F. Lee Bailey calls Norm Pattis One of the Giants of the Profession

New state police arrest warrant details investigators’ theory of Jennifer Farber Dulos’ last day as they charge estranged husband, Fotis Dulos

Hartford Courant - Local News
New state police arrest warrant details investigators’ theory of Jennifer Farber Dulos’ last day as they charge estranged husband, Fotis Dulos

An arrest warrant released late Wednesday outlines for the first time state police investigators’ theory of how Fotis Dulos might have killed his estranged wife Jennifer Farber Dulos, saying he ambushed her after she dropped their five children at school in New Canaan on May 24.

The 43-page arrest warrant affidavit details how state police investigators used a variety of video surveillance systems to chart how they believe Dulos traveled from his Farmington home to Farber Dulos’ New Canaan home early on the day she disappeared — and later fled the crime scene with the body.

“Dulos was believed to have been lying in wait at 69 Welles Lane for his wife to return home,” the affidavit states, referring to Jennifer Farber Dulos’ home address. “The crime and clean-up are believed to have occurred between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.”

At 10:25 a.m., a neighbor’s surveillance video captured Farber Dulos’ Chevrolet Suburban driving away from the home and state police believe Dulos was at the wheel.

“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,” according to the warrant affidavit.

Dulos has not been charged with murder, but he was arrested Wednesday and charged for a second time with tampering with evidence in the case. He was released Wednesday evening after posting a $500,000 bond and is scheduled to appear Sept. 12 in Superior Court in Norwalk. His attorney, Norm Pattis, said Wednesday evening that Dulos will plead not guilty to the charge.

“It’s an exhausting fight, I love my children, that’s about it,” Dulos said outside the state police building upon his release Wednesday evening.

Dulos, 52, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, were charged in early June with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Both pleaded not guilty and were freed on $500,000 bail.

“They have thrown the kitchen sink at Mr. Dulos. All this and still no charge of murder,” said Dulos’ lawyer, Norm Pattis on Wednesday evening. “I guess the state has its own doubts about its case. We deny involvement and we look forward to questioning a lying lover and a handyman with something to hide.”

Investigators believe Dulos drove to New Canaan on the day Farber Dulos disappeared in a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck owned by an employee of his home-building firm, the Fore Group. The vehicle was first seen in Fairfield about 6:30 a.m. and then was spotted parked at 7:40 a.m. in a turn around off Lapham Road in New Canaan, about 100 feet from where Farber Dulos’ Suburban was found abandoned later that day.

Investigators found surveillance footage showing the Tacoma leaving New Canaan on Route 15 at 11:12 a.m.

Through various surveillance videos, they track the Tacoma back to Farmington via Route 15 to Route 8 to I-84. The arrest warrant affidavit then details steps Dulos took to clean the car and remove any potential evidence of his estranged wife’s disappearance.

Investigators later found Dulos’ DNA in a a swatch of fabric taken from a seat in that pickup truck containing a “bloodlike substance,” according to the warrant affidavit.

Under repeated questioning, Dulos’ girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, admitted that when the couple met at a Farmington home in the afternoon on May 24, she saw Dulos cleaning what he said was a coffee spill in the Tacoma, but when he handed her a stained rag, it did not smell like coffee, the affidavit read.

When the employee asked for the truck back on May 24, Dulos attempted to hold on to it, telling the employee to keep one of Dulos’ vehicles over the weekend, according to the affidavit. The employee said Dulos took the Tacoma on Tuesday or Wednesday to have it cleaned and detailed without his knowledge.

Investigators found video footage showing Dulos taking the car to Russell Speeder’s Car Wash in Avon on May 29 for a $250 full cleaning.

They asked Troconis why she thought he was washing the car and 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.”

After returning the truck to his employee, Dulos repeatedly told the man to replace the seats in the truck and sell it, the man told investigators. The employee said Dulos was concerned about having hugged Farber Dulos on Mother’s Day and was concerned police might find a hair in the car, the affidavit read.

The man removed the seats, but held onto them without telling Dulos in the event they were needed by police, he told investigators. Police later did seize those seats as evidence.

The night Farber Dulos went missing, a man resembling Dulos was seen on surveillance cameras dumping garbage bags along Albany Avenue in Hartford with a woman, who looked like Troconis. Investigators learned of the video after Dulos’ phone was tracked to the area that night.

Detectives found some of the bags that were discarded and discovered they contained items with Farber Dulos’ blood, including a Vineyard Vines shirt they believed Farber Dulos was wearing the day she went missing, as well as a bra and two mops and sponges with a small amount of blood, according to records and law enforcement sources.

Troconis was repeatedly interviewed by state police investigators about what happened on May 24. During a first interview, those investigators wrote that much of what she offered was contradictory. After reviewing the surveillance footage, Troconis confirmed she was in the truck with Dulos on Albany Avenue on May 24, but that she didn’t notice what Dulos were doing because she was on her cellphone.

The next day, investigators found hand-written notes in Dulos’ Farmington home that appear to detail their supposed activities on May 24 and 25, including phone calls. But the notes also included information that Troconis later admitted was false.

“Detectives came to refer to these notes as the ‘Alibi Scripts,' " the affidavit read.

Investigators were still searching last month for two key pieces of evidence that may have been disposed of that night, including a knife a Hartford man told the Courant he found in the area and a missing carpet or mat that police believe was taken from the back of Farber Dulos’ Chevy Suburban or home.

“To date [Dulos} has declined to cooperate with this investigation in any way,” investigators wrote in the affidavit.

Farber Dulos’ disappearance came amid a bitter two-year divorce and custody battle that included allegations of threats from both Farber Dulos and Dulos. The pair’s five children have been with Farber Dulos’ mother, Gloria Farber, since May 24.

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