The coronavirus has been responsible for a horrific number of deaths across the globe. One death associated with the virus, however, may not be all that it seems.
On March 25, a witness told police in Jupiter, Florida, about strange, coronavirus-related text messages from her friend Gretchen Anthony, 51. March 23 was reportedly the last time the witness had heard from her.
Based on the witness’ report, police launched an investigation that led them to Gretchen’s estranged husband, David Anthony.
Anthony, 43, was arrested in New Mexico on March 31 and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of Gretchen, WPEC reported. She was last seen at her home in Jupiter on March 20, according to the Jupiter Police Department.
Several of her other friends and family told police they also had received bizarre text messages from Gretchen explaining that she was hospitalized at the Jupiter Medical Center with COVID-19. Her messages explained that she was being held there by the CDC, according to WPEC.
NBC News reported that Gretchen’s mother received a strange message from her missing daughter, saying she was on a ventilator.
However, there were not any hospital or insurance records showing that Gretchen had ever been admitted for COVID-19 treatment.
According to iHeartRadio, a hospital surveillance video showed a “taller white male” driving her blue Mini Cooper into the parking lot of the hospital and leaving it there on March 24.
WPEC reported that when police arrived at Gretchen Anthony’s residence on March 26 to continue their investigation, a neighbor told them that around 6 a.m. on March 21, she had heard a “blood-curdling scream.” She also said she had heard a woman scream “No! No it hurts!” from either the garage or the patio of the victim’s home.
Another neighbor said he had heard the same unsettling screams that morning, and noticed David’s black truck parked on the road with a tarp covering the bed.
He added that the next day somebody was cleaning up inside Gretchen’s closed garage. He said that there was water “mixed with an unknown chemical” draining from the garage into a nearby alley.
A different neighbor gave the police video footage of what looks like David’s truck leaving and coming back to the residence multiple times that same day.
One of the witnesses told police that she had had a text conversation with David on March 25 and asked him if he had seen or heard from Gretchen.
He told the witness that he “ran into her randomly Sat am. She mentioned something about going to the beach to ground herself bc she wasn’t feeling well. Then she proceeded to tell me I should ‘plead insanity’ on some bogus police charges I’ve been dealing with.”
This information directly placed David with Gretchen the morning of her disappearance.
While police searched the house they discovered blood on the walls of the master bedroom, broken glass on the stairs, towels in the washing machine with a “reddish substance” on them and cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
Police returned the next day with a K-9 that alerted them to blood on the garage floor — where officers had found bleach stains the previous day.
Investigators also noticed that David’s and Gretchen’s cell phone numbers were both pinging from the same geographic area in Texas.
Additionally, police received a phone call from a Pensacola man on March 30 who told them he had purchased some jewelry from David five days earlier. David had apparently told him the jewelry belonged to either his “mother or stepmother” who had died from COVID-19.
Based on the investigation, police felt they had adequate information to make an arrest.
“On March 26, 2020 the Jupiter Police Department responded to the residence of Gretchen Anthony after members of her family reported her missing. As the investigation progressed and further evidence collected, it is believed David E. Anthony is responsible for her disappearance and related homicide which was determined to have occurred on March 21, 2020,” The Jupiter Police Department wrote on Facebook on April 7.
David is currently being held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at Doña Ana County Detention Center without bail where he is waiting to be extradited to Florida.
Gretchen’s body has not yet been located.
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