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‘It Was a Mistake’: Key Suspect in Fotis Dulos Case Finally Speaks

The Daily Beast logo The Daily Beast 2 days ago Pilar Melendez
a woman in a white shirt and black hair: New Canaan Police Department © Provided by The Daily Beast New Canaan Police Department

As the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos looms, the woman police believe helped cover up a murder with the Connecticut mom’s estranged husband said her biggest mistake was “to have trusted him.” 

Friends and family of Jennifer said Friday they are still “haunted” by her mysterious disappearance and murder a year ago. The 50-year-old mom was last seen on May 24, 2019, dropping her five kids off at school. Authorities later found her car abandoned on a New Canaan road “in reverse” with its “lights on,” according to the arrest warrant. 

Luxury homebuilder Fotis Dulos, her 52-year-old estranged husband, was charged in January with capital murder, murder, and kidnapping in relation to a crime that garnered national headlines. Weeks later, Dulos died in a New York City hospital after attempting suicide at his Farmington home, where authorities found him unresponsive and “sitting in his vehicle” in the garage with “obvious signs of medical distress.” 

Authorities have never found Jennifer’s body, and they have said there are “indications” she is not alive. The pair were going through a bitter divorce at the time. 

“We miss Jennifer beyond words,” Carrie Luft, a spokesperson for family and friends of Jennifer Dulos, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “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.”

The statement, released two days before the one-year anniversary of Jennifer’s disappearance, said that the investigation was still “active and ongoing,” citing that two people will stand trial for her murder. 

Dulos’ former live-in girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, and his former attorney, Kent Mahwinney, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Troconis, 44, is also charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly helping Dulos dump several trash bags stained with his estranged wife’s blood. 

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

But as Jennifer’s family said they were looking to the future—with her five children that are “healthy and well” and “surrounded by love and support”—Troconis issued her own statement detailing her past mistakes. 

In her first public statement since her January arrest, Troconis denied allegations she was connected to the 50-year-old’s disappearance. She said that while people have “said many things about me—some kind; some cruel” she felt she had to speak out amid the anniversary. 

“I was advised by my lawyers to remain quiet and relay on the justice system, which is very frustrating for me because there is a lot I would wish to say,” Troconis said in a statement released by her lawyer, Joe Schoenhorn. “It has been nearly a year since I first heard about the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos. As a mother, I am saddened for the loss that these five children have suffered, being left without both parents in such a short period of time.”

Authorities have alleged Dulos was “lying in wait” near his estranged wife’s New Canaan home the day she vanished—and enlisted the help of his new girlfriend to dump evidence of the killing.

While the details of her assault have not been released, police say they found “multiple stains” at her house that “tested positive for human blood,” prompting investigators to determine Jennifer was the victim of a “serious physical assault.” According to an arrest warrant, zip ties were recovered at the scene, which were allegedly used to “secure and incapacitate” Jennifer when she was alive. 

After the attack, authorities allege Dulos and Troconis threw away several trash bags at a local dumpster. Evidence at the house also suggested there were “attempts to clean the crime scene,” authorities said. But in the Thursday statement, Troconis stressed she knew “nothing about Jennifer Dulos’ whereabouts or what may have happened to her.”

“To those who are quick to judge people they do not know, let me say this: It is possible to misjudge others,” she said. “Whether or not Fotis Dulos was capable of doing the things that police and prosecutors accused him of doing, I do not know. But based on what I have learned in the last year, I think it was a mistake to have trusted him.” 

Luft said that several community groups would hold candlelight services on May 24 to celebrate the painful anniversary and “honor of all those who have died by intimate partner violence.”

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