STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — The blood of a missing Connecticut mother of five was found mixed with her estranged husband’s DNA at the home she was living in after they separated, a prosecutor revealed during a court hearing Tuesday.
State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. disclosed the evidence to challenge a request by Jennifer Dulos’ husband, Fotis Dulos, to lower his $500,000 bail. A state judge in Stamford rejected the request and Fotis Dulos pleaded not guilty to evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges related to Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance last month.
Fotis Dulos posted bail Tuesday afternoon, after officials confiscated his passport and fitted him with a location-monitoring device. He refused to answer questions and was still wearing an orange prison jumpsuit as he left the courthouse.
His girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, who posted $500,000 bail last week, also pleaded not guilty to the same charges Tuesday. Her lawyer, Andrew Bowman, said outside the courthouse that he was disappointed with what he called unfair and inaccurate reporting by some media outlets.
“I don’t need to remind you that Michelle Troconis is presumed innocent,” he said.
Jennifer Dulos disappeared on May 24 after dropping her children off at school in New Canaan. She remains missing. She and Fotis Dulos have been involved in contentious divorce and child custody proceedings the past two years.
Colangelo said Jennifer Dulos’ blood was found mixed with Fotis Dulos’ DNA on the kitchen sink faucet of her home in New Canaan. Fotis Dulos has never lived at that home. He, Troconis and her daughter lived together at the Dulos family’s former home about 60 miles (97 kilometers) away in the Hartford suburb of Farmington, according to court documents.
The Dulos’ children, who range in age from 8 to 13 and include two sets of twins, have been staying with Jennifer Dulos’ mother, Gloria Farber, in New York City. Farber has been granted temporary custody of the children.
Before Fotis Dulos posted bail, he appeared at a hearing in the divorce and child custody case and declined to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Dulos is under orders to not have contact with the children while free on bail. A judge did not rule Tuesday on the custody of the children.
Police allege Fotis Dulos and Troconis disposed of clothing, sponges and other items that contained Jennifer Dulos’ blood. Citing surveillance video and cellphone location evidence, authorities accuse them of dumping the items at multiple locations in Hartford, where police also have been searching garbage at a trash-to-energy plant. Police have said people in the video match the description of Fotis Dulos and Troconis.
Fotis Dulos’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, said outside court Tuesday that police haven’t identified the license plate of the vehicle seen on video in Hartford where the items were discarded. Pattis also denied the charges against Fotis Dulos, saying his client has an alibi. He’s confident Fotis Dulos will be exonerated.
Asked why Fotis Dulos’ DNA was found mixed with Jennifer Dulos’ blood, Pattis said he did not know.
“He was in the house. Do you know where your DNA is?” he asked a reporter.
Pattis added, “I would ask everyone to put aside the easy narrative here that an angry ex-spouse took matters into his own hands to resolve a custody dispute. That didn’t happen. Having said that, I don’t know what happened.”
Police wrote in arrest warrants that blood spatter and evidence of cleanup attempts also were found at Jennifer Dulos’ home.
Jennifer Dulos is the daughter of the late Hilliard Farber, who ran Chase Manhattan Bank’s bond trading desk before founding his own brokerage firm in 1975.
Fotis Dulos is a developer of expensive homes who borrowed money from his wife’s parents to buy properties, according to a lawsuit filed against Fotis Dulos by Gloria Farber. The lawsuit in Connecticut state court claims Fotis Dulos has failed to repay Gloria Farber about $1.7 million in loans given to him.