos' company, Fore Group, had developed. Armed with search warrants, investigators showed up at the Farmington home Sunday with more than a dozen state police vehicles and two canine units.
In the past 72 hours, state police obtained DNA samples from Fotis Dulos, who, for the past two years, has been locked in a contentious custody battle with his wife over the couple's five children, who range in age from 8 to 13.
Dulos' disappearance continues to be treated as both a missing-person case and a criminal investigation, New Canaan Police Lt. Jason Ferraro said.
The 50-year-old brunette was last seen driving a black Chevy Suburban 10 days ago, when she dropped off her children at their private school in New Canaan. Authorities spent three hours Friday handing out flyers that featured a picture of Dulos and her vehicle.
The circumstances surrounding Dulos' disappearance have taken an ominous turn in recent days as more information has emerged about the couple's rocky relationship.
According to court documents, Jennifer Dulos said she was "terrified for (her) family's safety, especially since discovering the gun, since my husband has a history of controlling, volatile and delusional behavior." She also accused her husband, who was born and raised in Greece but attended college in the United States, of threatening to kidnap their children and take them to Greece.
Fotis Dulos, who married Jennifer 13 years ago, has strongly pushed back on his wife's allegations. He has said he turned in his handgun to the Farmington police and accused his wife of being the unfit parent. He also said she had mental health issues, asserting at one point she verbally attacked him and called him names in front of guests.
Members of the affluent Connecticut town have been gripped by the case.
"Stuff like this doesn't happen here," Leila Roxo, an associate at LoLo Bag, an accessories boutique in New Canaan, told Fox News. "It's a really quiet and safe town. Parents are OK just dropping off their kids and letting them walk around town, eat, have ice cream, buy something and then picking them up. It's pretty safe."
Roxo, who has a 6-year-old daughter, said she worries most about Dulos' children and the scars they may carry from their mother's disappearance.
"The 8-year-old is definitely going to remember some stuff," Roxo said. "I don't know how far apart the other ones are, but I have a 6-year-old and I feel like if this were to happen to her, she'd definitely remember."
On Sunday night, hundreds of people packed into St. Mark's Episcopal Church for the second vigil held in a week for Dulos.
Eric Cooper, the head of the New Canaan Country School, described Dulos as "an incredibly warm person" and a "devoted mother who supported everything her children did."
"We're heartbroken," he said. All five of the Dulos children attend the private school.
Carrie Luft, a spokeswoman for the family, said last week the children "miss their mother terribly, but they are doing as well under the circumstances as one could."
The kids are reportedly with their maternal grandmother, Gloria Farber, in New York City. Farber and her late husband sued Fotis Dulos, claiming in court documents he did not repay a $1.7 million loan he borrowed to buy and redevelop high-end homes.
Fox News' Lissa Kaplan contributed to this report.
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