Last Updated Feb 14, 2021 2:26 AM EST
Michelle Troconis has been dubbed "the other woman" in a headline-making story about a Connecticut mother of five,, who vanished and is believed to have been killed by her estranged husband, . He was charged with murder but died by suicide weeks after his arrest — leaving Troconis the focus of the investigation, as she faces multiple charges in connection with Jennifer Dulos' presumed murder.
"This has shattered our life because my sister is not the person that they're saying," says Michelle Troconis' sister Claudia Troconis. "And she never would be capable of anything they've said that she has done."
, Fotis Dulos' girlfriend, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution – all charges she denies. And in some exclusive excerpts from interrogation videos, she insists she has no information about Jennifer Dulos' disappearance.
"I have no idea what happened to Jennifer. I have no idea where Jennifer is," Troconis tells police.
When Detective John Kimball tells her they believe she has information she's not sharing, Troconis responds: "I don't have, John, but I can walk the whole world with you if you want … I can do whatever you want but I didn't do it."
Jennifer Dulos disappeared on May 24, 2019 after dropping her five children off at school. Police found her abandoned SUV near a park 3-and-a-half miles away from her Connecticut home. At the time, she was in the middle of an ugly divorce and custody battle with her husband, Fotis Dulos. Investigators believe Dulos attacked Jennifer that morning, killing her, and then disposed of her body. Jennifer's body has never been found. Fotis Dulos died in January 2020 after attempting to take his own life.
Michelle Troconis is currently out on bond. She has pleaded not guilty and her family is adamant she is innocent. They say Troconis is not the person portrayed in stories about the case.
"Did your sister have anything to do with the death of Jennifer Dulos?" Moriarty asks Claudia Troconis.
"No, she did not," Claudia Troconis responds.
"Do you believe that Michelle knows where Jennifer's body is?" Moriarty asks Danielle Troconis.
"My sister is innocent," Daniela Troconis responds. "Absolutely not."
A MOM GOES MISSING
Jennifer Dulos was a gifted woman, says her close friend Carrie Luft. She was a writer of plays and cofounder of a theatre troupe, a runner, a woman with a keen mind and an infectious giggle. But in her blogs, she was first and foremost, a mother.
CARRIE LUFT [reading from Jennifer's blog]: "I loved the bedtime routines, the rituals, the saying good nights, the books read, the hugs and kisses given, the songs sung."
CARRIE LUFT [reading from Jennifer's blog]: "I just wanted to freeze the moment. Snap a picture. Take them all in…. They grow too fast."
Her writings are filled with a mother's musings about the ordinary blessings of family life.
CARRIE LUFT [reading from Jennifer's blog]: "The best part of my night now, hands down, is when I give our baby… a bath and then her bottle, in my arms."
Carrie Luft: Jennifer loved her children just beyond compare. … She had this … wonderful young and growing family. Her existence was … mostly about the kids.
The morning of May 24, 2019 was no different — the organized chaos of getting five kids ages 13 and under dressed and off to school.
But shortly after 8:05 a.m., the normal rhythm of daily life stopped forever.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: She was scheduled for a dentist appointment … later that morning in New York City … She never made it to her dentist appointment.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca [driving]: This was definitely one of the biggest investigation to come to the State Police.
Connecticut State Police Sergeant Kenneth Ventresca would become one of the lead investigators.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: People couldn't get a hold of her…
Carrie Luft: And then, when we had radio silence, we knew that something was gravely wrong.
The children were taken to the home of their maternal grandmother, Gloria Farber, in New York City. By 7 p.m., all-out panic set in and Jennifer was reported missing.
A little over an hour later, the police had ominous news. Officers found Jennifer's abandoned Suburban SUV near Waveny Park, about 3-and-a-half miles from her home.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca [in the park]: The tailgate was backed up against this tree. … The Suburban was not running; keys were not in the ignition. The gear lever was actually stuck in reverse. The doors were locked. … On the passenger side of her Suburban when — at the time, you could see the cleanup of the blood-like substance all over the passenger side under a flashlight.
New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski immediately launched a massive search across the 300 acres of Waveny Park.
Erin Moriarty: And how would you describe the initial search for her?
Chief Leon Krolikowski: It was enormous. I mean, literally from other police departments sending their canines to search to FBI team coming in, search for evidence to New York State Police helicopter, to divers checking the water within the park. And it's 300 acres, it's pretty comprehensive.
Carrie volunteered to become the spokesperson for family and friends.
CARRIE LUFT [to reporter]: All I want to say is, Jennifer, we love you and we are doing everything we can to bring you home. Your kids miss you. We all miss you.
Sergeant Ventresca says the one person who didn't seem worried about Jennifer was the father of her five children — her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.
Erin Moriarty: Did he help at all in the search?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: No, no.
Erin Moriarty: Did he seem concerned about his wife as time went on?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: No. Never seemed concerned about his wife.
It wasn't always that way.
Carrie Luft: Jennifer very much wanted to have a loving relationship and to start a family, and he seemed to want the same things.
On the face of it, they seemed an unlikely pair: Jennifer, deep-thinking and introverted, grew up in wealth and privilege in New York City, the daughter of a father who made a fortune in finance.
Fotis, athletic and extroverted, was an international waterskiing champion born in Turkey and raised in Athens, Greece.
Both outstanding students, they first met in 1986 at the prestigious Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. But it didn't turn romantic until some 17 years later — after a chance meeting at the Aspen Airport.
Jennifer put it this way in her blog: "I was home, back in New York, and an email came to me … he wanted to get together."
Erin Moriarty: What did she like about him, eventually love about him?
Carrie Luft: Well, you know, he was a really a very charismatic and charming person. He was very handsome. He was smart and funny.
And an ambitious real estate developer and builder of luxury homes. Fotis and Jennifer married in 2004 and settled in Farmington, Connecticut, an upscale enclave outside Hartford, where old money mingled with new.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi | Fotis's sister: The couple was very, very happy. And in two years, they had their first set of twins. Another two years they had the second set of twins. … And another two years they had a little daughter.
They moved into one of Fotis's magnificent homes at 4 Jefferson Crossing and raised their children with all the advantages that money affords, with an emphasis on sports — especially waterskiing, Fotis's passion.
Carrie Luft: They would compete internationally, you know, even as, you know, 6 or 7-year-olds. So, they were incredibly good. But that was also … because they trained incredibly hard.
Jennifer believed Fotis was pushing them too hard, and later said her kids' mental and physical health was suffering because of Fotis's obsession with training.
Carrie Luft: She often served as a buffer or a shield.
And that led to fights, says Carrie.
Erin Moriarty: Did he have a temper?
Carrie Luft: He could be volatile, yes.
Erin Moriarty: Even with the kids?
Carrie Luft: Sure.
Life behind the grand brick façade grew ever more distant and unhappy. The couple who seemed to have it all – looks, money, children – were living all but separate lives.
Erin Moriarty: Was she lonely?
Carrie Luft: I'm sure.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: For all of us who were outside of the romance, we knew that they were two incompatible characters.
By 2016, Fotis was away as many as 10 ten days a month, often chasing the latest waterskiing competition.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: And one of his travels to Miami in the ski club with his children, he met Michelle.
Michelle Troconis was Fotis's type: she rode horses, she reported for ESPN in South America on snow skiing, and even more to Fotis's liking, she was a competitive water skier.
Soon after meeting in Miami, Fotis and the Venezuelan-raised single mother began an affair.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: And it was serious. He was very much in love.
And not very good at hiding it from his wife, says Carrie. In March of 2017, Jennifer confronted Fotis and he confessed.
Erin Moriarty: Was that an event that she just realized, OK, there's no going back?
Carrie Luft: I think learning about the infidelity was horrible, you know, that was a deal breaker for her.
Jennifer moved her kids into a rented home about an hour-and-a-half away in New Canaan, Connecticut, and filed for divorce. Michelle and her young daughter moved into Fotis's Jefferson Crossing house in Farmington.
Claudia Troconis | Michelle's sister: She said she had met a charming guy, that he was very family-oriented like us, that he was into sports like her, and they had many similarities. And she really liked him.
It would be the biggest mistake of Michelle Troconis's life.
Claudia Troconis: This has shattered our life because my sister is not the person that they're saying. And she would never be capable of anything they've said that she has done.
A BAD FEELING
As the search for Jennifer dragged on, Carrie Luft tried to hold on to hope. But she knew in her bones, as early as the day Jennifer disappeared, it was hopeless.
Carrie Luft: I had a horrible foreboding sense that she was not alive.
The New Canaan police officers also had a bad feeling as they searched Jennifer's house the night she went missing.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: When they go to the house, they go in the garage, they noticed blood like substance … blood spatter throughout the garage.
Sergeant Ventresca and Detective John Kimball of the state's Major Crime Squad were summoned to the scene.
Det. John Kimball: In addition to blood evidence in the garages, there was evidence that someone had attempted to clean up blood. There were swirls, what appeared to be swirl marks on the sides of the vehicles.
All the markings of an unhappy ending, says Sgt. Ventresca.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: A serious violent assault occurred in that garage … there's definitely some sort of foul play involved.
The scene in the garage was all Richard Colangelo, now Connecticut's Chief State's Attorney needed. He immediately took on the case.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: When it started, it was a whodunit.
But someone soon went to the top of the list. At the time of her disappearance, Jennifer was embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos. According to divorce documents, she was terrified of him:
"I am afraid that my Husband will harm our children to punish me."
"He is dangerous and ruthless when he believes that he has been wronged."
"… He must always win at all costs."
Det. John Kimball: I don't think Fotis liked to lose in any aspect of his life, and I don't think that he'd like to be losing in court at the hands of his wife.
He had spent thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and court costs. His business was floundering. And worse, he lost shared physical custody of his children after going against court orders regarding his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis.
Erin Moriarty: What did he do or didn't do?
Carrie Luft: Well, he didn't comply with the court order that Michelle not be part of the children's lives.
Fotis didn't even pretend to hide his feelings toward Jennifer when he agreed to go to the New Canaan Police station the day after Jennifer disappeared.
Erin Moriarty: Did he agree to sit down and talk?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: No.
He'd brought his civil attorney with him.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: His lawyer was already on the phone with a criminal defense attorney at the time from the parking lot.
Erin Moriarty: What does that say to you?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: To me … it was alarming, because the mother of your five children are missing and you're worried about calling attorneys?
Before he left, Fotis inadvertently gave the detectives something more important than an interview.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: The detective that was there said, "is that your phone?" "Yeah." "Can I see it?" He gave it to him. He asked him for the password. He told them the password.
Fotis demanded his phone back, but the detective refused. Investigators got a search warrant and were able to retrieve the data.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: And … from there, we were off and running.
Investigators tracked Fotis's cell phone to Albany Avenue in Hartford around 7 p.m. the evening of May 24, roughly the same time Jennifer was reported missing. They then contacted the Hartford Police, who downloaded a treasure trove of videos that had been captured on security cameras.
New Canaan Police Officer Thomas Patten couldn't believe his eyes.
Erin Moriarty [watching surveillance video]: What are you seeing?
Officer Tom Patten: Well, as he was driving around, he would be — he was depositing black garbage bags and various receptacles. … Obviously, he was intent on spreading out the garbage bags.
Erin Moriarty: And is he alone?
Office Tom Patten: No, in one of those pictures, you can see a female that's leaning outside of the passenger side of the truck.
Turns out that female reaching for the sidewalk was Michelle Troconis.
Det. John Kimball: My first thought was … "What are they doing? Why are they … dumping trash in Hartford?"
They would soon find out. A team of detectives was dispatched to go digging through the trash.
Det. John Kimball: So, some of the things retrieved from the Albany Avenue garbage were used zip ties with human blood andon them … female undergarment … a Vineyard Vine[s] shirt in the size that Jennifer wore. There were two ponchos … which contained copious amounts of blood and the DNA of Jennifer Dulos.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: It's not every day someone throws out bloody evidence, bloody clothes, you know, cut up. I mean, who does that?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: We shifted gears, and we turned this into a homicide investigation.
On June 1, eight days after Jennifer vanished, both– not for murder, but for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: We weren't fully convinced he did the murder yet, but he was involved in some way, shape or form.
But they couldn't place him in New Canaan that morning. For one reason, says Sgt. Ventresca, the location of Fotis's phone.
Erin Moriarty: At the time that Jennifer Dulos disappeared from her house, her husband was at home, according to his phone.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: According to his phone, yes
And according to Michelle Troconis. She told police Fotis was with her that morning.
Dave Altimari | Hartford Courant reporter: She told them that Fotis was in Farmington at the Jefferson Crossing home early that morning, that they had woke up together and that they had sex and they had a shower … so her … in effect, she gave him an alibi.
Both Fotis and Michelle were released — each on a $500,000 bond and ordered to wear ankle bracelets. They were also ordered not to communicate with one another. Michelle moved into her own apartment and Fotis stayed in his glittering mansion at 4 Jefferson Crossing.
But neither would be able to escape the presumption of guilt.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: Fotis was tried and convicted in the … court of the public opinion, that is sure.
Daniella Troconis: What they have said about my sister, the media, and the police, is not who my sister is.
Claudia Troconis: She had nothing to do with this.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi was at home in Greece when she learned about her brother's arrest.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: I thought that this will be an issue of one or two days and the police will understand that they are making a mistake.
She was wrong. He quickly became the prime suspect in a multi-agency murder investigation.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: Fotis was the easy solution for the police.
And an easy target for the press, says Rena.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: The cameras was following him when he was jogging. When he was going to the grocery store … People are … innocent until proven guilty. They never gave … this opportunity to Fotis, never.
After the arrest, Rena – Fotis's only sibling – flew from Athens to stand by her brother's side.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: What have we done to the life of an innocent person?
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: I know that it is impossible for him to do such a thing. … It is impossible. It is a big no.
In December 2019, Fotis's attorney allowed "48 Hours" into Fotis's home. He was under a gag order and refused to answer any questions. And we were witnesses to an almost surreal scene of a man suspected of a monstrous crime relaxing with his family. His nieces, Angelika and Klelia, had just arrived from Europe.
Klelia Kyrimi: It was very important for us to be here with him during this Christmas, 'cause it's a tough Christmas.
Angelika Kyrimi: Trying to support him… to keep his spirits up.
Fotis was banned by the court from seeing his own children.
Angelika Kyrimi: It's very, very hard. These kids are his heart and his soul … everyday he wakes up and it's just – you see it in his face.
They tried to cheer him up by doing all of their favorite things.
Angelika Kyrimi: Playing board games … and cooking and talking … we've always been close. We've always been spending the holidays together.
They knew it could be their last Christmas all together. Fotis's attorney had told him to expect murder charges after the New Year.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: We will be here to stand by his side, whatever it comes.
Like Rena, Michelle's family couldn't believe it was happening.
Claudia Troconis: My mom called us and told us Michi has been arrested. I remember dropping to the floor and saying, "Why? Why? What happened?" … it's been devastating.
And just like Rena, they refuse to even think about the possibility that Michelle could have been involved in Jennifer's disappearance.
Erin Moriarty: What makes you believe that your sister had absolutely nothing to do with this?
Claudia Troconis: How we were brought up, our principles … just that she's never been a violent person. She's never been revengeful you know … she's a mother herself.
Carlos Troconis: She wouldn't harm anybody or anyone.
"48 Hours" met Michelle's father, Carlos Troconis, a cardiac surgeon, and sisters Daniella and Claudia in Farmington. They are speaking out for the first time.
Claudia Troconis: She's not the person that they've portrayed and they've accused her of … They've said that, you know, she's a whore, that, you know, she entered this. That she should rot in jail.
They say the public image of Michelle as a homewrecker is simply not true.
Erin Moriarty: And what did Fotis tell Michelle about his marriage?
Claudia Troconis: That it was the same. That he was separated … that they each had their separate lives, and that they were going through an amicable divorce, because they had the five children.
Erin Moriarty: Fotis Dulos lied to Michelle?
Jon Schoenhorn: It appears that he did on more than one occasion, which, in my view … casts suspicion on him.
Michelle, who accompanied her family to our interview, refused to answer questions. But her attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, did. He claims Fotis deceived Michelle with lie after lie — and that included the trip to Albany Avenue in Hartford.
Erin Moriarty: And you're saying she had no idea what was in those bags that Fotis was getting rid of?
Jon Schoenhorn: She not only did not know what was in those bags, she had no idea … what he was actually doing. He'd invited her to go out to Starbucks … But he claimed he had to just take care of a few items. … Practically the entire time he's driving in Hartford, she's on either WhatsApp, texting or making phone calls during that whole time.
He says she was chatting with friends and family.
Erin Moriarty [referencing the surveillance photo of Michelle reaching for the sidewalk]: What is she doing there?
Jon Schoenhorn: She told the police that she had — was chewing gum and she had gotten it on her fingers, and she tried to fling it out the window. It wouldn't come off, so she wiped her hand on the sidewalk.
Schoenhorn recently released excerpts from interrogation videos hoping to prove his point that: Michelle was cooperative – even helpful – and repeatedly denied any involvement in Jennifer's disappearance:
DET KIMBALL: We think you have information.
MICHELLE TROCONIS: I don't have John, but I can walk the whole world with you if you want. … I can do whatever you want, but I didn't do it. … I have no idea what happened to Jennifer. I have no idea where Jennifer is.
But detectives believed she knew more than she was saying:
DETECTIVE: So, if you know stuff that you're not telling us ...
MICHELLE TROCONIS: No, I don't know ...
DETECTIVE: That's the man you're protecting, 'cause that's the sick s---.
MICHELLE TROCONIS: I'm not protecting him. I'm not protecting him.
But the more she talked, the more suspicious they became.
Remember, Michelle told the police in her first interview that Fotis was with her the morning Jennifer disappeared; that they had a shower and were intimate. By the third interview, she was telling a different story.
Dave Altimari: And every time they … would push her, she changed her story. And then by the third time, she basically told them that it was a lie, that he was not in the house on that morning as she … had initially told them.
She also acknowledged that Fotis had left his phone behind.
Dave Altimari: The phone being in Farmington was clearly part of the alibi. At least that's the state police's belief — that he left the phone there so no one would know where he was.
After 8 months of investigation, on January 7, 2020, the police arrested Michelle for conspiracy to commit murder.
Daniella Troconis: It's been devastating, because we know my sister is innocent.
Erin Moriarty: Sometimes women do ridiculous things for love.
Claudia Troconis: Not my sister.
Daniella Troconis: That's not Michelle.
Claudia Troconis: Other women, but not my sister.
Daniella Troconis: Michelle would never harm anyone in any way.
Erin Moriarty: But would she possibly cover up for a man she loved?
Daniella Troconis: No! She would never put herself in harm ways, not even herself or her daughter. No, she's not capable of doing so.
Claudia Troconis: That would affect her life, so she wouldn't.
The police came for Fotis the same day; Rena was there.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: It was like a movie. … They went out of the cars with the weapons like they were going to arrest Al Capone. … It was a terrible moment. It was terrible moments, believe me.
Investigators believe they have the killer. But they still don't have the victim: Jennifer Dulos.
And Fotis's attorney, Norm Pattis says that raises questions whether there was a murder at all.
Norm Pattis: We defy the state to prove that she is in fact dead.
THE STATE'S CASE
NORM PATTIS [to reporters]: Here's our message to the State of Connecticut: Mr. Dulos is not guilty. We are ready for the court. There's the courthouse. If you want to try the case, bring it on.
Norm Pattis likes to stir things up. And he did a good job of it for his client, Fotis Dulos.
NORM PATTIS [in court]: There is no body that we're aware of and I'm sick and tired of hearing about it.
He aimed straight for the state's weak spot. No body. No murder.
NORM PATTIS [to reporters]: We take the position there is insufficient evidence to conclude that she's even dead.
Pattis launched a public campaign to cast Fotis as a loving father unfairly deprived of seeing his children. And Jennifer as the villain.
Norm Pattis: We are actively contemplating a revenge suicide hypothesis as an explanation for her disappearance.
Another defense theory Pattis suggested was– that just like in the thriller and hit movie, Jennifer disappeared to frame her husband for murder.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: When Attorney Pattis raised it and talked about it, I begged him to do it in front of a jury … You could drive a bus through all the holes in that theory or that argument.
Even so, Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo knew that proving murder without a body was not going to be easy.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: We tried to leverage everything we could and we didn't leave any stone unturned.
Bit by bit, Colangelo says they built a case of premeditated murder and cover-up — a story they laid out in detailed arrest warrants.
It starts in the pre-dawn hours of May 24, with an old red Tacoma truck. Not Fotis's truck — but a truck that belonged to one of his workers.
Investigators believe Fotis took the Tacoma without permission and left the 80 Mountain Spring Road property – one of the homes owned by his company – around 5:35 a.m. He then drove it 70 miles south to New Canaan.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: We crunched about 12 hours of video surveillance … of the Merritt Parkway, where we eventually located a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck matching the worker's Toyota Tacoma driving southbound.
At 7:57 a.m, the Tacoma was spotted again by a passing school bus, this time in New Canaan. The Tacoma was parked on a country road near Waveny Park.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: This is where he had parked it.
Investigators believe Fotis had brought a bicycle with him and biked the last three miles to Jennifer's house.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: He came over in the back road over there. He waited for her to drop the kids off at school. She came home in the morning … She enters the garage … And that's where the violent assault occurred in the house.
Fotis left behind two pieces of evidence critical to the investigation, says the sergeant: his DNA on the doorknob of the mudroom and a mixture of his and Jennifer's DNA on a faucet inside Jennifer's house.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: Fotis Dulos's DNA being in that house is highly suspicious in nature. It shouldn't be in the house.
Sergeant Ventresca believes Fotis spent about two hours cleaning up, then put Jennifer's dead or unconscious body in the back of her Suburban and drove it away.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: ... and then her vehicle is left about 3-and-a-half miles away down a road near Waveny Park …
Just 100 feet from where police say he had parked the Tacoma.
Det. John Kimball: There's storm drains down here…
Investigators cannot account for the next 40 minutes. It's possible Fotis used that time to get rid of Jennifer's body, but they think it's more likely that he was transferring incriminating materials from the Suburban to the Tacoma.
Det. John Kimball: If he had things to move, like a lot of bloody clothing, he had to do so carefully, and he had to wait for breaks in traffic. It could've taken 40 minutes.
Det. John Kimball: We believe … the body of Jennifer Dulos was transferred to the Tacoma and taken north.
What happened to Jennifer after that, they don't know. What they do know is that the Tacoma returned to 80 Mountain Spring Road at 12:22 p.m.
Michelle told the police that Fotis met her for lunch around 1 p.m.
Jon Schoenhorn | Michelle's attorney: I have seen no evidence that Michelle knew anything about what Fotis Dulos had done during the day other than the time that they had lunch together.
After lunch, according to Michelle, they spent much of the afternoon at the 80 Mountain Spring property cleaning. She claims Fotis was getting the house ready to show to a client.
Erin Moriarty: So, what do you think was happening that afternoon at 80 Mountain Spring?
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: I think that the evidence that was found in Hartford … was being bagged up.
To be discarded in those trash cans later that evening.
Five days later, Fotis and Michelle took the Tacoma to the car wash and detail shop.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: For a 20-year-old Toyota work truck, it was immaculate. … You can eat off the floorboards in this truck. That's how clean it was by the time we got it.
But Fotis made one major miscalculation, says Richard Colangelo.
Erin Moriarty: What did you learn from the employee who actually owned that Tacoma?
Richard Colangelo Jr.: That Mr. Dulos wanted him to change out the seats and get rid of them. But he kept them in his garage. And when we went to execute the search warrant, he said "Hey, do you want the seats?" … So, he gave us consent to take them and we took them.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca: On the passenger seat … there was a blood-like stain on the fabric of the seat, which was cut out, tested at the lab, and it came back to Jennifer Dulos's DNA – blood. … And that was paramount for this investigation.
There was still a lot missing. Investigators never found a murder weapon and couldn't even positively identify Fotis as the driver of the Tacoma in the surveillance footage. But they believed they had enough circumstantial evidence to prove Fotis killed his wife.
But the case would never go to court.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: I could never imagine … he had such a tragic end.
On a cold winter day three weeks after his arrest for murder and kidnapping, Fotis Dulos was ordered to court for an emergency hearing on whether to revoke his bond.
He never made it.
Kevin Smith: I called him and called him and called him.
When Fotis failed to show up, one of his attorney's, Kevin Smith, alerted authorities. Emergency responders rushed to his home. They found Fotis locked in the garage, in the front seat of his Suburban, surrounded with pictures of his five children — almost dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.
EMT's shielded his motionless body as they frantically worked to get a heartbeat. And then they found a faint pulse. He was still alive.
Fotis was airlifted to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
WCBS NEWS REPORT: He is in critical condition after a suicide attempt at his home.
Fotis's sister Rena was on the next transatlantic flight out of Greece.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: We had to be there because … we had hopes that maybe he can come back and he can breathe by himself.
But it was not to be.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: I could never imagine this would happen.
Two days after, Fotis was taken off life support.
NORM PATTIS [to reporters]: Fotis Dulos was declared dead tonight at 5:32.
That evening, "48 Hours" drove with Norm Pattis to Fotis's Jefferson Crossing home in Farmington.
Norm Pattis: I'm angry, I'm hurt, I'm determined, I'm sad.
Pattis met Kevin Smith at the house. Together they secured the home and reflected on the day's events.
Norm Pattis: You know Mr. Dulos was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion and ultimately in our view executed in that court.
Fotis went to his grave professing his innocence. In his suicide note, he wrote, "I refuse to spend even an hour more in jail for something I had NOTHING to do with."
Erin Moriarty: As you sit here right now, do you believe that Fotis Dulos killed his wife, Jennifer?
Carrie Luft: Yes.
Det. John Kimball: To me, the suicide of Fotis Dulos was, in essence, an admission of guilt in his involvement in his wife's murder.
Detective John Kimball believes Fotis knew it was over; he knew he was likely going to jail after the bond hearing and might never get out. And the man who hated to lose was not about to live with a murder conviction.
Det. John Kimball: Because Fotis committed suicide before he went to trial, he will never be convicted of his wife's murder. It's frustrating that he didn't see justice.
But Rena says she will never stop fighting to clear her brother's name.
Rena Dulos Kyrimi: He didn't have any trial … so they cannot call him a murderer without a trial.
Even with Fotis dead, the State of Connecticut is moving forward.
Erin Moriarty: Where does that leave Michelle Troconis?
Jon Schoenhorn | Michelle's attorney: Well, I think the right expression here is she's left holding the bag.
MICHELLE TROCONIS [ interrogation]: I'm not protecting him. I'm not protecting him.
Jon Schoenhorn: But they've spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money. … So here they are. They got to show something for their effort at this point.
Michelle Troconis isn't the only one facing trial.
Fotis's friend and sometime lawyer Kent Mawhinney is also charged with conspiracy. He was at Fotis's house the morning Jennifer went missing, and police say he was "frequently vague or evasive" and" otherwise suspicious to investigators." But, after spending 9 months in jail, he is free on a reduced bail. He has turned state's witness. And, according to Michelle's attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, he is now implicating Michelle to save himself.
In a statement to "48 Hours," Schoenhorn wrote: "…These new accusations directly contradict what he told investigators in 2019, and I look forward to the chance to cross-examine him …"
Kent Mawhinney's attorney told us he couldn't comment on an ongoing criminal case.
Both Michelle Troconis and Kent Mawhinney have pleaded not guilty.
Erin Moriarty: If either one of them came up with information that led to finding Jennifer, would there be a deal for them?
Richard Colangelo Jr.: Believe it or not, I'm a very open-minded person. So, I'm not going to close the door on anything.
Erin Moriarty: I will take that as a "yes." That's how much you would like to know where Jennifer is.
Richard Colangelo Jr.: Absolutely.
Not a day goes by that Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca doesn't think about Jennifer Dulos.
Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca : I'm confident we are going to find her body, and we are not going to stop. You know, you think about the kids and now the five children don't have a mom or a dad.
Carrie Luft: They all embody Jennifer in so many ways. … And she did such a great job of instilling them with love and delight.
Jennifer left a legacy in words. A parting gift to the five children she adored.
CARRIE LUFT [reading from Jennifer's blog]: Breathe, be alive, slow down, enjoy life … Do less, but live more fully … healthy, calm, joyful and at peace.
The children are being raised by Jennifer's mother in New York City.
Produced by Liza Finley and Elena DiFiore. Richard Fetzer is the field producer. Michael McHugh, Grayce Arlotta-Berner and Diana Modica are the editors. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.