Missing Connecticut woman's husband lay 'in wait' on day she vanished, police say

The estranged husband of a Connecticut woman who has been missing for months says he believes his wife is still alive. Investigators do not.

Fotis Dulos told NBC’s “Dateline” that he “did not” have anything to do with the May 24 disappearance of the mother of his five children, Jennifer Dulos. When asked if he thinks she is alive, despite evidence to the contrary, he said: “I do.”

But police in Connecticut said Thursday that they have uncovered evidence that proves Dulos was “lying in wait” at Jennifer’s home the day she disappeared, and that he used her car and then his employee’s truck to transport her body.

Watch “Dateline” on Monday, Sept. 9, at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m CT for more on Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance

Dulos, 52, was arrested for a second time Wednesday on evidence tampering following a June arrest on separate charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. His girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, who was charged with the same counts in June, was also arrested this week, about 24 hours after Dulos, on a charge of evidence tampering.

Nearly identical arrest warrants for the pair filed by the Connecticut State Police say Troconis has been interviewed three times by investigators, but it was not until her latest interview on Aug. 13 that she admitted “during her previous two interviews with police, she had not been truthful.”

Police confronted Troconis with a bevy of evidence, including surveillance footage from the day Jennifer went missing and the days following. Police have determined that Dulos, a real estate developer, had taken an employee’s red Toyota pickup from one of his company’s properties in Farmington on the morning Jennifer disappeared, the arrest warrants said.

That Toyota pickup is seen in surveillance footage moving between Farmington and New Canaan, where Jennifer lived, on the morning she vanished. Another camera caught the pickup parked 100 feet away from where Jennifer’s 2017 Chevrolet was found later that day, abandoned and with apparent blood stains.

Jennifer Dulos in an undated photo.Courtesy Family

And another shot, taken minutes later and showing Jennifer driving her Chevrolet home after dropping her kids off at school, “is the last known photograph of Jennifer alive,” the arrest warrants said. “At the time this footage was recorded, Dulos is believed to have been lying in wait … for his wife to return home.”

“The crime and cleanup are believed to have occurred between 8:05 and 10:25 a.m.,” the warrants said. At 10:25, residential surveillance caught Jennifer’s 2017 Chevrolet being driven away from the home.

“Dulos is believed to be operating the victim’s vehicle which is carrying the body of Jennifer Dulos and a number of other items associated with the clean-up which occurred in the garage of the residence,” the warrants said. Investigators have previously said that Dulos’ DNA was found mingled with Jennifer’s blood in her house.

Data from Jennifer’s cellphone indicates movement from her house to near where the red Toyota pickup was parked, the arrest warrants said. The red pickup, belonging to Dulos’ employee Pawel Gumienny, is seen on surveillance video leaving New Canaan just after 11 a.m.

Gumienny told investigators that Dulos had taken the pickup from a job site. When Gumienny located Dulos, Troconis and his truck at a different job site later that day, Troconis left with the Toyota’s keys, and Dulos tried to convince his employee to take a company car for the Memorial Day weekend.

Fotis Dulos stands during a hearing at Superior Court in Stamford, Conn. on June 11, 2019.Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool file

Gumienny refused, and Troconis came back with the keys. But Dulos and Troconis took the truck again the next week to have it washed and detailed, Gumienny told police. Police verified Gumienny’s account through car-wash surveillance footage, the warrants said.

Dulos also started urging Gumienny to replace the seats in the Toyota, which Gumienny didn’t understand, but he did it anyway because Dulos was being “pushy” and “growing angry,” Gumienny told investigators.

Dulos supplied spare seats that came from Jennifer’s Porsche and told Gumienny to dispose of the old seats “so they would not be found,” the arrest warrants said.

But Gumienny held onto the old seats and on June 6, he handed them over to police.

Forensic tests linked a bloodlike substance on the passenger seat to Jennifer’s DNA, the arrest warrants said.

Troconis admitted on Aug. 13 that she went with Dulos to bring the Toyota to be washed and detailed, the arrest warrants said. When police asked her why she thought her boyfriend took his employee’s truck for a $250 service, she replied, “Well obviously … all the evidence says because … you showed me the picture of the blood in the door, it’s because the body of Jennifer at some point was in there.”

She told police that before Gumienny had come to retrieve the truck on May 24, “she had witnessed Dulos cleaning what he described as spilled coffee” out of the truck.

“Troconis told investigators at one point Dulos had handed her a stained towel,” and she “claimed she could not remember the color of the stain, but she admitted the towel did not smell of coffee,” the warrants said.

When asked why she took Gumienny’s keys, she told police there was “no reason.”

She also said she had been lying when she said was with Dulos on the morning of May 24, and that in fact she did not know where he had been. “The initial claim was inaccurate despite the fact it appeared on the ‘script’ prepared by Dulos and perpetuated by Troconis in her first interview,” the arrest warrants said.

Michelle Troconis attends a hearing with her attorney Andrew Bowman in Stamford Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., on June 28, 2019.Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool

Investigators found the “alibi scripts” in Dulos’ home. Troconis admitted that she and Dulos wrote the notes, which “included information, which was subsequently proven to be inaccurate, events which Troconis was forced to admit during questioning and had never happened.” The scripts “included alibi witnesses who were later determined to be false,” the arrest warrants said.

The notes also omitted “all incriminating behavior.” Investigators have previously said that Dulos and Troconis were seen on surveillance video on May 24 in Hartford stashing items that were later determined to have Jennifer’s blood on them.

Cellphone data also indicated Dulos and Troconis were in Hartford later on the day Jennifer disappeared, but Dulos had left his phone behind that morning, despite the fact that he always carried it.

Troconis’ lawyer, Andrew Bowman, insisted Thursday that his client is innocent. “Remember that Michelle is presumed innocent and she should be,” Bowman said. “We’re prepared to let judgment in this case rest in a jury’s hands.”

Troconis was released on $100,000 bond Thursday, and she is due in court on Sept. 18.

Dulos was released on $500,000 bond and is due in court on Sept. 12. When leaving jail on Wednesday, he said he was in “an exhausting fight,” adding, “I love my children. That’s about it.”

His lawyer, Norm Pattis, said his client would plead not guilty to the new charge.

“Apparently, Michelle has changed her tune, and a handyman is telling tales to deflect attention from himself,” Pattis said. “We wish the state police spent more time looking for Jennifer and less trying to build a case against Fotis.”

source: nbcnews.com