State police resume search for missing Conn. mother

  • Jennifer Farber Dulos, mother of five, went missing after dropping off her kids at school on May 24, 2019. via tns

The Hartford Courant
Published: 6/11/2020 6:43:09 PM
Modified: 6/11/2020 6:42:56 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. — At least a dozen state police cars have arrived at 44 Sky View Drive in Avon to apparently renew a search for the body of Jennifer Farber Dulos who has been missing since last May 2019.

State police’s renewed interest in the property — just 1.5 miles from the Jefferson Crossing home where Fotis Dulos took his own life after being charged in his estranged wife’s murder — followed Hartford Courant questioning as to whether the sprawling grounds had ever been searched.

Years before the bitter divorce proceedings that proceeded Farber Dulos’ disappearance, in the summer of 2010, the couple lived briefly at the 44 Sky View Drive home, according to two former employees of Fore Group, Dulos’ home construction company. Fotis Dulos died two days after his suicide attempt in January, never regaining consciousness, and many believed he took the secret of where his wife’s body was with him.

But new information about the Sky View Drive property has renewed focus on that location.

Records reviewed by The Courant show that the Fore Group also spent several months cleaning up the inside of the mansion after pipes burst in January 2018. No one has lived at the home since December 2017.

State police were aware of Dulos’ connection to the Sky View Drive home, through interviews with current and former Fore Group employees, though it is unclear how vigorously they pursued that potential lead, sources said.

State police sources said they received a copy of the demolition permit and spoke with the property owner, attorney David Ford, who gave them permission last fall to conduct a search. Police did visit the property, but didn’t get a search warrant for it and didn’t bring cadaver dogs to search the large swath of woods behind the house or the septic tank, as they did at several other properties that Dulos owned, sources said.

It is unclear if police were aware that the couple lived at the house for several months, while they were waiting for their first home on Jefferson Crossing to be finished.

Ford, the property owner, said he first met Dulos in 2010 when he bought the property. He hired him to do the pipe work in 2017 on a recommendation from a friend. Ford said state police searched his property last June after he gave them permission. He wasn’t sure what that search entailed.

“I told them, ‘whatever you need to do if it helps find the missing mother of five children,’” Ford said.

Ford also told them they were welcome to come back and search further.

Farber Dulos, 51, disappeared on the morning of May 24, 2019, after dropping her five children off at their private school in New Canaan. Her Chevy Suburban was seen on security cameras driving on Welles Avenue as she returned home. The Suburban was seen leaving a few hours later — believed to have her body in it and Dulos driving, according to arrest warrants.

In the weeks following her disappearance, state police conducted a massive search. They scoured Waveny Park in New Canaan, where Farber Dulos’ car was found that morning; homes in Avon, Farmington and New Canaan connected to the couple or the Fore Group; a pond in Avon where Dulos water skied with their five children; and vacant lots owned by Fore Group.

Detectives also spent more than three weeks inside the MIRA trash plant in Hartford searching through mounds of garbage, after Dulos was seen on video surveillance on the night of May 24 throwing trash bags away on Albany Avenue that contained evidence implicating Dulos in his estranged wife’s disappearance.

Detectives retrieved two bags along Albany Avenue and found the Vineyard Vines shirt that Farber Dulos was wearing the day she disappeared, a black garden glove with Dulos’ DNA on the interior, a black Husky glove with Farber Dulos’ DNA on the outside of it, zip ties with Farber Dulos’ DNA and at least one garbage bag with the DNA of Dulos, Farber Dulos and Dulos’ girlfriend at the time, Michelle Troconis, according to arrest affidavits.

But even as they arrested Dulos three times _ the last on Jan. 7 for murdering his estranged wife _ the mystery of what happened to Farber Dulos endures.

It appeared that Dulos took that secret to his grave when he died on Jan. 30 after killing himself by carbon monoxide poisoning inside the garage at the Jefferson Crossing home. He left a suicide note claiming his innocence and said that his attorneys could explain his dumping the garbage bags on Albany Avenue.

Dulos had been free on a $6 million bond at the time of his death. He tried to kill himself after learning that his bond was going to be revoked and he was going to be ordered back to prison.

Troconis, Dulos’ girlfriend at the time that Farber Dulos disappeared, also was arrested twice on tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution charges. Court records said Troconis was in the vehicle with Dulos on Albany Avenue. She also has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. She has pleaded not guilty and is free on a combined $2.1 million in bonds.

A third person, Bloomfield attorney Kent Mawhinney, also has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and is currently being held on a $2 million bond. He has also pleaded not guilty.

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The 15,000-square-foot home on Sky View Drive has an indoor basketball court and is located on four acres of property on a cul-de-sac. The driveway is nearly a quarter-mile long, isolating the house from its few neighbors and making it virtually invisible from the main road.

The property’s 2,000-gallon, 16-foot-deep septic tank is located in the front yard near the driveway, according to maps on file with the Farmington Valley Health District. It is unclear when the tank was last pumped; no one has lived in the house since late 2017.

The security cameras on the property were dismantled after the pipes burst.

Avon Building Inspector Raymond Steadward said water was flowing from the damaged pipes for at least a week. He said the permit was good for six months and there is no record that either Ford or Dulos tried to extend it.

“I have no idea when he finished, because there’s been absolutely no inspections of any work that was done there,” Steadward said.

Sky View Drive is less than 2 miles from Jefferson Crossing and also shares the same cell tower. State police checked cell tower records for May 24 to see where Dulos’ phone was that day.

Search warrants show that his phone moved back and forth between a property he was developing on Mountain Spring Road in Farmington and the Jefferson Crossing area. Authorities believe Dulos returned from New Canaan that day to the Mountain Spring Road property, driving a red pickup truck owned by a Fore Group employee. Police allege Dulos cleaned up after the crime at that location.

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(c)2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): Farber Dulos




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