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The Connecticut man whose wife has been missing for more than a week in the midst of a contentious two-year custody-and-divorce battle allegedly owes a million dollars to his mother-in-law, whom he accuses of holding his children in a New York City apartment under armed guard, according to court documents.
Jennifer Dulos, 50, was reported missing on May 24, according to the New Canaan Police Department.
She had filed for divorce from her husband, Fotis Dulos, in June 2017. The couple had been married since August 2004.
On the same day she disappeared, the nanny for her five children whisked them to New York City to stay with Jennifer Dulos' mother, Gloria Farber, 85, according to a court filing submitted by Fotis on Tuesday in an effort to regain custody of his children.
Farber hired an armed guard to stand watch at the apartment, the father claims.
"Please be assured that Jennifer’s five children are safe and well-cared for," said a statement released by Jennifer's family on Friday.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Farber filed a motion requesting the financial records of Fotis Dulos' real estate development business, the Fore Group.
In 2018, she had filed a complaint claiming her son-in-law owed her and her late husband $1 million after he had only repaid $500,000 of the $1.5 million they began loaning him for his business in 2004.
A statement from Jennifer's family said she would never leave her five children, who are between the ages of 8 and 13. It also said she had been embraced by her new community of New Canaan, where she moved with her children in 2017, about 70 miles from her husband in Farmington.
More than 400 filings have been entered as the couple tried to settle matters of child custody and visitation, alimony and child support. Both the mother and father had, at some point, filed for emergency orders for sole custody of the children, but a judge denied those motions, and the pair had joint custody pending the finalization of the divorce.
Shortly after filing for divorce, Jennifer accused her husband of exhibiting “irrational, unsafe, bullying, threatening and controlling behavior” as she tried to gain custody of the children.
“I am afraid of my husband. I know that filing for divorce, and filing this motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way,” Jennifer wrote in her application for custody, in which she alleged Fotis had purchased a gun.
“He has the attitude that he must always win at all costs. He is dangerous and ruthless when he believes he has been wronged. During our marriage, he told me about sickening revenge fantasies and plans to cause physical harm to others who have wronged him,” Jennifer wrote.
She said her husband had threatened to take the children to Greece, and “disappear,” and she was also concerned he would take the kids away to Argentina, where his girlfriend of a year had connections. The girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter were living with Fotis in the home the couple had once shared with their kids, Jennifer wrote.
She also said the children’s mental health was suffering because her husband forced a rigorous water-skiing training schedule on them. One of her sons, when forced to water-ski, wrote in texts “everyday is like hell” and “I want to kill myself.”
Fotis dismissed the boy’s suicide threat as “dramatic,” and wouldn’t allow him to see a therapist, Jennifer wrote.
“We are all terrified to disobey my husband,” she wrote.
Fotis filed an objection to his wife's request for custody and denied most of her allegations. He said he had purchased a gun "in case he needed to protect his family." He said he had never become volatile with his wife, but accused her of yelling at him and "calling him names" in front of guests in June 2017.
New Canaan Police said Friday that they are treating Jennifer's disappearance as a criminal case, but not a homicide case. They said no arrests had been made, and a body has not been found as they search for Jennifer along with the Connecticut State Police.
The Hartford Courant reported that they had found blood in Jennifer’s New Canaan home when they were searching it on Saturday. But the New Canaan Police Department wouldn’t verify that information Thursday, citing an an active and ongoing investigation.
Jennifer's family described her as "very slender" and 5-foot-7, "with a soft voice," dark brown eyes, and shoulder-length brown hair.
She was last seen driving a 2017 black Chevrolet Suburban, which police found shortly after they began their search.
Jennifer Dulos' divorce lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. Three of Fotis Dulos' attorneys did not respond to a request for comment, and messages to his business email were not returned. An attorney for Farber also did not respond to a request for comment. The court-appointed lawyer representing the children, Michael T. Meehan, declined to comment.