Grim milestone: Questions remain 1 year after disappearance of Jennifer Dulos

NEW CANANN, Connecticut (WABC) -- Sunday marks exactly one year since Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five from Connecticut, vanished.

Her disappearance gained national attention and set off an investigation that led to arrests, accusations and suicide.

"It's a heartbreaking situation, we are all gravely concerned, but we are very hopeful that Jennifer will come back to us safe and said," family friend Carrie Luft said one year ago.

Fast forward 12 months and Luft is speaking out again -- but this time she released a statement that read in part, "We miss Jennifer beyond words. The ache of her absence doesn't go away. Countless questions remain unanswered."

Some of those questions are the same ones police asked last May 24: What happened to Jennifer after she dropped off her give kids at their school in New Canaan?

Almost immediately, her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, became the prime suspect.

The two were in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle. Investigators thought they caught their first big break when Jennifer's car was found near Waveny Park.

While the discovery of the car did not provide any leads, police focused on other evidence.

Investigators say blood found in Jennifer's garage pointed to a serious physical assault, and cops eventually uncovered surveillance video that showed Fotis dumping items in random trash receptacles around Hartford.

Fotis and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, were taken in to custody, accused of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.

Several months and countless court appearances would pass before Fotis was arrested on Jan. 7 and charged with murder.

Troconis was accused of conspiracy to commit murder, as was Fotis' civil attorney, Kent Mawhinney, when detectives were able to get enough evidence to affect the arrests.

That evidence included a list of bloody items recovered that tested positive for Jennifer's DNA, including a plastic zip ties that police say were used to restrain her.

At that time, prosecutors said they were relieved and were confident in their case.

But that case would never be heard. Three weeks later, Fotis was found unconscious inside his garage.

Two days after his suicide attempt, Fotis Dulos was pronounced dead. He left behind a note claiming he knew nothing about Jennifer's disappearance.

Last week, Troconis also professed her innocence, but acknowledged that she was wrong to trust Fotis, writing "Whether or not Fotis Dulos was capable of doing the things the police and prosecutors accused him of doing, I do not know, but based on what I have learned in the last year, I think it was a mistake to have trusted him."

As for Jennifer, her mother has custody of her five children -- children that the family say are "taller, stronger, wiser and more like their mom every day."

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