Jennifer Dulos' mother granted custody of her children as her whereabouts still remain unknown

The mother of missing Connecticut woman Jennifer Dulos has been given custody of her five children, a judge has ruled, saying that “it would be harmful to them to be removed from her care.”

The decision Thursday comes as police are continuing to follow up on leads in the search for the 50-year-old New Canaan resident last seen May 24 dropping her children off at school. Her estranged husband Fotis Dulos has denied having anything to do with her disappearance, despite investigators accusing him and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, of disposing items that contained his wife’s blood.

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This undated photo on a missing persons flier provided by the New Canaan Police Department shows Jennifer Dulos, missing since May 2019. Two months after the mother of five vanished in Connecticut, authorities said they're following up on more than 1,200 tips and leads. (AP/New Canaan Police Department)

This undated photo on a missing persons flier provided by the New Canaan Police Department shows Jennifer Dulos, missing since May 2019. Two months after the mother of five vanished in Connecticut, authorities said they're following up on more than 1,200 tips and leads. (AP/New Canaan Police Department)

Jennifer and Fotis Dulos had been locked in a custody battle for their children prior to her disappearance, and they have been staying in New York City with their grandmother, Gloria Farber, ever since.

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“Ms. Farber has acted as a parent to the children since [Jennifer] disappeared on May 24, 2019,” Judge Donna Heller wrote in her ruling, according to Fox61. “Their safety and security have been paramount. They are emotionally bonded to her. It would be harmful to them to be removed from her care.”

Norman Pattis, Fotis’ attorney, issued a statement in response saying that “Fotis misses his children deeply.

“The irresponsible manner in which the state has proceeded against him is costing his children the chance for a real relationship with a man who loves them deeply,” Pattis added, according to NBC New York. “This is a travesty of justice. We are evaluating his appellate options.”

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Fotis, who has been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution, is set to appear in court again next Friday.