John Poulos murder case: Estranged wife speaks out on 'abusive' relationship, 'horrific' divorce process and 'abandoned' children
FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The estranged wife of a Wisconsin man, who is accused of murdering his Colombian girlfriend, said their marriage was, "abusive" and is, "deeply saddened" for the family of the woman at the center of the tragedy.
In a statement to CBS 58 sent by her attorney, Ashley Poulos shared details of the marriage, which began in 2009.
The two lived in Franklin and had three children.
According to Ashley, their oldest child battled cancer at the age of four. That led to the family asking the office of former House Speaker Paul Ryan for help in getting FDA approval for a new treatment for the cancer. Ryan's office was able to help and in 2018, the family was invited as the Speaker's guests to the State of the Union.
But the relationship took a dark turn afterwards, according to Ashley Poulos.
"The relationship between John and I was abusive, which led me to file for divorce in 2021," Poulos said in a statement. "Shortly before I filed for divorce, John transferred our entire marital estate to an offshore trust leaving the family with nothing."
Ashley claims John left the U.S. to travel to several countries in Europe, eventually establishing residence in Texas.
"John abandoned his children and has not seen them in person since he left Wisconsin in January 2021," Ashley went on to say. "His actions have led to a horrific divorce process which is still on-going."
According to Ashley Poulos, John claimed to be a 'sovereign citizen' in order to not pay legal fees and instead place the burden of cost solely on Ashley.
Milwaukee County Court records reflect the divorce was filed in January of 2021. According to those records, a bench warrant was issued for John Poulos on Jan. 31 of this year.
"I was not aware of this double life he was leading," Ashley said of John's travels to Colombia.
She added she is, "deeply saddened for the family of Valentina Trespalacios and for all those involved in this tragedy."
The Poulos family attended church at Victory of the Lamb in Franklin.
The lead pastor at Victory of the Lamb, Bill Limmer, sent CBS 58 a statement regarding the developments with John Poulos.
"We are aware of the horrific murder of Valentina Trespalacios," Limmer said in the statement. Our hearts are troubled and grieving along with her family and friends. We lean on Psalm 34:18 that reminds us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We are praying for justice, grace, and healing through Jesus for everyone involved."
The full statement from Ashley Poulos is below:
There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding John and his family here in the United States and I feel it is necessary that the correct information is reported.
John and I were married in 2009 and have three amazing children. Our oldest battled cancer at the age of four. The relationship between John and I was abusive, which led me to file for divorce in 2021. Shortly before I filed for divorce, John transferred our entire marital estate to an offshore trust leaving the family with nothing. Shortly after establishing the trust, John left the United States living in several European Countries including Cyprus, Turkey and Ukraine. Most recently, I was made aware that he was vacationing in Columbia while working and establishing a residence in Texas. John abandoned his children and has not seen them in person since he left Wisconsin in January, 2021. His actions have led to a horrific divorce process which is still on-going. John has represented himself as a “sovereign citizen” throughout the divorce process incurring no legal fees himself but causing me to incur thousands of dollars in attorney and guardian ad litem fees. Despite being ordered to pay child support, he has refused to do so. Just yesterday, the judge in our pending divorce case issued a bench warrant for his arrest. While I knew that John was in Columbia for the past few months, through social media posts, I was not aware of this double life he was leading.
I am deeply saddened for the family of Valentina Trespalacios and for all those involved in this tragedy. I further request that the privacy of myself and my children are respected as we navigate this process.
I will make no further comment.