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One month after a Connecticut mother of five vanished, her estranged husband is claiming she may have staged her own disappearance, like in the book and film “Gone Girl.” Her family is calling the claims heartbreaking and irresponsible.
Jennifer Dulos, 50, was last seen in Connecticut on May 24 dropping her children off at school. She had been in the midst of a contentious two-year divorce and custody battle at the time.
Her husband, Fotis Dulos, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, were arrested in early June on charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. Surveillance footage showed the pair discarding items that had Jennifer Dulos' blood on them, and prosecutors said Fotis Dulos’ DNA was found in his wife’s home. Both Fotis Dulos and Troconis pleaded not guilty, and are out on bail.
The search for Jennifer Dulos has largely focused on the properties of her estranged husband, who is a real estate developer.
On Sunday, Norm Pattis, a lawyer for Fotis Dulos, claimed his office had found a mystery novel Jennifer Dulos wrote that is similar to “Gone Girl,” the best-selling book later adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in which a woman stages her own disappearance and frames her husband for her murder.
“We have been provided a very dark, 500-plus page novel Jennifer wrote,” Pattis said in a statement. “We don’t know what had become of Jennifer, but the 'Gone Girl' hypothesis is very much on our mind.” Pattis didn't say who provided the novel or when it was supposedly written.
Pattis also said his office was looking into $14,000 worth of recently discovered medical bills that Jennifer Dulos incurred before her disappearance.
On Monday, Carrie Luft issued a statement on behalf of Jennifer Dulos' family and friends rejecting the estranged husband's claims.
"I read Jennifer’s novel in installments as she was completing the manuscript. She finished the draft around 2002. (This was before she was dating Fotis Dulos.)" the statement said.
Friends and family say Jennifer Dulos earned an MFA in writing from New York University, and her novel is entirely unrelated to "Gone Girl" in content and style. "Jennifer's novel is not a mystery," Luft wrote.
Luft also called the claims insulting, saying evidence allegedly shows Jennifer Dulos was the victim of a "violent attack."
"Trying to tie Jennifer’s absence to a book she wrote more than 17 years ago makes no sense," Luft said. "This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life."
"Jennifer is not here to protect her children, and these false and irresponsible allegations hurt the children now and into the future," she said.
The family is asking anyone with tips about Jennifer Dulos' disappearance to contact the police.