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Kids of missing Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos give emotional statements at Michelle Troconis sentencing

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(STAMFORD, Conn.) — Children of missing Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos spoke out Friday in emotional victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing of Michelle Troconis, who was convicted of helping her boyfriend, Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband, cover up Jennifer Dulos’ murder.

Petros Dulos, who was 13 when his mother died in May 2019, said in court, “I’ve been left with a hole inside of me I know I will never be able to fill.”

“My mother was everything to me. But during the divorce, I became very bitter with everyone around me, especially mom, because she was always trying to help me,” he said. “This meant that I hurt the person closest to me because I didn’t know how else to voice my pain. The defendant’s actions mean I will never be able to tell my mom how sorry I am for not being a better son when she needed me. I will never be able to tell mom how proud of her courage I am. Most importantly, how much I love her. This fact haunts me every day.”

Petros Dulos said Troconis, a mother herself, “has desecrated” the meaning of the word mother.

The case began on May 24, 2019, when Jennifer Dulos, a Connecticut mother of five, disappeared amid a contentious custody dispute with her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.

Prosecutors alleged Fotis Dulos killed his estranged wife in her garage, and Troconis, his live-in girlfriend, helped him cover up evidence.

On March 1, Troconis was found guilty of all counts against her: conspiracy to commit murder, tampering with physical evidence, conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence and hindering prosecution. On Friday, Judge Kevin Randolph threw out one of the counts of conspiracy to commit evidence tampering. The prosecution asked for 45 years in prison.

At trial, police testified that surveillance footage showed Fotis Dulos driving, with Troconis in the passenger seat, in Hartford later on the day Jennifer Dulos vanished, with Fotis Dulos making stops to throw out alleged evidence in trash cans, the Hartford Courant reported. In court, jurors were shown zip ties, gloves and stained clothing prosecutors said were pulled from the trash cans.

Prosecutors said Troconis also helped her boyfriend with an alibi and helped him clean a truck believed to have been used in the crime, according to The Stamford Advocate.

Troconis maintained her innocence, with the defense arguing Troconis never denied being in the car with her boyfriend, but she did deny having any involvement in or any knowledge of crimes Fotis Dulos may have committed.

Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020, weeks after he was charged in Jennifer Dulos’ murder.

Christiane Dulos, who was 10 when her mother died, said in court that after her parents separated, she asked her dad about cheating on her mother. She said Fotis Dulos responded, “When you really love somebody, sometimes you can’t wait.”

“This affair was why my mom took us and left, why she cried at night and why we were no longer a family,” she said. “From then on, Michelle was a part of my life with my dad. Later on, my dad told us that Michelle was not allowed to be around us anymore, and that if we wanted to keep seeing her, we could not tell mom that Michelle was at our visits.”

Overcome with emotion, Christiane Dulos said, “Michelle Troconis, to me, is the reason I feel completely lost and alone on nights when I cannot sleep. She’s the reason why I blocked out my childhood and that day so much I can barely remember it. She’s the reason kids at school look at me with pity, the reason my teachers say ‘guardians’ and not ‘parents."”

“The reason I’ve had to sit on the bathroom floor with my little sister and try my best to comfort her. She’s the reason I had to visit my dad at the hospital knowing what he did and knowing he chose to leave us,” she said. “She’s the reason I no longer feel I have a real beginning, a home to always come back to, parents I will always belong to.”

Christiane Dulos said she can only feel her mom’s presence through memories, her mom’s writings and stories from her grandmother and Jennifer Dulos’ friends.

“I hold onto these moments of her life knowing it should be her telling me these stories,” she said.

Theodore Dulos, who was 13 at the time of his mother’s death, said in court Friday, “My life now is nothing like it used to be. I no longer have my mother, my hero. I’ll never talk to her again. I’ll never do my homework with her again. I’ll never ask her for advice again.”

“Michelle, you caused this damage,” he said. “You not only knew about, but conspired, to murder a daughter, sister, friend and mother of five kids. That day you took away five children’s source of comfort, our protector. You showed no remorse and you’ve yet to show any.”

Jennifer Dulos’ body has never been found but a judge has declared her legally dead.

Theodore Dulos asked Troconis to reveal what happened the day Jennifer Dulos vanished and the location of Jennifer Dulos’ body.

“I’ll never forgive you … and until you give us more answers, you’ll be considered evil, violent and most definitely a coward,” he said.

The children’s nanny, Lauren Almeida, said after Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, she put her own goals on hold and left her career, family, friends and relationship in Connecticut to help care for the kids.

“My relationship ended, I lost the place I called home, I’ve lost friends and time with my family. I had to rethink what my life would be like now that I had five kids to help look after,” she said in court.

“These kids have become my whole world and they’ve taught me what unconditional love is,” she said, overcome with emotion.

Almeida said Troconis “took away the most genuine, thoughtful, funny and kind person I have ever met. She took away a mother who sang silly songs to her kids, who was always there when they fell to lift them back up.”

She said the kids’ feeling of safety and security is gone.

Almeida speculated about Troconis’ motive.

“To take Jennifer’s place? Because you could never,” she said. “To live this lavish lifestyle Fotis promised? We’ll never know, because I believe Michelle will never be honest.”

“We don’t even have the comfort of knowing where [Jennifer Dulos] is,” Almeida said. “Where is she, Michelle?”

Noelle Dulos, who was 8 when her mother died, said she’s now constantly terrified something bad will happen to her loved ones.

“I feel betrayed by Michelle,” she said. “I remember trusting her. I don’t understand how she could be so selfish and it scares me to put my trust in other people.”

Jennifer Dulos “only wanted to give and to get love, and to be a loving mother,” her mother, Gloria Farber, said at the sentencing hearing. “She lived in fear of her life. In fear that her husband might abduct her children.”

“Every year we honor Jennifer on her birthday — Sept. 27, 1968,” her mother said in court Friday. “On that day in September, her children, her sister, her friends and I cross the street from my apartment and we walk to Central Park carrying purple balloons — Jennifer’s favorite color. We sit on benches, and, using markers, we write messages to her. Then we let the balloons go.”

“Jennifer filled her children with love, wisdom and humor,” she said. “Jennifer would have been very proud of her children’s accomplishments. They will always have their memories of her, as do I.”

Petros Dulos added in court Friday, “I’m upset that I will never know the man I could have become if my mom was still here to guide me. She was my hero. And now I often feel lost without her comforting smile and her meaningful discussions.”

“I wish she could see me mature from a boy to a young man. I wish I could hug mom again,” he said. “But I can’t now.”

Troconis’ father addressed the court Friday, describing her as a compassionate woman who was devoted to her daughter.

Dr. Carlos Troconis asked the judge for mercy, saying “she could continue to be a valuable member of society, providing care and restorative therapy to children and adults.”

Michelle Troconis’ mother, Marisela Arreaza, wept, saying her daughter misplaced trust in her boyfriend.

Troconis’ sister, Daniela Troconis, said her sister was her biggest supporter.

Troconis has an “unwavering dedication to helping those in need,” and even over the last five years “remains there for me,” she said.

Through tears, Daniela Troconis said to the judge, “I am begging you to consider Michelle’s many positive contributions to the community,”

Troconis’ pastor, the Rev. Christopher Solomini, spoke in court on her behalf, saying Troconis was a church volunteer who he would trust with his life.

“Empathy and compassion are at the center of her being, in my estimation,” he said.

“Michelle was always especially affirming and loving to young children, and genuinely affectionate to all,” he said.

“I’ve heard her prayers for Jennifer and her children,” he added.

Fotis Dulos’ friend and former lawyer, Kent Mawhinney, is also accused of helping cover up the crime. He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and is awaiting trial.

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