Police search trash plant with cadaver dogs in missing mom case – CBS News

Police search trash plant with cadaver dogs in missing mom case - CBS News

Estranged husband of missing Connecticut mom, and his new girlfriend, flaunted affair before she vanished

Missing moms blood found in trash bins Police in Connecticut are combing a Hartford trash-to-energy plant with cadaver dogs as the search for a missing New Canaan mother enters its 11th day. Jennifer Dulos, 50, a mother of five, was last seen leaving her childrens school May 24. Her car was found abandoned in a park after she missed several appointments and was reported missing by friends.

Saturday, her estranged husband Fotis Dulos, 51, and his 44-year-old girlfriend Michelle Troconis were arrested and charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the case. In arrest warrants released Monday, police said neither Fotis Dulos nor Troconis have cooperated in the search for the missing woman. 

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On the night she was reported missing, cell data show both the couples phones traveling from Farmington, where they live, to Hartfords north end. Surveillance video shows a man who matches Dulos description in a car resembling his black pickup truck stopping at over 30 locations along a four-mile stretch of Albany Avenue and dumping several trash bags in multiple trash bins, according to the warrant. 

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Police search Hartford trash plant for evidence in disappearance of New Canaan mother Jennifer Dulos

A woman who matched Troconis description is seen on video at one point leaning out of the trucks passenger window, the warrant says, and either placing something on the ground or picking something up.

Video: New Canaan Police Seek Surveillance Video In Search For Missing Connecticut Mother

Investigators who later searched the bins uncovered clothing and sponges stained with the missing womans blood, according to the warrants.

The 50-year-old mother vanished more than a week ago, on May 24, after dropping her kids off at school. Her estranged husband and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, face evidence- and prosecution hindering-related charges in her disappearance, though prosecutors have said they anticipate additional criminal charges as the investigation progresses. Neither defendant entered a plea Monday, and their lawyers have not spoken publicly on the investigation. 

Police contacted Hartfords Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority to determine where garbage collected from the Albany Avenue area would be sent once collected, leading them to the plant in Hartfords south meadows, MIRA officials confirmed to the Hartford Courant. 

A source with knowledge of the investigation said State Police contacted MIRA, located on Maxim Road in Hartford, Friday about a garbage truck that made a collection in the capital city on May 24, the day Jennifer Dulos was reported missing. The garbage was processed on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, according to the source. The source said MIRA directed State Solice to an area in the facility where the shredded garbage would be located. 

A state police team with eight German Shepherd dogs trained to detect the scent of human remains have been scouring the plant since mid-afternoon Monday, the paper reports. The search is expected to take several days.

Investigators have also searched a home in Farmington where Jennifer Dulos and her children, who range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins, had lived until about two years ago. She and the children left the Farmington home, about 60 miles north of New Canaan near Hartford, around the time Jennifer Dulos filed for divorce in June 2017. Fotis Dulos has continued to live at the Farmington house.

The arrest warrants say investigators uncovered bloodstains and blood spatter along with evidence of a cleanup at Jennifer Dulos New Canaan home. Investigators said in the police documents that they suspected Dulos had been the victim of a “serious physical assault” in the home.

The missing woman and her estranged husband had been involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle since she filed for divorce in 2017. 

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Fotis Dulos, a luxury home developer, and Troconis, an event coordinator who previously worked at ESPN in Argentina and Chile, were held on $500,000 bail during a court appearance Monday and were ordered to turn in their passports. Troconis posted bond and left court with her parents wearing a GPS ankle monitor, reports the Courant. Fotis Dulos has reportedly not yet posted bond.

Jennifer Dulos was reported missing around 7:30 p.m. that late May evening after she missed several appointments. She had last been seen dropping her children off at school that morning. Jennifer Dulos 2017 Chevrolet Suburban was later found abandoned on Lapham Road, near Waveny Park, a site flooded by FBI investigators with evidence markers for at least the third time on Monday. 

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Erin Donaghue reports and writes for CBSNews.com on topics including criminal justice, social justice and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @ErinDonaghue.

At this point, it appears any possible crime scene may be traced back to her home. According to the arrest affidavits, when police responded to Jennifer Dulos residence after she was reported missing, they found several stains on the garage floor and a vehicle parked in the garage with what appeared to be bloodstains as well as evidence of attempts to clean the crime scene.

NEW CANAAN, CONN. - Michelle Troconis knew Fotis Dulos was married when they met. She didn't care.

Fotis Dulos was asking the divorce case judge to grant him custody of the children. In a motion filed last week, he said the five children were staying with Jennifer Dulos 85-year-old mother on the Upper East Side under protection by an armed bodyguard. Court documents show the childrens grandmother filed for custody of them on Monday.

Troconis and Fotis Dulos, 51, flaunted their affair around their tiny Connecticut town even as his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, and their five children were still living in the house that Troconis and her daughter, now 10, would move into.

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There were pictures of Troconis and her daughter, Nicole Begue Troconis, on Fotis Dulos' business blog. Nicole was the 2018 Tristate Girls' U12 Slalom and Giant Slalom champion and was featured in Fotis Dulos' company ad campaign that year.

There were also pictures of Troconis standing next to Dulos and smiling at an industry awards dinner posted on his website.

None of it sat well with Jennifer Dulos, who said in court papers that Troconis' presence was emotionally damaging to her five children.

Superior Court Judge Donna Heller agreed. In March she said Fotis Dulos "had pursued his own self-interest and exposed the children to his paramour Michelle Troconis and her daughter…in complete disregard of the court's prior orders and the effect his actions were having on the children."

But none of that seemed to matter to Fotis Dulos or Troconis who continued to parade their relationship around town.

After a frantic search for Jennifer by local, state and national authorities that's so far proved fruitless, Fotis Dulos and Troconis were arrested over the weekend at a hotel in Avon, Conn., and charged in connection to Jennifer Dulos' disappearance. Troconis, who like Fotis did not enter a plea for the tampering charges, has her next court hearing June 11.

Unlike her boyfriend, Troconis was able to make her $500,000 bail and left the courthouse, fitted with a GPS ankle monitor, Monday afternoon.

It's a far fall for Troconis who spent years traveling the world and taking on one whirlwind career after another.

In the early 2000s, she worked as the chief publicist for a sheik at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club in Abu Dhabi. The exclusive club was founded in 1994 and is run today by Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It's billed as the only "royal" polo facility in the United Arab Emirates and boasts world-class polo and equestrian facilities, stables for more than 300 top-class polo ponies and a 2,000-seat grandstand equipped with VIP entrances. Over the years, the club has been the playground for royal families as well as visiting kings and famous celebrities.

Troconis also worked for nine years as a marketing director for Cerro Castor, an Argentinian ski resort, that hosted the 2012 Freestyle Skiing World Cup. In her role, she was in charge of hosting high-profile guests and politicians and often jetted around the globe to seek potential investors in the company.

Search for Missing Mom Leads to Hartford Trash Facility

During Jennifer Dulos' contentious divorce proceedings, she indicated she was fearful that Fotis Dulos and Troconis might kidnap her five children and take them to Argentina because that's where Troconis' ex-husband, a former Olympic skier, lives.

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"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 claimed in court filings.

Troconis also worked briefly for ESPN as a producer and hosted the show "Snow Time" in 2004, interviewing World Cup contestants, directors of other ski resorts and celebrities.

She reinvented herself once more as an international businesswoman who sold activewear on the Internet before settling down with Fotis Dulos in Farmington.

The 44-year-old also has a degree in psychology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and has trained as a therapeutic riding instructor.

As Troconis stays put, under a judge's order, the search for her boyfriend's wife of 13 years continues.

On Tuesday, New Canaan police asked residents to save any surveillance camera footage from May 22 to May 25 as it may aid them in finding Jennifer Dulos. Police said they've established a timeline of when Dulos disappeared but are looking for cameras that might have caught driving activity.


Posted in Hartford