The estranged husband of Jennifer Dulos and his girlfriend were charged in connection with the New Canaan mother’s disappearance.
Officers arrested Fotis Dulos, the husband, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle C. Troconis, 44 on warrants, New Canaan police announced Sunday. Additional criminal charges are expected as the investigation continues, police said.
The two were taken into custody around 11 p.m. Saturday in Avon and moved to New Canaan police headquarters, where they were charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and hindering prosecution in the first degree, according to police.
Jennifer Dulos, 50, a mother of five, was last seen dropping off her children at New Canaan Country School on May 24. Her black Chevy Suburban was found later that night on the side of Lapham Road near Waveny Park after she was reported missing.
Fotis Dulos is being held on a $500,000 bond at Bridgeport Correctional Center, while Troconis is being held on a $500,000 bond at New Canaan’s police station. Both are expected to appear in Norwalk Superior Court at 10 a.m. Monday.
Since Jennifer Dulos was reported missing, New Canaan, state and federal authorities have been working “around the clock to locate Jennifer by exploring all leads and tips,” New Canaan police said in a press release.
Authorities spent Saturday searching Fotis Dulos and Troconis’ Farmington home on Jefferson Crossing. Investigators reportedly searched a second Farmington home owned by Fotis Dulos’ company on Sunday morning.
Fotis Dulos, and Troconis, were escorted off the Jefferson Crossing property on Friday night. They went to the state police Troop L barracks in Litchfield, where Fotis Dulos provided DNA and hair samples, a source told the Hartford Courant.
Fotis Dulos told the broker handling the sale of the Jefferson Crossing house on Monday that his estranged wife’s disappearance on May 24, “was a sad situation and he hopes she’s found soon.”
The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos came up in conversation Monday when Rob Giuffria, managing broker for the West Hartford-based Tea Leaf Realty, spoke about another property he was trying to develop with his company the Fore Group, the broker said.
Giuffria is the broker who has been trying to sell the property for more than a year. He last spoke with Jennifer Dulos about a month after the property was put under contract with Giuffria to sell the home about a year ago, the broker said.
“She called to ask how it was going,” Giuffria recalled. “I said it was going fine. She was telling about how great a house it was. I haven’t heard from her since.”
Guiffria heard about Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance on Monday before he talked to Fotis Dulos. He is now considering placing the property on “temporary” listing status since it is unlikely that he will be able to show the 10,000-square-foot home while Fotis Dulos is being held on bond.
“We have an unfortunate situation where one of the owners is missing,” Guiffria said.
Michelle Troconis, 44, is currently living at Fotis Dulos’ Farmington home, according to public records. Before that, she lived in Miami Dade County, Fla.
Troconis and Fotis Dulos became entangled in a romantic relationship a year before Jennifer Dulos filed for divorce, according to court filings in the case. Jennifer Dulos said in the documents her estranged husband referred to Troconis as his “paramour.”
Troconis had “significant ties to Argentina,” according to the divorce proceeding filings, because her child lives there and the father of her child owns a ski resort there.
“[In] the past, my husband has made references to disappearing to a ski resort, ‘where everyone wears masks every day and are indistinguishable from one another,’ ” Jennifer Dulos said in the filings.
Troconis appeared in photos with the Fore Group, including one in 2018 when the company won eight awards from the Home Builders Association of Connecticut.
Troconis worked for nine years as a marketing director for Cerro Castor, a ritzy ski resort in Argentina which hosted the 2012 Freestyle Skiing World Cup. She was deeply involved with the initial set up of the resort, her LinkedIn profile says, and was in charge of hosting high-profile guests, including celebrities and politicians. Troconis attended board meetings, traveled to other resorts across the globe and wooed potential investors.
The woman briefly worked for ESPN as a producer and hosted a show called “Snow Time” in 2004. She interviewed World Cup athletes, directors of ski resorts and celebrities on the show.
The last or current job Troconis has listed on her Linkedin account is “corporate events coordinator” in Miami Beach, Fla.
Troconis graduated from the Universidad Central de Venezuela with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1998, her online professional profile says, and she is both fluent in English and Spanish.
Troconis’ private Instagram account reads: “CEO de mi hogar. Creadora de ideas para el dia a dia de Nicole,” which translates to, “CEO of my home. Creator of ideas for the day to day of Nicole.”
More than two dozen state police cars and at least two K-9 units arrived around 8:45 a.m. Sunday at 80 Mountain Spring Road, a property renovated and owned by husband Fotis Dulos’ company, the Hartford Courant reported. The house is on sale for nearly $3 million, according to the website for Dulos’ company, the Fore Group, which makes custom-built homes.
“At Fore Group, we work hard to build homes that families love to live in, homes that reflect their surroundings, bettering them, creating something that even more beautiful in reality than was drawn on paper,” Fotis Dulos said in a video advertising a 4 Jefferson Crossing property. “We bring your vision to life and, may I add, we fully love what we do.”
The company reconstructed the house at 80 Mountain Spring Road last year to include a four-car garage and all-season covered porch off the kitchen and dining room, according to the Fore Group’s website. The Tudor-style home is on five acres and was originally built in 1926, the website said.
The Fore Group purchased the home for $775,000 in 2016 from the family of Burges Smith, according to property records. Smith had died in 2008 in the home, which his parents had built, according to his obituary.
Earlier Sunday morning, two state police cruisers were about two miles away at Fotis Dulos’ Jefferson Crossing home, where authorities had looked Saturday for clues.
One of the police cars left the 10,000-square-foot custom built home listed for sale at $4.3 million before 7 a.m. Sunday, but the other cruiser stayed in the driveway.
Prayer vigils will be held Sunday night in New Canaan and in West Hartford after several hundred attended a service on Thursday night at St. Aloysius Church.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, located at 111 Oenoke Ridge, will hold a service for all denominations from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Parents of the Renbrook School in West Hartford and the Farmington Montessori School have organized a vigil at the Hartford Golf Club at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The Dulos children previously attended the schools.
Searching for Jennifer
For most of the past week, searches for Jennifer Dulos have been focused in Waveny Park, the Welles Lane neighborhood where Dulos has rented a home for the past two years and at her parents’ home in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
However, the investigation quickly shifted Friday afternoon to the Hartford area after Fotis Dulos was seen on security cameras outside a bakery, a source told the Courant. The woman who answered the phone Sunday morning at Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery declined to comment.
Some two dozen state troopers and firefighters searched the Upper Albany section of the city, first focusing on a storm drain outside of Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery. Investigators then searched nearby backyards and trash bins, which local residents said were empty after the garbage had been picked up earlier in the day.
Soon after the Hartford search began, authorities arrived at Fotis Dulos’ Farmington home around 6 p.m. Friday, according to the Daily Mail. Investigators were seen talking with Dulos and Traconis in the driveway before going inside the home for about an hour, the Daily Mail reported.
Ferraro, a spokesman for the New Canaan Police Department, released a statement on Saturday saying, “no comment will be given regarding who has been questioned in this case.”
“The criminal investigation into this case is continuing and it does involve securing search warrants,” Ferraro said. “No comment at this time will be offered on details relating to locations of search warrants or details of what items are listed on the search warrants.”
While New Canaan police have been tight-lipped about the investigation, state police sources have provided some insight.
One source told Hearst Connecticut Media last week that blood was discovered inside Jennifer Dulos’ home the day after she was reported missing.
Another source told the Courant a housekeeper arrived at Jennifer Dulos’ home at noon on May 24 and did not notice the blood.
The information also tightened the timeframe when Dulos went missing to sometime between 8 a.m. when she dropped her five children off at school to noon. Dulos also missed appointments she had scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. that day, a source told the Courant.
New Canaan police returned to the Lapham Road area Friday morning around the time they believed Dulos’ SUV was left on the side of the road a week earlier. They handed out missing person flyers and spoke to passing motorists in hopes of finding a witness who saw something on May 24.
Jennifer and Fotis Dulos have been involved in a two-year divorce case. In court documents, Jennifer Dulos said she was afraid of her estranged husband and was fearful he would retaliate against her for seeking a divorce.
Jennifer Dulos’ mother, Gloria Farber, has been in her own legal battle with Fotis Dulos. Farber and her late husband’s estate have filed a lawsuit against Fotis Dulos, accusing him of failing to repay $1.7 million in loans he used to purchase properties and build homes for his business, The Fore Group.
The Farbers’ Mallard Lake Road home in Pound Ridge, N.Y., was the focus of the authorities’ search on Thursday. The home is about a 15-minute drive from Dulos’ New Canaan residence.
Two years ago, Jennifer Dulos abruptly left the Farmington home with her children and moved to New Canaan before filing for divorce the next day. Her sudden departure prompted Fotis Dulos to call 911, saying he was “worried about my wife and kids,” according to audio of the more than four-minute call obtained by the Hartford Courant.
The 911 call is referenced in the nearly 500 pages of divorce records. The records also mention how Fotis Dulos initially believed his wife left with the children for her parents’ home in Pound Ridge.
A status hearing in the divorce case that was scheduled for Wednesday at the Stamford courthouse was postponed. On Tuesday, a court-appointed guardian ad litem filed a motion for a hearing “regarding the safety of the children.” A date has not been set for the conference.
Fotis Dulos requested on Wednesday for a judge to allow him to see his children who range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins.
A motion filed by his attorney, Michael J. Rose, said the children have been staying at Farber’s New York City apartment under the watch of an armed guard the family hired. Fotis Dulos was turned away by the guard when he tried to visit his children last week, a police source told the New York Post.
Late Friday, Fotis Dulos’ divorce attorney filed a “withdrawal of deposition notices and production requests.” The notice was scheduled for Jennifer Dulos to be deposed on June 10, court records show.