The mother of missing Connecticut writer Jennifer Dulos has gained custody of the five children Jennifer shared with her estranged husband Fotis.
Gloria Farber won custody of the five kids, who range in age from 8 to 13, on Thursday, NBC News reports.
Fotis, who along with his 44-year-old girlfriend Michelle Troconishas been charged in connection with his wife’s disappearance, has been trying to get custody of the children.
“Fotis misses his children deeply," his lawyer Norm Pattis said in a statement about the decision. "The irresponsible manner in which the state has proceeded against him is costing his children the chance for a real relationship with a man who loves them deeply. This is a travesty of justice. We are evaluating his appellate options.”
In the months before mother Jennifer disappeared, the couple was embroiled in a bitter custody battle.
Court transcripts obtained by The Hartford Courant appear to show that Dulos was frustrated over the lack of time he was able to spend with his children. Additionally, he seemed annoyed by the growing financial burdens of the legal battle.
Farber has been watching the children since their mother vanished on May 24, shortly after dropping off them off at school.
"Ms. Farber has acted as a parent to the children since the plaintiff disappeared on May 24, 2019," the court ruling said. "Their safety and security has been paramount. They are emotionally bonded to her. It would be harmful for them to be removed from her care."
Before Farber began watching them, Jennifer had sole custody because Fotis had previously exposed the kids to his new girlfriend in violation of their custody agreement. However, Fotis had been allowed to resume some supervised visits with the children.
Fotis and Troconis have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance. Video footage showed a man and woman matching the couple’s description dumping trash bags in multiple trash bins across Hartford. Authorities say some of the items recovered from the bags tested positive for Jennifer's blood, Both have pleaded not guilty.
Dulos' lawyer has repeatedly claimed that Jennifer has staged her own disappearance and framed his client.