CT dentist was ‘lying in wait’ for victim

A dentist from Branford who police say fatally shot a 21-year-old with whom he had a relationship was lying in wait for her, a police official said Tuesday.

Dr. Michael Mollow, 59, shot Caroline Anne Ashworth multiple times about 9:30 p.m. Saturday after she pulled into a condominium complex on Mountain Laurel Drive, police said. He then turned the gun on himself.

“It sounds like they were broken up, she was driving his vehicle,” Chief Rafael Medina said. “We believe that she was meeting another person. He was lying in wait.”

The new detail comes after a weekend that included a second shocking murder-suicide that police said also involved a professional pulling the trigger — a police sergeant.

About 20 hours after Ashworth’s and Mollow’s deaths, Avon police Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” Jacius fatally shot his wife, Doreen Jacius, in their East Granby home, police said. He, too, then took his own life.

Doreen Jacius was East Granby’s well-liked library director; the library is closed while townspeople mourn their loss. Dozens turned out for a vigil Monday evening in her honor.

The library’s staff and board of directors released a statement saying they are “shocked and devastated by the sudden loss.” Doreen Jacius was “beloved by us and the community,” they said.

Thomas Jacius had worked at the Avon Police Department nearly 24 years. An avid bicyclist, he started the department’s bike patrol program.

Mollow graduated from Tufts Dental School in Boston in 1988 and joined North Branford Dental Group in 1997, according to the practice’s website. He enjoyed skiing, sailing, golf and spending time with his family.

Caroline Ashworth is originally from Houston but has recently lived with Mollow on West Haycock Point Road in Branford, public records show. Mollow and his wife were divorced in 2021.

Ashworth posted pictures of herself on the beach and aboard a boat on Instagram, but there are no recent pictures of her with Mollow.

On April 19, she posted a quote from author Gary Chapman on Facebook: “Your most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. You need to be loved by someone who chooses to love you, who sees in you something worth loving.”

Medina said it appears the two have had trouble in their relationship lately. There is nothing illegal about their relationship despite the age difference of 38 years, he said, and “I don’t judge anyone.”

Caroline Ashworth and Doreen Jacius were the 8th and 9th victims of intimate partner violence in Connecticut this year, said Liza Andrews, director of public policy and communications at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Andrews said domestic violence affects people of all social strata, incomes and professions. The most dangerous time for victims is when they are trying to end a relationship.

“Domestic violence knows no boundaries, she said. “Domestic violence is about control, coercion, power. Anyone has the capability of experiencing that.”

It often happens behind closed doors and doesn’t lead to arrests, Andrews said. Victims sometimes are afraid to call police. “Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes,” she said.

Andrews said advocates are available for whatever victims need.

“If it’s listening, we’re here to listen. If it’s to hear what services are available, we’re here 24-7. They can call, talk with an advocate, try to get an outside read on their relationship.”

If you need help or just someone to talk to, advocates ask that you please visit CTSafeConnect.org or call or text 888-774-2900. Advocates are available 24/7.

Si necesitas información o si solo quieres conversar con alguien, por favor visite CTSafeConnect.org o llamada or texto 888-774-2900. Los consejeros estará disponible las 24 horas del día, los siete días de la semana.

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