NEW CANAAN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a two-year-old missing person case that still baffles investigators. New Canaan mother of five children, Jennifer Dulos, vanished on May 24, 2019, without a trace during a custody dispute.
Her estranged husband Fotis, was charged with her murder. Shortly after he was charged, he died following a suicide attempt at the end of January 2020 at his home. Two other suspects connected to the case are also facing charges.
Jennifer’s disappearance shook the nation and punctuates the rise in domestic violence cases. Recently the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence released its most recent statistics and since then incidents have continued.
According to Connecticut Protective Moms, there have been three additional domestic violence-related homicides including a Norwalk man who killed his wife and then killed himself on May 16. Since then, there have been two more domestic violence homicides including Jessica Edwards of South Windsor, who had been missing since May 10. Her body was found Friday, May 21, and her husband has since been arrested and charged in connection with her death. That brings the number of domestic-related homicides this year to at least seven.
The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos and other women like her has lead to the introduction of state legislation to help domestic violence victims.
A bill known as Jennifer’s Law was introduced in the state legislature by Senator Alex Kasser. It focuses on a non-physical form of abuse known as ‘coercive control.’ The legislation received the attention of many, including actress Evan Rachel Wood, who along with other victims and advocates testified at a public hearing on the proposed bill.
For too long, domestic abuse was only recognized as bruises or black eyes. But domestic abuse is much more. Survivors say that non-violent abuse is often more powerful and painful than physical abuse.
When a person is threatened with losing her children, her job, her home, or her reputation, she is no longer ‘free’ to leave. Victims don’t stay because they want to, they stay because the price of leaving is greater than the suffering they’re already experiencing. ”Senator Alex Kasser
The content of SB-1091 and its name has changed but its purpose remains – to help victims of domestic violence. It is still making its way through the state legislature where it just passed the Senate and is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives.
Along with Connecticut, New York, Maryland, and South Carolina are also considering coercive control laws. California and Hawaii approved laws last year. Washington has passed a law prohibiting abusive litigation against domestic violence survivors. Some countries including England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, also have coercive control laws.
As for the investigation into Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, Michelle Troconis, Fotis’s former girlfriend, faces conspiracy to commit murder and other charges. Kent Mawhinney, one of Fotis’s civil attorneys, is also facing a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. Both are out on bond.
“At this time, the state’s cases against Michelle Troconis and Kent Mawhinney are in pretrial status. Like all other pending criminal cases throughout the state, their cases were delayed to some extent due to the pandemic, but during the past year, numerous pretrial motions have been filed and heard before the court, both remotely and in person.
As both cases work their way through the court process, the Stamford State’s Attorney’s Office remains focused on prosecuting those responsible for the murder of Jennifer Farber Dulos and seeking justice for her family, as well as working with law enforcement on any and all leads regarding the location of Jennifer’s body.”Paul J. Ferencek, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk
On May 18 Mawhinney asked a judge for permission to remove his GPS device which was denied. Troconis is due back in court on May 25.
We reached out to the family and received the following statement from Carrie Luft on Behalf of the Family and Friends of Jennifer Farber Dulos:
Jennifer remains missing and now a Lifetime movie on her disappearance is about to premiere bringing even more attention to this already sensational story.