In the nearly two years since Jennifer Dulos was last seen on May 24, 2019, the search for the mom of five grew into the most expansive investigation the state of Connecticut had ever seen, New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski tells Fox News’ Laura Ingle
Just days before the two-year anniversary of Connecticut woman Jennifer Farber Dulos’ disappearance and presumed death, one of the top police officials leading the charge says investigators will “never rest” until they find the beloved mother’s body.
In the months-turned-years since Jennifer Dulos was last seen arriving at her New Canaan home on May 24, 2019, the search for the 50-year-old mom of five – and for answers surrounding what happened to her – grew into the most expansive investigation the state of Connecticut had ever seen, New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski told Laura Ingle in his first interview with Fox News related to the case.
The investigation remains ongoing.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured Dulos driving home on the morning of May 24. Then, her car was seen leaving the residence, though investigators suspect her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, was behind the wheel. Her SUV was discovered hours later abandoned in a nearby park.
Fox News’ Laura Ingle speaks with New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski for an interview that aired on May 20, 2021
“I suspect it was to throw investigators off … to make it look like she had disappeared on her own, and to give us an area to search that the suspects knew would take some time to search,” Krolikowski said, regarding the circumstances surrounding where and how the vehicle was left. “And I think it was just to try to delay the investigation and make it look like something it wasn’t.”
Krolikowski said the vehicle’s gear was shifted to neutral or reverse when investigators arrived. The SUV, he said, was abandoned “in a way that seemed like somebody hurriedly left the car.”
Fotis Dulos, 52, was charged in January 2020 with murder, felony murder and kidnapping. His girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, and local attorney, Kent Mawhinney, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder. All three have denied having any involvement.
Police uncovered evidence of blood stains and signs of clean-up efforts in Jennifer’s home, specifically her garage.
“Once the investigators got to the house, we saw signs in the garage that there was suspected blood there, and that it appeared there to be a clean-up, and that only heightened our awareness. And it caused us to kind of accelerate the investigation,” Krolikowski said. He would not provide additional details regarding the condition of the garage.
Then, in a groundbreaking development in the case, cell phone data tracked Fotis to Hartford, Conn., where surveillance footage showed him dumping what appear to be plastic bags along the street. The items later tested positive for Jennifer’s blood. Police say Michelle was with him at the time.
“That was a huge break in the case,” Krolikowski told Fox News. “Everybody’s seen the pictures of … Fotis and Michelle in the truck, and along Albany Avenue there. And that was just a huge piece of the puzzle that just, in my opinion, doesn’t have any explanation.”
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Dulos died at the end of January 2020 after an apparent suicide attempt at his Farmington, Conn. home, without standing trial in the case. The couple’s children, who were between the ages of 8 and 13 when Jennifer disappeared, had been in their grandmother’s custody at the time.
Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of a missing mother of five, died following an apparent suicide attempt. (Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)
Just a month before his death, Dulos sat down for an interview, but he refused to answer key questions, often citing a gag order that was in place.
When Jennifer vanished, she and Fotis Dulos were in the midst of a contentious divorce and custody battle.
In one court filing, from June 20, 2017, Jennifer wrote: “I am afraid of my Husband. I know that filing for divorce, and filing this Motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way.”
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Troconis’ attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, maintained his client’s innocence and said his client “knew very little” about the Dulos couple’s legal battle surrounding the divorce. She was aware of custody proceedings, but “had no idea what else” was going on.
“She doesn’t know anything about the disappearance. She knew very little about the divorce proceedings and in fact, for several months before the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, she wasn’t even aware of the day-to-day issues regarding and surrounding the divorce,” Schoenhorn said. He later added: “Just because Michelle was the girlfriend, it is not accurate to suggest that she had any idea what else that Fotis Dulos was involved with.”
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Schoenhorn said he and his client are “not disputing the fact she was in a pickup truck with Fotis Dulos.”
“What we do dispute is that she had anything to do with the fact that he stopped three times, not 30, as the warrant falsely claimed, but three times and dropped off some trash,” he continued.
In a statement provided to Fox News ahead of the two-year anniversary, Carrie Luft, a spokesperson for Jennifer’s family, said they “remain extremely grateful to the Connecticut State Police, New Canaan Police, and other law enforcement organizations that have worked to bring closure to Jennifer’s case.”
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Fotis Dulos, Michelle Troconis (New Canaan Police Department)( )
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Michelle Troconis, charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, appears for a pre-trial hearing on Friday at the Stamford Superior Court in Stamford, Conn. Troconis, ex-girlfriend of Fotis Dulos pleaded not guilty to conspiring with him in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos. (Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)( )
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Michelle C. Troconis is arraigned on charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution at Norwalk Superior Court in Norwalk, Conn. Monday, June 3, 2019. Troconis and Fotis Dulos were arrested at an Avon hotel late Saturday night and held on a $500,000 bond for charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution. Fotis Dulos is the estranged husband of Jennifer Dulos, the 50-year-old mother of five who has been missing since May 24. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)(Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)
“Monday, May 24, marks the two-year milestone of the disappearance of Jennifer Farber Dulos, an extraordinary woman, a devoted mother and daughter, a brilliant writer, a true friend,” Luft said. “We are moved by the continued interest in Jennifer’s case and by the concern for her children and family, all of whom are thankfully healthy and well.”
Just Tuesday, the Connecticut State Senate passed a bill nicknamed “Jennifers’ Law,” which “expands the legal definition of domestic violence to include nonviolent coercive control, such as psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse,” Luft said.
“It is our hope that changing the legal definition can help change the story for people in abusive relationships,” Luft said. “Jennifer’s case has received a great deal of attention, but the stories of most people affected by partner violence are never told. Our hearts are with all of the victims and survivors, their families, children, and loved ones.”
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Paul J. Ferencek, state’s attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, told Fox News the cases against Troconis and Mawhinney were delayed as a result of the pandemic. Both cases are in pretrial status, Ferencek said, and over the past year, “numerous pretrial motions have been filed and heard before the court, both remotely and in person.”
Ferencek added: “As both cases work their way through the court process, the Stamford State’s Attorney’s Office remains focused on prosecuting those responsible for the murder of Jennifer Farber Dulos and seeking justice the for her family, as well as working with law enforcement on any and all leads regarding the location of Jennifer’s body.”
Fox News’ Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.
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