At about 5 a.m. on May 25, a neighbor in an affluent community heard what sounded like metal banging inside of the home just across the street. The property is one of many that belong to 51-year-old Fotis Dulos, who is behind bars accused of destroying evidence and hindering prosecution in connection to the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Dulos. She had filed for divorce in July 2017.
Roughly 12 hours earlier, officers from the New Canaan Police Department received a 911 call requesting a welfare check from concerned friends after Jennifer, 51, a mother-of-five missed multiple scheduled doctor appointments in New York City.
When police arrived a few minutes later, they found an empty estate. At the behest of the family, their longtime nanny Lauren Almeida, 28, met officers at the property and unlocked the door for them to gain entry.
Police didn’t find the Connecticut mother home nor any signs of forced entry, but their nightmare worsened. When officers journeyed to the garage, they immediately located several bloodstains on the floor and on a vehicle parked in the garage. It was then they realized something wasn’t right and they instantly started combing the area for any clues. Within the hour, they found Jennifer’s empty Suburban parked three miles from her property.
“This case became a national story almost immediately; a missing mother-of-five vanished after returning home from taking her children to school,” a detective in a neighboring Connecticut town told The ENQUIRER. “Who could ditch crucial evidence pertaining to the disappearance of a mother-of-five in the trash. What kind of monster does that take?”
It’s been over two weeks since Jennifer disappeared, and authorities are desperate for clues. The FBI joined state and local law enforcement officers to search properties owned by her estranged husband. The missing mother was last seen May 24 after dropping her children off at school at approximately 8 a.m. that morning.
On June 1, the case captured national attention when Fotis & his former mistress-turned-girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, were arrested and charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence in connection to the mother-of-five’s disappearance after police claim they found video surveillance that appeared to show the two dumping bags of evidence – including blood drenched sponges, clothing, and other material – at over 30 locations in a four-mile radius.
Michelle posted bond and was subsequently released from custody as her boyfriend remains behind bars.
“All the evidence that we have points to the fact that Jennifer’s estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend Michelle Troconis attempted to get rid of critical evidence,” a federal law enforcement source told The ENQUIRER. “This was a coward versus a woman.”
“It’s evident that a fight ensued in the garage of the victim’s estate given the blood located by the initial responding officers in addition to the evidence located by federal, state and local authorities shortly thereafter,” the source continued. “Further findings indicate that the victim could have succumbed from her injuries, but we are not ruling any theories or possibilities out.”
According to RadarOnline.com, authorities caught a big break earlier this week after obtaining an “emergency” search warrant to raid a large property owned by Jennifer’s estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.
“We received several tips that circled back to that residence and obtained an emergency search warrant for the premises,” a law enforcement source revealed to the outlet. “We did find several key pieces of evidence in various trash cans, dumpsters, and other locations.”
What’s more, NBC Connecticut was first to report Friday that police returned to Fotis’ Farmington estate. Surprisingly, they were joined by his former mistress-turned girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, who is also charged in connection to the disappearance of the mother-of-five.
“Ms. Troconis agreed to assist authorities in bringing resolution to this horrific tragedy,” a law enforcement source told The ENQUIRER. “Following her three-hour statement Wednesday, she agreed to meet with authorities at the property she resided at with Fotis to help cohobate her statement.”
“If an attorney, with enough experience, comes to the realization that there is no way to win a case, he or she may have his client cooperate,” high-profile criminal defense attorney A. Charles Peruto told The ENQUIRER. Peruto, known for representing some of the most prolific killers in America, including murderer Gary Heidnik, who kidnapped, tortured, and sexually assaulted six women, killing two of them while holding them captive in his basement.
“The ‘first one in the door’ of the prosecutor’s office, is the one who gets the best deal,” Peruto said.
According to a local law enforcement source, it is plausible that Michelle provided authorities with critical information to avoid potential charges. “Typically, suspects provide a statement or even a confession to exonerate themselves or to avoid future charges that could surface as a result of evidence obtained during the investigation,” the source divulged.
“This wasn’t random,” a federal law enforcement source told The ENQUIRER. “Someone had the specific intent to harm Jennifer by any means necessary.”
“There was a man who was not happy because of the outcome of a divorce custody proceeding, and the upcoming legal woes he faced,” a second law enforcement source conveyed to The ENQUIRER. “Then, the key person who could rid him of those legal woes vanished.”
“This is no longer a missing persons investigation,” a law enforcement source told RadarOnline. “This is now a murder case.”
“Michelle met with authorities and appears to be cooperating with them in the investigation,” a law enforcement source revealed to The ENQUIRER. “She further agreed to participate in the search for evidence and provide a complete walkthrough of what she saw,” noting Michelle will continue to participate in the event police have questions during their search.
According to multiple sources, authorities retraced the steps Michelle claims her boyfriend made on the day of and after the attack, in search of evidence and clues that the perpetrator might’ve left behind.
“There is a reservoir in the wooded area behind her estranged husband’s estate,” the law enforcement source said. “It is believed that the suspect might have gone through those woods in effort to avoid being captured on neighboring surveillance.”
The source noted police aren’t ruling out any possibilities or suspects as they continue their massive manhunt for information.
“The co-defendant provided us information and vowed to assist us to bring this case to a rapid and just conclusion,” the source continued. “Her statement enabled us to act swiftly and certainly towards bringing justice for Jennifer’s family. The information once again led us to the estate located at 4 Jefferson Crossing in Farmington, Connecticut, and to various other locations which will come to light as the investigation continues.”
Jennifer and Fotis shared five children ranging from ages 8 to 13. According to a family friend, Jennifer could only be described as a loving and humble mother who brought out the best in everyone.
“Jennifer was a very spirited mother. She had a lot of energy. She was just the light of our lives, Jennifer made people smile. Jennifer and the children were inseparable,” the family friend told The ENQUIRER.
Police are now seeking the public’s assistance in gathering surveillance footage to e-mail Kelly.Coughlin@newcanaanct.gov with your contact information and address. They instruct not to send any video content via e-mail.