"We hope that this trial will help provide answers to, and accountability for, what was done to Jennifer," the victim's friends and family said in a statement
Content warning: The following article contains disturbing photos showing the victim's bloodied clothing
For Jennifer Dulos’s loved ones, Tuesday’s testimony in the murder trial of Michelle Troconis was almost too excruciating to bear.
Displayed on a large screen in a courtroom in Stamford, Conn., were pictures of what prosecutors said were the victim's blood-soaked striped shirt and blood-soaked bra.
“The long-sleeved shirt is cut,” Connecticut State Police Sgt. Kevin Duggan testified, WTNH reports. “It’s a Vineyard Vines shirt, and it is covered in a blood-like substance along with the bra.”
The bra also appeared to have been cut in the front.
Also shown were a box cutter, an uncut blood-soaked white T-shirt, a white towel, black gloves, and a number of zip ties — evidence authorities say they found while investigating the mother of five’s disappearance on May 24, 2019.
At one point, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning held up the now crimson-covered Vineyard Vines shirt and a poncho covered in a blood-like substance for jurors to see.
Upon seeing the blood-stained items, family members grew visibly emotional, outlets including NBC Connecticut report.
On Tuesday night, Jennifer's longtime friend Carrie Luft released a statement to PEOPLE and other members of the media on behalf of Jennifer's family and friends, saying, “For Jennifer’s family and loved ones, seeing the physical evidence on Tuesday was brutal but also crucial.
“Witnessing Jennifer’s blood-soaked clothing, knowing that was the shirt, the bra, she wore on the last day of her life, made us imagine, again, what she must have endured on May 24, 2019.
“We hope that seeing this evidence in three dimensions can put an end to any suggestion that Jennifer is 'missing.' She died a tragic death, and her loss is felt beyond what words can express.”
Prosecutors allege the evidence links Troconis, 49, to the May 24, 2019, disappearance of Jennifer, whose remains have never been found. Authorities believe her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, lay in wait for her at her New Canaan home where he killed her before transporting her body to a still-unknown location. Fotis died by suicide in 2020 while in jail awaiting murder charges.
Shown publicly for the first time, the items were found in trash bins along a busy street in Hartford, where surveillance video shows Fotis getting out of his black truck and dumping bags of garbage.
Sitting in the passenger seat next to him was Troconis, who at one point can be seen on surveillance video leaning out of the truck with her hand on the sidewalk, CBS News reports.
Duggan told the jury how he and other investigators located the items in garbage they collected from the bins in Hartford where Fotis had been seen emptying black bags.
Troconis was having an affair with Fotis, while he was still married to Jennifer, according to testimony by the nanny for the Dulos children earlier in the trial, CBS News reports.
Troconis was still in a relationship with the real estate developer when Jennifer vanished on the morning of May 24, 2019. She and Fotis were embroiled in a nasty divorce and custody battle at the time.
Jennifer "was afraid of what Fotis would do to her or the kids if she filed for divorce," the children's longtime nanny, Lauren Almeida, testified earlier in the trial, CBS News reports.
Troconis is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.
Prosecutors allege Troconis helped her boyfriend cover up the murder. Troconis has pleaded not guilty.
In court Monday, jurors saw a video of Fotis getting out of his truck in Hartford on the night his estranged wife vanished and throwing an envelope into a storm drain. In the video, Troconis can be seen leaning out of the truck and touching her hand to the sidewalk near the sewer opening.
Defense attorney Jon Schoenhorn told the court Troconis was trying to get rid of a piece of gum by wiping it on the sidewalk, CBS News reports.
He said Troconis had no idea what Fotis was doing when he stopped at different bins in Hartford during the same trip.
“Michelle told the police multiple times that she was either talking to her family members, her daughter at one point, her mother… and she looks up and said, ‘What are we doing here? I thought we were going to Starbucks,'” Schoenhorn said, WTNH reports.
Inside the envelope were what prosecutors allege were doctored Connecticut license plates.
In her statement, Luft and Jennifer's family and friends thanked police and prosecutors.
“We are grateful to the prosecution and the investigators for their meticulous collection and presentation of evidence in this case,” she wrote. “Above all, we trust in justice, and we hope that this trial will help provide answers to, and accountability for, what was done to Jennifer that day.”
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