The Dulos couple’s nanny has recalled the moment her ‘stomach sank’ when she realized that Jennifer was missing after she failed to pick up her phone on the day of her alleged murder. 

Jurors were shown text messages from nanny Lauren Almeida, 32, to her close friend and boss Jennifer Dulos on May 24, 2019, the day the Connecticut mother-of-five vanished. 

While taking care of her children, the nanny messaged Jennifer several times to give her updates on their tasks, but the then-50-year-old stay-at-home-mom and blog writer did not respond. 

There were also several chilling clues in Jennifer’s home indicating that she had not gone about her day as normal, according to Almeida, including her routine morning cup of tea and granola bar left untouched in the kitchen.

Prosecutors claim that Jennifer was killed by her husband Fotis Dulos in her New Canaan home. They were entangled in acrimonious divorce and child custody proceedings at the time. 

Fotis killed himself in January 2020, but his initially secret partner Michelle Troconis, 49, is now on trial at Stamford Superior Court for allegedly helping him to conceal the crime by disposing of evidence. She denies all charges. 

Jennifer Dulos was ‘terrified’ of her husband Fotis in the months before she died, according to their nanny Lauren Almeida (pictured), who continued her testimony in court on Wednesday

Troconis denies charges connected to her allegedly helping Fotis conceal the crime – including conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution

Jurors were shown text messages from nanny Lauren Almeida, 32, to her close friend and boss Jennifer Dulos on May 24, 2019, the day the Connecticut mother-of-five vanished

Almeida told the court she entered Jennifer’s home twice on the day of her disappearance – once in the morning, and again to have lunch with four of the kids, who were aged between eight and 13 at the time. The fifth was at a friend’s house. 

She said they ate in the kitchen around 12.30pm, oblivious to what detectives have been calling tiny ‘blood-like stains’ in the room, before setting off to meet Jennifer in New York. 

When asked by the state whether she noticed anything strange in the home the first time she went in, Almeida said: ‘First, her purse was on the floor between the mudroom and the kitchen doorway. 

‘I thought that was a little odd because it was a really nice handbag and it was on the floor. 

‘When I entered the kitchen – she always had tea in a cup and a granola bar – the tea was still full and the granola bar was still there. 

‘I thought it was strange but figured she was in a rush, so I cleaned the tea and put the granola bar away.’ 

Almeida added that she also noticed several rolls of paper towels were missing, but she figured that one of the children had spilled something earlier that morning. 

The court was earlier shown images of what appeared to be blood inside one of the remaining paper towel rolls, which detectives seized as evidence.  

Almeida previously said Jennifer was an ‘incredibly nurturing mother’ to her five kids, who were aged between eight and 13 when she disappeared on May 24, 2019 

Almeida said she ate lunch with Jennifer Dulos’ children in the kitchen – oblivious to tiny alleged bloodstains in the room, which would later become the crime scene in Jennifer’s murder

Jurors were shown text messages from nanny Lauren Almeida (pictured) to her close friend and boss Jennifer Dulos on May 24, 2019 – the day the Connecticut mother-of-five vanished

Almeida (pictured walking towards the witness stand) began giving testimony in the courtroom on Tuesday, and she gave more evidence on Wednesday 

Michelle Troconis (left) and Fotis Dulos (right) were living together in his Farmington CT home at the time of his ex-wife Jennifer’s disappearance on May 24, 2019

Almeida said she picked Jennifer’s children up from New Canaan Country Day School at around 12.30pm, and they returned to the home for a quick 20-minute lunch in the kitchen – which would be identified as a crime scene later that day.  

Almeida recalled how she drove the kids to New York to meet Jennifer at the orthodontist’s office where they were due to meet – but medics said the Connecticut mom had not turned up for her appointments. 

The court was shown several text messages from Almeida to Jennifer, who was her close friend, letting her know how the day was unfolding, receiving no replies. 

When asked how she felt when she realized Jennifer had not attended her appointments, Almeida said: ‘Really bad. 

‘The second I called Jennifer and she didn’t pick up my stomach just sank because she never didn’t answer the phone. 

‘When she wasn’t there I was shocked but also had the found kids so put them into their appointments.

‘I went outside and started to call people who could have heard from Jennifer. I called my mum who tried to calm me down. Then I called her friends.’

After exhausting all their mutual friends, Almeida contacted New Canaan Police, who launched a missing person investigation and visited Jennifer’s home later that day. 

Almeida said she spoke with Fotis on the phone later that day, who wanted to arrange meeting the children the next weekend but did not mention Jennifer’s disappearance. 

Four of Jennifer Dulos’ children and their nanny ate lunch in her ‘bloodstained’ kitchen hours after she was allegedly murdered by her husband in the home, court has heard. (Pictured: nanny Lauren Almeida in court on day four of the trial) 

There were several chilling clues that Jennifer had not gone about her day as normal, according to Almeida (pictured) including her usual morning cup of tea and granola bar left untouched in the kitchen

Troconis in court on day four of the trial over the alleged murder of Jennifer Dulos 

Earlier on Wednesday, Almeida spoke about the collapse of Jennifer and Fotis’ marriage in March 2017 after he admitted to his affair with Troconis, a glamorous Venezuelan-American socialite they had met before on family ski trips.  

She said their ‘odd’ but previously amicable marriage rapidly became ‘tense and uncomfortable’ and that Jennifer moved out of their shared Farmington home with their children to a rented house in New Canaan. 

Almeida recalled one occasion when Jennifer returned to the Farmington property to collect some belongings, when Fotis ‘yelled’ at Jennifer and she hid from him behind a door with her youngest child and the nanny. 

‘Fotis was yelling and she closed the door behind her and she pushed her body up against the door and he was trying to get in,’ Almeida said. ‘She was terrified.

‘He pushed the door more and he saw that his daughter and myself were in the room and his demeanor totally changed. 

‘Eventually he walked away and she told me she needed to get out of the house.’ 

Almeida described the how Jennifer’s mental and physical health deteriorated after March 2017. 

‘She was increasingly getting more afraid, her anxiety was getting really bad,’ Almeida told the court.

‘She noticeably lost a lot of weight. She was just afraid, and she expressed that a lot.’ 

Lauren Almeida, who took care of the couple’s five children for eight years until Jennifer’s disappearance on May 24, 2019, also gave more details about Fotis’ affair with defendant Michelle Troconis(Pictured: Almeida going through court security on Wednesday)

The Dulos couple’s nanny Lauren Almeida (pictured left approaching Stamford Superior Court) has recalled the moment her ‘stomach sank’ when she realized that Jennifer was missing after she failed to pick up her phone on the day of her alleged murder

Jennifer Dulos (left) vanished on May 24, 2019, amid a divorce from her husband Fotis (right), who was later charged with her murder. Fotis killed himself in January 2020, leaving his new lover Michelle Troconis to face trial alone for allegedly helping him conceal the killing 

Michelle Troconis, who denies all charges, entering court for the fourth day of her trial 

Almeida still lives with the Dulos children – Petros, Theodore, Constantine, Christiane and Cleopatra Noelle – who are now aged between 13 and 17 – along with their maternal grandmother Gloria. 

She began giving evidence at around 4.15pm on Tuesday, and returned to the witness box on Wednesday as Troconis’ trial continued. 

Almeida previously said she met the Dulos’ while working at a daycare where they used to drop their kids, and described Jennifer as ‘an incredibly nurturing’ and playful mother, and Fotis as a largely absent family. 

She painted a picture of their family life as one filled with idyllic holidays to an array of locations including Miami and Aspen until Fotis met Troconis. 

Troconis denies charges connected to her allegedly helping him conceal the crime – including conspiracy to commit murder, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.

Prosecutors accuse Fotis of killing Jennifer in her New Canaan, CT home after she returned from dropping their children off at school, and they allege that Troconis helped him dispose of her bloodied clothing in several garbage bags. 

Jennifer’s body was never found, but Judge William P. Osterndorf declared her ‘officially dead’ last week. 

Troconis’ trial began in Stamford began on Thursday before pausing over the weekend and for Martin Luther King Jr Day. 

On the first day, the state presented bodycam footage of officers searching Jennifer’s home in New Canaan, Connecticut, including the garage where police say Jennifer was so badly injured that she bled profusely. 

Jurors were shown what appeared to be a bloody footprint in her garage, and various red marks on the Range Rover parked in the central bay.

Almeida began testifying in the murder trial at Stamford Superior Court on Tuesday (pictured) 

Former state police detective Matthew Reilly said he spotted red stains on several surfaces in Jennifer’s kitchen, including on a paper towel roll, sink faucet, and counter-top – and in her garage

Suspected blood stain in Jennifer Dulos’ Range Rover which was parked in her garage 

Evidence of ‘blood-like stains’ on the ground of Dulos’ garage was shown to jurors 

Troconis’ sister Claudia, flanked by their parents Marisela and Carlos, made an emotional statement outside the Stamford courthouse following the first hearing, insisting that Michelle is innocent. 

The next day, Troconis’ lawyer Jon Schoenhorn attempted to block detectives from testifying about their use of a luminol swab to identify some of the stains as blood, claiming the test is based on ‘junk science’. 

He made an impassioned statement to press outside, saying that luminol, which glows blue when blood is present, also presents the same color for substances including bleach, rust, paint and turpentine. 

But Judge Kevin Randolph ruled that evidence regarding luminol was admissible, adding that Schoenhorn would get an opportunity to cross-examine officials about it. 

Former Connecticut State Police detective Kevin Reilly spoke about the luminol tests when the trial resumed on Tuesday after the three-day holiday weekend, and jurors were shown new images of alleged bloodstains in Jennifer’s kitchen. 

Reilly said some of the garage samples tested positive for blood. The swabs were sent to a lab for confirmation, but none of the witnesses have testified yet about these results. 

Under cross-examination by Schoenhorn, he agreed that the luminol tests, which was one of the two tests deployed, would also have appeared positive for a ‘laundry list’ of other substances. 

Jon Schoenhorn  (pictured outside the Stamford courthouse with his client Michelle Troconis) attempted to block detectives from testifying about their use of a luminol swab to identify some of the stains as blood, claiming the test is based on ‘junk science’

Before the trial began, Troconis’ attorney Jon Schoenhorn (pictured in court on day three of her trial) accused police of lying to and misleading his client during interviews and questioning her in English with no interpreter present when her primary language is Spanish

Before the trial began, Schoenhorn accused police of lying to and misleading his client during interviews and questioning her in English with no interpreter present when her primary language is Spanish. 

He has also challenged much of the evidence in the case. Judge Randolph recently ruled the police seizure of Troconis’ cellphone was illegal and any evidence obtained from it cannot be used during the trial. 

But Randolph allowed other evidence Schoenhorn sought to bar, including video of the police questioning of Troconis and DNA test results.

Dulos’ family and friends hope the trial provides accountability for her death and answers to lingering questions.

‘As this trial begins, it is crucial to remember who is at the center: Jennifer, whose five children have lost their mother and, Shape Kapseln Erfahrungen as an eventuality, both parents,’ said her friend Carrie Luft, in a statement on behalf of family and friends. 

‘Jennifer´s family and loved ones have lost a loving daughter, sister, cousin, and lifelong friend.’

The trial began January 11 and it is expected to continue for six weeks before jurors are sent out for deliberations. 

CrimeMartin Luther KingConnecticut

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