HARTFORD, Conn. — State police detectives Monday and Tuesday combed through garbage at a Hartford trash-to-energy plant looking for evidence in the investigation of the disappearance of New Canaan mother Jennifer Farber Dulos who has been missing since May 24.
A corps of state police, using eight German Shepherd “cadaver dogs,” since mid-afternoon Monday have been sifting through garbage collected in Hartford’s north end at the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority’s trash-to-energy plant on Maxim Road in Hartford’s South Meadows, MIRA officials confirmed Tuesday morning.
Police have arrested Dulos’ estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, 51 and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, on charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.
Court records released after their arraignments Monday in Norwalk Superior Court said Jennifer Dulos’ blood was found on clothing and other items discarded in areas along Albany Avenue in Hartford where two people matching the description of Fotis Dulos and Troconis were recorded on video disposing of trash bags. The garbage from that neighborhood is taken to the Hartford trash-to-energy facility.
The police contacted MIRA Friday to determine where the garbage from the Albany area would be, and the authority identified two trucks that would have picked it up and and told police where it is located in the big processing facility, MIRA President Thomas Kirk said Tuesday.
Sources said many of the garbage cans in that neighborhood had already been emptied before police arrived there and taken to the Hartford trash-to-energy plant. Sources said police closed down the incinerator overnight to search inside for bone fragments and now are going to search a pile of trash believed to be from the Albany Avenue area that has not been burned.
On Monday around 3 p.m., police and their canine assistants arrived at the trash plant in full numbers to start the job that is expected to last through Tuesday night and perhaps another day or two. The garbage had not been burned yet. But it has been shredded mechanically to small chunks 6 inches or less in diameter. No substances have been added that would chemically alter the refuse, MIRA officials said. It’s piled as high as 20 feet over an area half the size of a football field on the concrete floor of a giant receiving area under a roof, much of it up against a wall, said Thomas Gaffey, MIRA’s director of recycling and enforcement.
Police are using heavy equipment to skim off layers out into an open area and go through the garbage with the dogs. They had not told MIRA officials the’d found anything of significance yet as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
“They were appropriately not quite clear to us” about such details, Kirk said.
In addition to the Albany Avenue neighborhood in Hartford, police have also searched locations in several towns including Jennifer Dulos’ home in New Canaan where she lived with her children, who range in age from 8 to 13, a park near her home where Jennifer Dulos’ vehicle was found and her previous home in Farmington where Fotis Dulos continued to live with his girlfriend.
Court records said blood and evidence of cleanup attempts were also discovered in Dulos’ New Canaan home.
“Investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene, and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim,” investigators said in court records.
Jennifer Dulos, 50, went missing May 24 after dropping her kids off at school. Police said she missed appointments that day. She has not been found.
She and her estranged husband have been embroiled in a bitter two-year custody battle, a contentious case full of back-and-forth accusations of ignoring court orders, threatening each other in front of the children and allegations of threats to hurt the children or each other.
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