What to Know
- Jennifer Dulos, a suburban mother of five from Connecticut, vanished May 24 after dropping her children off at school
- Her estranged husband and his girlfriend have pleaded not guilty to charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution
- Authorities have said they've received nearly 1,000 tips in the case so far, but after more than a month, Jennifer Dulos remains missing
Fotis Dulos knows what the public thinks of him, and has a message for them: Wait until the facts come out.
"I know what I've done, I know what I haven't done," Dulos said in an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York. "I have to stand and fight and hope the truth is going to come out."
It was Dulos' first interview since the disappearance of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, more than a month ago. She went missing after dropping their five children off at school.
Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend Michelle Troconis — who he said he still loves and thinks she still loves him, though her attorneys have filed a no-contact order — have pleaded not guilty to evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges in connection with the May 24 disappearance of the New Canaan mom. Police says Fotis Dulos and Troconis discarded items containing Jennifer Dulos' blood in Hartford.
While he understands why people are interested in the case, Fotis Dulos wants people to wait before they label him a "monster."
"I think they should wait. I have faith in the system, and in the police and the legal system, and hopefully we’ll have some answers soon," Dulos said. "I never follow the tabloids, and I don't care about the threats. I don't care about malicious comments and about comments from people who don't know me."
U.S. & World
The day's top national and international news.
"They take the narrative that they see from the arrest, the arrest warrants, what has been reported in the press. And they draw their own conculsion, and I've already been convicted in their mind."
Dulos said he has been shocked at what has gone on over the past month, saying he never thought he would be arrested or have to spend time in jail, calling the whole thing and the prospect of facing more charges a "very scary experience."
"When it all started, I said this cannot be true, I must be dreaming," Dulos said. "I’m wearing orange, I'm in a cell … this cannot be true."
Despite not believing what was going on in his life, Dulos does not blame police or the criminal justice system.
"I think with information they had, they did best they could, I understand they had tremendous pressure on them," Dulos told News 4. "Statistically when this happens, 90 or 95 percent (of the time) it’s the spouse. So I understand why people feel like this."
"It's 90 percent, it's not 100 percent — I'm in the 5 or 10 percent," he quickly added.
The kids have been staying with Gloria Farber, Jennifer Dulos' mother, under armed bodyguard protection in Manhattan since she vanished, and Farber has filed for sole custody. Fotis Dulos remains banned from contact with them, which he views as unfair and said has been very hard for him, but added they remain his main concern.
"It’s been very different ... Been a very tough time for the whole family, we’re all worried about Jennifer," Dulos said. "I’m worried very much about the kids and what they're going through ... I want to tell them to hang in there. It’s a big challenge in our lives. Things will work out and everything will be alright eventually."
"It’s heartbreaking," Dulos said about not having contact with his kids. "This is a very tough time I'm sure they have a lot questions ... I'm sure they're missing their mom, I'm sure they're missing their dad."
Dulos said that he sends his prayers to Jennifer's family, and any notion that he wished her ill is "ludicrous."
"I had my differences with Jennifer like many people do when they go through a marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I wish her ill in any way ... I never wanted Jennifer out of the way."
Dulos detailed his interactions with Jennifer during the final weeks before her disappearance, painting a more optimistic picture as the couple was still in the midst of their ugly divorce and custody battle — saying he and his lawyer were starting to get hopeful an agreement on joint custody could soon be reached.
"The interesting thing was the last month, I tried many times to make an opening and start communicating with her directly, and that didin’t go anywhere in the past. But about mid-April she responded, and we started talking directly," said Dulos. "We started talking about possibly going into mediation, she recognized that she was taken by her lawyers, and the dynamic started changing. We started having good communications, good conversations. We made a rule that if we got onto a subject that we didn’t agree, we would park it so we don’t make it antagonistic."
Fotis claimed the two had even were cordial with each other when they met a couple times to drop off their kids, describing a time Jennifer invited him to stay and have his meal with the children on the back patio of her home the Wednesday before she vanished.
Since his wife went missing, Fotis said he is the one who is "screwed up right now, in a big way."
"I don’t have my kids, Jennifer is not around, Michelle is not around, I’m having a hard time with work. I have a GPS on my foot. Somebody has to look at who is the one worst effected in this situation," he said.
His sister came publicly to his defense earlier Tuesday, saying in a statement emailed to NBC that Fotis Dulos wants nothing more than to know his 50-year-old wife and mother of his five children is well and able to return to their kids.
"Is it relevant for you to know that I have only known my brother to be just that; a loving and affectionate sibling and the greatest of uncles for my two daughters? The life line to a large degree of both our immediate and extended family?" Rena Dulos wrote. "Is it relevant to point out that Fotis — from a very young age — desired to be a father? To be a caretaker? To have a big family under his paternal 'wings?'"
Rena Dulos goes on to talk about how her brother sacrificed much to take care of their ailing parents; she describes an avid skiier who competed professionally and has been goal-oriented his entire "can-do" life.
The comments were the first from Rena Dulos since her brother came under the public and criminal microscope. She says many relatives and friends don't believe Fotis Dulos is capable of harming his wife.