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Michelle Troconis, accused of helping to cover up killing of Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos, set to go on trial

The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos
What Does the Other Woman Know? The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos 42:30

Michelle Troconis insists she did not know her boyfriend, Fotis Dulos, was doing anything nefarious as she watched him toss garbage bags into random bins, or as she helped him write up a timeline of their whereabouts on the day his estranged wife disappeared.

Those actions, authorities allege, were taken to cover up the killing of Jennifer Dulos, who they say was attacked at her home in wealthy New Canaan, Connecticut, on May 24, 2019, after dropping their five children off at school. Her body has never been found. 

Jennifer Dulos WFSB

Fotis Dulos, the main suspect, died by suicide shortly after being charged with murdering her in January 2020.

More than four years later, Troconis is set to go on trial Thursday, accused of helping in an alleged coverup and facing criminal charges including conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. She has pleaded not guilty and maintained she has "no idea" what happened to Jennifer Dulos or where her body might be.

"It's been 4 1/2 years since I was wrongly accused," Troconis wrote in a social media posting in October. "I have faith in Justice and the jury system."

Troconis' lawyer, Jon Schoenhorn, did not return messages seeking comment. State prosecutors were not commenting ahead of the trial, a spokesperson said.

What happened to Jennifer Dulos?

The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos drew international attention and was the subject of a made-for-TV movie. She was a member of a wealthy New York family whose father, the late Hilliard Farber, founded his own brokerage firm. Fotis Dulos, who denied any role in the killing, was a luxury home builder originally from Greece.

Troconis, 49, a dual American and Venezuelan citizen, has described herself as a co-founder of horse riding therapy programs in different parts of the world who once had her own TV production company in Argentina and hosted a snow sports show for ESPN South America.

At the time of Jennifer Dulos' disappearance, Troconis and her daughter were living with Fotis Dulos in the Farmington, Connecticut, home he once shared with his wife and children. Fotis and Jennifer Dulos were going through bitter divorce and child custody court proceedings, and police said in arrest warrants that Fotis Dolus was $7 million in debt.

State police believe Fotis Dulos drove an employee's pickup truck to New Canaan, rode a bicycle to Jennifer Dulos' home and attacked her in the garage when she got back from dropping the children off at school. He then put her in her SUV and drove off, police said.

What happened next has never been made clear. The SUV was found abandoned at a park in New Canaan. Police searched the park and several other locations, but never found Jennifer Dulos' body.

Police said they found a bloody scene in Jennifer Dulos' garage and evidence of an attempted cleanup. Officials said the amount of blood made it apparent she could not have survived such injuries.

That evening, Fotis Dulos and Troconis were recorded on city video cameras in Hartford stopping at several locations, with Dulos getting out of his pickup truck and disposing of garbage bags as Troconis sat in the cab.

Missing Mother
Michelle Troconis, center, is arraigned on conspiracy to commit murder charges in Stamford Superior Court Wednesday, January 8, 2020, in Stamford, Conn.  Erik Trautmann / AP

Police recovered some of the bags several days later after seizing Fotis Dulos' cellphone and obtaining its location information and city video footage. In the bags, investigators said they found clothing, zip ties and other items containing Jennifer Dulos' DNA. Some of the items had blood on them, police said. Other items had Fotis Dulos' DNA on them.

And one bag had DNA from both estranged spouses as well as Troconis on it, authorities said.

Troconis later told police she had no idea what was in the bags. She has said she thought they were from one of the homes Fotis Dulos was selling.

"The alibi script"

Police said they also found what they dubbed "the alibi script" - two pages written by Dulos and Troconis that detailed their activities on a nearly hourly basis the day Jennifer Dulos was last seen and the day after, but did not include the time in Hartford when the garbage bags were being disposed.

Troconis told police she and Fotis Dulos wrote down their actions for the two days at the direction of Dulos' lawyer.

In excerpts from interrogation videos obtained by "48 Hours," Traconis insisted she has no information about Jennifer Dulos' disappearance.

"I have no idea what happened to Jennifer. I have no idea where Jennifer is," Troconis told police.

When Detective John Kimball told her they believed she has information she's not sharing, Troconis responded: "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."

The arrest warrant accusing Troconis of conspiracy to commit murder also alleges she presented conflicting stories to police during three interviews about whether she saw Dulos at the Farmington home the day police believe he killed his wife.

Missing Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos' estranged husband Fotis Dulos and girlfriend, Michelle Troconis. (Credit: Connecticut State Police)

That morning, he was scheduled to have a meeting with Kent Mawhinney, his friend and lawyer, according to arrest warrants, but Mawhinney told police they did not actually meet. Mawhinney was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and awaits trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

Schoenhorn, Troconis' lawyer, has accused police of lying to and misleading Troconis during the interviews, and questioning her in English with no interpreter present when her primary language is Spanish.

Schoenhorn has challenged much of the evidence in the case. Judge Kevin Randolph recently ruled the police seizure of Troconis' cellphone was illegal and any evidence obtained from it cannot be used during the trial. But Randolph allowed other evidence Schoenhorn sought to bar, including video of the police questioning of Troconis and DNA test results.

Jennifer Dulos' family and friends hope the trial provides accountability for her death and answers to lingering questions.

"As this trial begins, it is crucial to remember who is at the center: Jennifer, whose five children have lost their mother and, as an eventuality, both parents," said her friend Carrie Luft, in a statement on behalf of family and friends. "Jennifer's family and loved ones have lost a loving daughter, sister, cousin, and lifelong friend."

In October, a state probate judge declared Jennifer Dulos dead, citing extensive searches that have come up empty, evidence from her home and relatives having no contact with her since she disappeared.

"My sister is innocent"

Michelle Troconis' family is adamant she is innocent. Last month, her parents released a statement, decrying the "pain and injustice being inflicted on Michelle."

"I's agonizing to watch our innocent daughter suffer under the weight of a system that seems to be turning a blind eye to justice," Marisela and Carlos Troconis wrote.

Her sisters echoed those statements in an interview with "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty.

"This has shattered our life because my sister is not the person that they're saying," Claudia Troconis said. "And she never would be capable of anything they've said that she has done."

"Do you believe that Michelle knows where Jennifer's body is?" Moriarty asked Danielle Troconis.

"My sister is innocent," she responded. "Absolutely not."

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