This article was written by Mike Dinan and originally published on sister site NewCanaanite.com
After pedaling his bicycle from Waveny Park to Welles Lane to kill his estranged wife, and then steering an employee’s pickup truck back upstate with her corpse, Fotis Dulos forgot to remove from the vehicle the dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt he’d been wearing while cycling, according to interviews and evidence cited in a state police detective’s sworn affidavit made public last week.
The blue hoodie would be discovered inside a red pail in the truck on May 28, four days after the murder, by the owner of the Toyota Tacoma, according to Detective John Kimball of the state police Western District Major Crime Squad.
Kimball’s lengthy affidavits—now spread across affidavits in seven felony arrest warrant applications connected to the disappearance and murder of Jennifer Dulos—show that the man who came upon the sweatshirt, Pawel Gumienny, has played a critical role in a multi-agency investigation that culminated Jan. 7 in murder charges against Fotis Dulos and conspiracy to commit murder charges for his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, and personal friend and civil attorney Kent Mawhinney.
Gumienny, a project manager at Fotis Dulos’s construction company, first was revealed as a key source for investigators in September, when police brought a second round of hindering and tampering charges against Fotis Dulos and Troconis. Suspicious on learning that Jennifer Dulos had gone missing, Gumienny went against Fotis Dulos’s demands, preserving the blood-stained back seats of the Toyota Tacoma that his boss had taken without his knowledge (a forensic lab would find a fabric swatch to have DNA matching that of Jennifer Dulos).
The arrest warrant applications made public last week shed more light on Gumienny’s very important role. They show that Gumienny not only volunteered to help investigators in their work—though Fotis Dulos tried to intimidate him—but also that much of what he saw and heard in the hours and days that followed the murder came to take on important new meaning as he realized what had happened.
For example, Gumienny told investigators that Fotis Dulos had asked him months before the murder—in the fall of 2018 or early 2019—to repair the vintage 10-speed bicycle that a disguised Fotis Dulos could be seen cycling along Weed Street on the morning of May 24, according to Kimball’s arrest warrant application.
“Video from a residential surveillance system showed a person riding a bicycle in a northwest direction along Weed Street,” Kimball said. “The cyclist appears to be dressed in all dark clothing with a hood pulled down low to hide their face.”
And Gumienny himself didn’t recognize the blue hoodie and red pail that Fotis Dulos had left behind when he found them in the Tacoma as it was parked in the driveway of a Farmington mansion built by the Fore Group, Kimball said in the affidavit.
“Assuming the items belonged to [Fotis] Dulos, Gumienny brought the items into the house and left them in the laundry room,” Kimball said in the affidavit. (It isn’t clear whether investigators recovered those items.)
Hours after the murder, Gumienny appears to have come upon Fotis Dulos and Troconis as they started or tried to have sex while leaned up against his pickup truck—the very vehicle used to ferry her dead body up from New Canaan.
Police learned of the incident from Troconis herself, during one of three interviews that investigators conducted last summer.
When Gumienny arrived at the Mountain Spring Road home around 5 p.m., “she and Dulos had been standing up against the Toyota Tacoma’s passenger side,” Kimball wrote in his affidavit.
Quoting from Troconis herself, the affidavit continued, “ ‘Fotis [Dulos] and I were against the car. The Tacoma. Fotis was like behind me. Like physical contact. Pawel [Gumienny] arrives. I think Pawel or Fotis says I didn’t see anything, or we weren’t doing anything. I think something like a joke.’ When asked to explain her meaning, Troconis answered, ‘Like … yeah … we were making…” Troconis appeared to be saying that Gumienny’s arrival interrupted Dulos and Troconis from engaging in sex alongside the passenger side of the Toyota.”
Gumienny’s description is more modest, according to Kimball’s affidavit. On arriving at the Farmington mansion, “he saw both Troconis and Dulos in the driveway,” Kimball said.
“He reported they both looked ‘surprised’ to see him. Gumienny asked Dulos what they were doing, and he reported they were ‘cleaning’—Dulos reported Troconis was cleaning windows while he was ‘cleaning some stuff up outside.’ Gumienny reported he noticed Dulos and Troconis were not holding any cleaning products and there were no products near the vehicles.”
He provided the information in “multiple voluntary interviews with investigators” that lasted several hours, just as he had provided the Tacoma seats voluntarily to investigators, Kimball said in the arrest warrant applications.
Fotis Dulos also lied to Gumienny as part of an alibi that investigators picked up, telling him not to stop by the Fore Group’s home offices on the morning of May 24 “because Dulos was having a meeting with his divorce lawyer” there.
Gumienny didn’t learn about Jennifer Dulos’s disappearance until two days after what police now have established as her murder. Fotis Dulos himself told Gumienny on May 26 that she’d gone missing and asked when he would be returning to work, since the next day was Memorial Day, according to Kimball’s affidavit.
“When Gumienny arrived at work on 5/28/19, he walked into Dulos’s kitchen and handed him the key to his Toyota, as he would be using a Fore Group vehicle for the work week,” the affidavit said. “Dulos asked Gumienny where he was on Friday, which Gumienny found to be a strange question because he knew here Gumienny was—he was working at the 61 Sturbridge Hill Road job site in New Canaan as Dulos had told him to do. Dulos told Gumienny that police had seized his phone and he asked to see Gumienny’s phone because he wanted to check to see if Gumienny had called him during the early portion of Friday.”
At one point as Fotis Dulos questioned him, Gumienny mentioned that Troconis had been involved in an attempt to prevent him from having access to his own Toyota Tacoma on the afternoon of May 24, by withholding its sole key from him.
“Dulos told Gumienny there was ‘no reason to bring Michelle into this, and to leave that part out,’ ” Kimball said. “Gumienny took that to mean Dulos was telling him not to tell police about Troconis having possession of the Toyota key.”
Fotis Dulos would go much further in his admonitions for Gumienny with respect to police.
Though Gumienny said he had considered Fotis Dulos a friend, he also said that his boss threatened him if he talked to authorities.
“Gumienny explained Dulos told him he would get in trouble if he talked to police because Gumienny only had a ‘Green Card’—a Permanent Resident Card,” Kimball said in the arrest warrant application.
Fotis Dulos has pleaded not guilty to murder, felony murder and kidnapping, and has been released on $6 million bond.