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Florida man accused of killing wife, sending suspicious texts claiming she had coronavirus

Gretchen Anthony has yet to be found.
Credit: Jupiter Police Department

JUPITER, Fla. — It all started with a phone call to police about a "suspicious text" on March 25, leading to the arrest of a Florida man in New Mexico for the second-degree murder and kidnapping of his wife, according to police.

The Jupiter Police Department began investigating the disappearance of 51-year-old Gretchen Anthony on March 26 after her family reported her missing. She was last seen six days prior. 

Police say her husband, 43-year-old David Anthony was the last known person to have contact with her.

CBS affiliate WPEC-TV reports a witness called the police department saying they received a "suspicious text message" from Gretchen Anthony on March 23, saying she had the coronavirus and was being held by the "CDC" at Jupiter Medical Center. The witness had not heard from her since, according to police documents.

During the investigation, officers went to Gretchen Anthony's home, but no one answered and when they called the medical center, staff said there was no one there by that name. 

She hadn't been there since 2008, police were told.

That's when police say they found Gretchen Anthony's dark blue Mini Cooper sitting empty in the parking lot of the Jupiter Medical Center. 

According to the arrest report obtained by WPEC-TV, others reported receiving suspicious texts including similar comments to being treated for COVID-19 and that she had been sedated for treatment. Others said David Anthony had "issues" and they feared he may have done something to her.

The police even spoke to a friend of David Anthony, who said it was unlike Gretchen Anthony to stop sharing her location and the texts he was receiving from her number sounded like David Anthony.

Detectives began following more leads after they were unable to contact David Anthony. Gretchen Anthony's phone "pinged" in Pensacola, the same place her husband showed up and tried to sell women's jewelry, WPEC-TV reports.

The station also outlines two other witness instances listed in the police report.

The first was about a false text sent saying Gretchen Anthony was on life support at Palms West Hospital, but the second is more disturbing. 

Police revisited the house on March 26 when a neighbor asked if they were investigating "the attack that occurred Saturday morning," the station reports.

The neighbor said around 6 a.m. she heard a woman let out a "blood-curdling scream" and yell, "No! No, it hurts," from somewhere near the patio or garage of Gretchen Anthony's home. Others claim to have seen David Anthony's truck outside with the bed covered with a tarp and water mixed with unknown chemicals coming out from under the garage door. According to the police report, one was even able to place him with his wife the same morning neighbors heard screaming.

During a search of the home, police said they found cleaners, rags and towels that had a substance that looked like blood on them. They also found drops of blood, bleach stains on the floor and broken door frames and a key broken off in a lock.

Police also said a cadaver dog was used during the investigation at both Gretchen Anthony's home and in David Anthony's car. The dog alerted both times.

The police department reports this "further evidence" led to his arrest on March 31 in her disappearance. 

As for where police say they found him? New Mexico.

WPEC-TV reports documents show a man identifying himself as David Anthony called the police department, though the conversation is heavily redacted.

According to court documents, the couple filed for divorce in February, just shy of a month before Gretchen Anthony was reported missing. 

David Anthony first was arrested on March 15, for resisting an officer with violence. According to a police report, he was seen acting suspicious and approaching young girls, using tape to alter his license plate number. When approached by an officer, police said David Anthony was nervous and quickly reached under his seat causing an officer to draw their weapon. 

While detaining him, David Anthony jumped into the car and began slamming the door closed on another officer multiple times.

He posted bond two days before family members say they last saw Gretchen Anthony.

David Anthony ultimately was arrested for a second time on March 31; he currently is waiting to be extradited back to Palm Beach County.

Detectives are still actively trying to locate Gretchen Anthony. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Jupiter Police Department at 561-741-2235.

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