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Crime News Injustice with Nancy Grace

What You Need To Know About The Jennifer Dulos Case Ahead Of ‘Injustice With Nancy Grace’

Before watching the "Injustice with Nancy Grace" episode on Jennifer Dulos, here are some facts so you can familiarize yourself with the notorious case. 

By Gina Tron
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The mysterious case of a missing Connecticut mother, whose whereabouts are still unknown, has become one of the most scandalous missing persons cases in recent history.

The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos became a sensational media storm after she vanished in May 2019 amid a contentious divorce and child custody battle between her and her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos. While Jennifer’s body has never been found, police have asserted that Fotis killed her, and he was brought up on murder charges before he died by suicide. 

The case will be featured in season two of "Injustice with Nancy Grace," which premieres Thursday, October 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen. Throughout the series, Grace brings her unique perspective to some of the most complex true crime stories, including the complicated case of Jennifer Dulos.

Before tuning in, get up to speed on the intricacies of the twisted case below.

1. Police Think Fotis Brutally Assaulted Jennifer

Investigators believe that Fotis brutally assaulted Jennifer in her garage, where Fotis was “lying in wait,” according to the arrest warrant. They pointed to zip ties that they believe were used to incapacitate Jennifer. 

Investigators say “the crime and clean-up are believed to have occurred” shortly after.

“My personal beliefs is that, based on the blood spatter, a serious violent assault occurred in that garage,” Connecticut State Police Sgt. Kenneth Ventresca said on NBC’s “Dateline” in July.

2. He Allegedly Had Co-Conspirators

Fotis didn’t act alone, according to authorities. He was seen on video with his then-girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, while he was allegedly throwing away evidence like the zip ties into trash cans around Hartford.

Troconis' attorney denies that she took any part in the disposal, according to CNN.

When Jennifer filed for divorce from Fotis in 2017 after 13 years of marriage, she claimed Fotis and Troconis began having an affair in 2016. Jennifer stated that she moved out after finding out about the affair and claimed in court filings that Troconis' presence was emotionally damaging to the five children she shared with Fotis.

Both Troconis and Fotis’ former civil lawyer Kent Douglas Mawhinney have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case. In Mawhinney’s arrest warrant, obtained by Oxygen.com, Connecticut State Police investigators claim a grave was discovered on the property of the Windsor Rod & Gun Club, a club he helped set up, about a week before Jennifer vanished.

Troconis and Mawhinney have both pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder charges.

While Mawhinney left the club a few years back, the warrant alleges that he reached out to another club member in March or April to inquire "how to get back onto the property." 

3. Fotis Died After Trying To End His Own Life

Fotis died in January after a suicide attempt in his garage while facing murder and kidnapping charges. He was found unresponsive in a car parked in his garage after he neglected to show up for a scheduled emergency hearing related to the case. A hose was spotted attached to the tailpipe of Fotis’ Chevy Suburban, which was parked in the garage, the New York Post reported. 

He was rushed to the Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition while being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. He was declared dead days later. 

4. Fotis Claimed He Was Innocent

Fotis insisted he was innocent in a note found at his home after his suicide attempt. He also wrote that Troconis and Mawhinney had nothing to do with Jennifer's disappearance.

“Mr. Dulos was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” a January statement from his lawyer Norm Pattis, obtained by Oxygen.com, read. “Now he has been executed. We remain committed to demonstrating he did not murder Jennifer.”

5. The Controversial 'Gone Girl' Theory

Pattis began suggesting in June 2019 that Jennifer orchestrated her own disappearance in order to frame her husband. Pattis first made the salacious claim to the New York Post, noting that she once wrote a book manuscript with a similar plot to Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel “Gone Girl.” That novel, which was also turned into a movie, is about a woman who fakes her own death to frame her husband.

A spokesperson for Jennifer’s family and friends have consistently denounced the suggestion that she staged her own disappearance. Even “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn herself expressed disgust over the theory.

After Fotis’ death, Pattis put forth a claim that seemingly contradicted the “Gone Girl” theory. He claimed that his deceased client was the victim “of a conspiracy so immense that in the end it drove him to despair and to take his own life,” according to local outlet Fox 61

“We have reason to believe she met her end at the hand of third parties unrelated to Mr. Dulos,” he told reporters in March. “Obviously, we were working on the development of that evidence to present at trial in September, but there will be no trial.”

6. Fotis Was In A Legal Battle With Jennifer’s Mom

While Fotis was embroiled in a custody battle with Jennifer when she vanished, he was also separately involved in a legal battle with Jennifer’s mother, Gloria Farber. Farber had filed a civil suit against her son-in-law for allegedly failing to repay her approximately $2 million he borrowed for his real estate development company. 

Farber has been granted custody of her grandchildren in the wake of Jennifer's disappearance. Fotis unsuccessfully tried to have custody transferred to him as he awaited his trial.

7. The Case Is Not Over

Investigators continue to search for Jennifer’s body. Police drained a septic tank at a Connecticut home in June where Jennifer and Fotis once lived together in a continued effort to find her. She has still not been located.

In addition to the charges that both Troconis and Mawhinney already face, Troconis faces additional charges of second-degree hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence, NBC Connecticut reported in August. 

Prosecutors believe Troconis took extra steps to conceal or destroy evidence and assist her then-boyfriend in the aftermath of Jennifer’s presumed murder. She is expected to enter a new plea on the charges in early October. She has been on house arrest while Mawhinney has been unable to post bond on his $2 million bail.