The case of a missing Connecticut mother of five—who was in the middle of a years-long divorce battle with her estranged husband—has now turned into a criminal investigation, with Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Unit reportedly probing her disappearance along with local officials.
According to the Stamford Advocate, 50-year-old Jennifer Dulos was reported missing by her friends on Friday night after she hadn’t been heard from for about 10 hours. Police said the last time anyone had contact with Dulos was when she was dropping her kids off at New Canaan Country School on Friday morning.
Dulos’ black 2017 Chevy Suburban was found near the New Canaan’s Waveny Park soon after she was reported missing, and local and state police have been searching the 300 acre-park by foot and by air.
“This investigation is being treated as a missing person case, but as with any missing person case, a criminal investigation is being conducted concurrently to determine if Jennifer was the victim of foul play or intentional harm,” Lt. Jason Ferraro said in a statement Wednesday.
Dulos is involved in a two-year divorce battle with her husband, Fotis Dulos. When Jennifer filed for divorce in 2017, she reportedly said she feared Fotis and claimed he would “harm [her] in some way” for seeking divorce. Jennifer had filed an emergency order for full custody of her children the same year but was denied.
Just last week, Fotis’ attorney requested that his client be able to see his five children—who have been reportedly staying with Dulos’ mother in New York “under the watch of an armed guard the family hired.” A hearing was also reportedly scheduled for Wednesday at the Stamford courthouse but was postponed after a status conference was requested “regarding the safety of the children.”
Fotis is also in a legal battle with Jennifer’s family, the Farbers, with his estranged wife’s relatives claiming he owes them $1.7 million in loans he took from them to buy and develop homes. The Connecticut Post reports that Jennifer’s family started giving Fotis money back in 2004—the same year he and Jennifer got married. Fotis used the money to develop homes in Farmington, Avon, and New Canaan, and would reportedly pay the money back after the homes sold. The family reportedly kept loaning him money until at least 2015, and two lawsuits filed in 2018 claim he stopped making payments.
Fotis argued the loans from Jennifer’s family were gifts, court documents reportedly show. The Farbers, however, provided a schedule of loan payments and the loan document for a house in Farmington. Fotis is reportedly staying at the Farmington home and still running his award-winning building company from there. The home is also listed for sale at $4.35 million.
Fotis and members of Jennifer’s family did not respond to requests for comment. Fotis’ lawyer, Michael Rose, could not be reached.