Residents in Connecticut town nervously wait as search for missing mom Jennifer Dulos drags into day 8

NEW CANAAN, Conn.-- Residents in an affluent Connecticut town rocked by the disappearance of a mother of five tried to keep it "business as usual" Saturday despite grim reminders that things may never be the same again.

Saturday marks the eighth day without a word from Jennifer Dulos, whose mysterious disappearance has triggered an intense search stretching across multiple counties in Connecticut and New York.


Authorities said they found traces of blood and other evidence leading them to believe Dulos was the victim of a violent crime but as of Saturday morning, no body had been found, no arrests had been made and the bucolic town where she's lived for the past two years remained on edge.

"Stuff like this doesn't happen here," Leila Roxo, an associate at LoLo Bag, an accessories boutique in New Canaan, told Fox News. "It's a really quiet and safe town. Parents are ok just dropping off their kids and letting them walk around town, eat, have ice cream, buy something and then picking them up. It's pretty safe."

Roxo, who has a 6-year-old daughter, said she worries most about Dulos's children and the scars they may carry from their mother's disappearance.

"The 8-year-old is definitely going to remember some stuff," Roxo said. "I don't know how far apart the other ones are but I have a 6-year-old and I feel like if this were to happen to her, she'd definitely remember."


Outside Groove, another teen-friendly shop, a group of girls openly discussed how the disappearance affected them.

"My mom freaked because I didn't answer my phone," one said.  "Everyone in this town is losing their mind."

Another added: "My mom's trying to put us on lockdown. She keeps calling every three minutes and acts like there's some guy running up and down Elm (Street) snatching people."

The disappearance has many in the tiny town playing dime-store detective. 

"Oh, we all know who did it," Jennifer Wattea, a patron at Rosie's restaurant, told Fox News. "We have a theory. So does everyone here but we can't prove anything yet."

As Wattea ran through a Matlock-like scenario of what might have happened, New Canaan police spent the week hunting down actual leads.


Dulos, a 50-year-old brunette, was last seen driving a black Chevy Suburban eight days ago when she dropped her kids off at their private school.

"We are heartbroken about her disappearance and are praying for her safe return," New Canaan County School spokeswoman Brooke Arthur told Fox News. "We have been in contact with her family and are supporting them and our school community as the search continues."

Dulos' car was found behind Waveny Park -- a popular 250-acre parkland that has jogging trails as well as picnic areas, soccer, baseball and softball fields.

Police swarmed the park, searching with K-9s, drones and at one point a New York state police helicopter. They also zeroed in on a high grassy area and a shallow pond about 3 feet deep, Steve Benko, the town's director of recreation, said.

On Friday, authorities spent three hours handing out flyers that featured a picture of Dulos and her black Suburban.

On Thursday night, members of the close-knit New Canaan community held a vigil for Dulos at St. Aloysius Parish where almost 200 people gathered in the drizzling rain for the half-hour service.

“We could be wondering, we could be speculating, we could be guessing,” Father Rob Kinnally, the St. Aloysius pastor, said. “But it is best that we are praying.”

The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Dulos have taken an ominous turn in recent days. She and her estranged husband Fotis Dulos, a custom home builder raised in Greece, have been locked in a tumultuous custody battle over the couple's children, who range in age from 8 to 13.

According to court documents, Dulos said she was "terrified for (her) family's safety, especially since discovering the gun, since my husband has a history of controlling, volatile and delusional behavior." She also accused her husband of 13 years of threatening to kidnap their children and take them to Greece.

Fotis Dulos has strongly pushed back on those allegations, said he turned in his handgun to the Farmington police and claimed it was his wife who was the unfit parent. He also said Dulos had mental health issues and said at one point she had verbally attacked and called her husband names in front of guests.

On Friday, Fotis Dulos dodged reporters outside his home in Farmington, Conn., about two hours away from New Canaan. The Fox News investigative team tracked down a neighbor at the family's former address in Avon, Conn., who said that while the couple seemed nice, most people in town questioned their lavish lifestyle and wealth.

Fotis had apparently been buying land in the area and building houses and other developments on it.


"Everyone wondered where they got their money from," the neighbor said. "They built this street and started building on a lot of property. Everyone thinks he got the money from her father."

As accusations linger, close friends and family said Friday they remained hopeful she would be found.

"We miss her beyond measure — her five young children, her family, her friends, colleagues and neighbors, as well as countless people who have never met her but who have responded to the spirit of grace and kindness that Jennifer embodies," spokesperson Carrie Luft said in a statement. "The support and love, the concern for her children and the community efforts to help locate Jennifer have kept us going."

Fox News' Perry Chiaramonte contributed to this report.