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How Zip Ties, Paper Towels And A Vintage Bicycle Added Up To A Murder Charge In The Jennifer Dulos Case
Connecticut State Police believe Jennifer Dulos was held captive and restrained before she was killed, allegedly by her estranged husband Fotis Dulos
Zip ties, a missing bike and paper towel rolls were all listed as evidence in arrest of Fotis Dulos and two others in connection with the murder of Connecticut mother of five Jennifer Dulos, who vanished in May.
Dulos, 52, has been charged with capital murder, murder and kidnapping. His (possibly former) girlfriend Michelle Troconis, 45, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder as was his former civil lawyer Kent Douglas Mawhinney.
A new Connecticut State Police arrest warrant, obtained by Oxygen.com, gives further insight into what authorities believe happened to Jennifer, who was last seen dropping off her five kids on May 24. The 35-page document asserts that, although Jennifer’s body was never found, she likely suffered“non-survivable” injuries in her garage, which "likely include some combination of traumatic, blunt-force injuries such as bludgeoning/beating, and/or sharp-force injuries such as a stabbing/slashing."
Here are some of the highlights from the warrant:
Investigators say they found four plastic zip ties in trash bags allegedly disposed of by Dulos.
"Two of the Zip Ties appeared stained with a blood-like substance,” the warrant states.
The state police have a theory that, if true, means Jennifer was held captive for a time before her alleged murder.
"Given the context of this case and the totality of circumstances in which they were recovered, it appears the Zip Ties were used to secure and incapacitate Jennifer Dulos for some time period, during which her blood and DNA transferred onto the ties,” the state police write. “As there is little reason to incapacitate a deceased person, it is reasonable that Jennifer Dulos was alive at the time the Zip Ties were attached to restrain her movements and to prevent her escape."
Dulos and Troconis were initially charged with evidence tampering related to the trash bags. Both have pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Fotis Dulos kept a black or brown French vintage bicycle that he had since childhood in his garage, a bicycle that seemingly vanished when Jennifer did.
Police noted that residential surveillance footage showed someone with a hooded sweatshirt and dark clothing riding a bicycle "consistent” with the one Dulos had toward Jennifer’s home on the morning of May 24. Evidence recovered from one of the trash receptacles contained a logo "consistent with a vintage Mercier brand bicycle, a French-made bicycle,” according to the warrant. Investigators spotted an item on video, which they believe is a bicycle rim, in the back of a truck that Dulos was driving the same day.
The arrest warrant features interview quotes with the Dulos children’s longtime nanny, Lauren Almeida, who told investigators that when she learned Jennifer was missing, her "first thought was that Fotis did something."
She arrived at Jennifer's home on May 24 to find an unopened granola bar and mug of tea on the kitchen counter. She said she noticed that the paper towel roll by the sink needed replacing so she went to the pantry for a new roll but only found two left. She found this "'incredibly strange' because just the night before she had placed a brand-new pack of twelve rolls in the pantry." She added that "I sat there and wondered what had happened last night that they used ten rolls of towel rolls."
Investigators claimed in a previous arrest warrant that they believe Fotis Dulos was "lying in wait" for Jennifer at her home on the day she disappeared, and that the “crime and clean-up are believed to have occurred" soon after. Authorities also said that in subsequent questioning, Troconis suggested to them that “the body of Jennifer at some point was in” a truck Dulos borrowed from an employee at his real estate development company and was driving that day. Police say they recovered a "blood-like substance" containing Jennifer's DNA from one of the truck's seats, which Dulos allegedly insisted his employee replace.
Dulos’ lawyer Norm Pattis told reporters following his client’s arrest Tuesday that he's innocent.
“In a paradoxical way we welcome this fight because we think we will win it,” he said. “In fact, we are confident we will. And now we won’t have to speculate what it will look like.”