Florida man used COVID-19 quarantine rules to cover up his wife’s murder, police say

The 44-year-old is facing second-degree murder and kidnapping charges.

By Christina Carrega

A Florida man is under arrest for allegedly killing his wife and attempting to cover up the crime by using her cellphone to send text messages that appeared to come from her, telling family and friends that she was in quarantine after contracting the coronavirus, police said.

At least four family members, friends and neighbors of Gretchen Anthony received text messages from her around March 23 saying that after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, she was transported from the hospital into the custody of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further observation, according to the Jupiter Police Department report.

The Jupiter Medical Center told police and family members that Gretchen Anthony had not been a patient there since 2008, but that her car was parked in their lot with her purse in the front seat, according to the police report. The hospital also said that it was not their protocol for coronavirus patients “to get transported to a CDC approved task force,” according to the police report.

Family members called Jupiter Police on March 25 and reported the 51-year-old missing, expressing concern that her estranged husband, David Anthony, may have had something to do with her disappearance, according to police.

The couple mutually filed for divorce on Feb. 28, according to online records.

They lived separately, but family members told police that “David Anthony had ‘issues’ and [were] afraid that he may have done something to Gretchen Anthony, based on prior knowledge of his behavior,” the police report said.

A week before Gretchen Anthony went missing, David Anthony was allegedly seen by police approaching 15-year-old girls while “sweating profusely,” before altering his license plate with black electrical tape, according to the Riviera Beach Police Department report. When officers approached him about the license plate manipulation, he allegedly blamed it on his 12-year-old daughter and disobeyed orders to not go into his car.

As another police officer attempted to arrest David Anthony, he allegedly slammed the car door on the officer’s arm, according to the March 15 police report. He was arrested for resisting an officer with violence and released on $3,000 bail.

During the subsequent missing person investigation, Gretchen Anthony’s neighbor told police that on March 21 they heard a woman’s “blood curdling screams” along with shouts of “No! No, it hurts!” coming from Gretchen Anthony’s patio or garage. The neighbor also took photographs of a car that they saw backing into the driveway.

Police said the car belonged to David Anthony.

Investigators subsequently determined that Gretchen Anthony was killed on March 21 and named David Anthony as the prime suspect, Jupiter Police said on their Facebook page. Gretchen Anthony was last seen at work on March 20, “in good spirits,” according to the police report.

A neighbor told police that she last saw David Anthony on March 23 when he picked up his dog and asked her to watch his cat because Gretchen Anthony was in quarantine for 14 days, according to the police report.

Police searched the house and found towels soiled with reddish stains, small droplets of blood in the master bedroom, and large bleach stains on the floor of the garage.

Cellphones belonging to David and Gretchen Anthony pinged off a tower on March 27 in Texas. New Mexico State Police caught up with David Anthony on March 31 in Las Cruces and took him into custody.

Police said they have not found Gretchen Anthony’s body, nor have they located David Anthony’s black and white Husky dog that authorities said was frequently with his owner.

As of Tuesday David Anthony was in the Doña Ana County Detention Center awaiting extradition back to Palm Beach, Florida, where he faces second-degree murder and kidnapping charges. Attorney information was not provided in the jail records.

As a newly booked inmate, he was placed in 14-day isolation on April 2 in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

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