JUPITER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida man is accused of using the coronavirus to cover up the murder of his estranged wife.
David Anthony, 43, of Jupiter was arrested 1,900 miles away in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 31 and was extradited back to South Florida late Wednesday night, according to a statement from the Jupiter Police Department.
Anthony is charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Gretchen Anthony, 51, who has been missing since March 20. Her body has not been found.
Police began investigating Gretchen’s disappearance in March after neighbors reported hearing a “blood-curdling scream” from their home. A witness reported seeing an empty black truck running in the driveway with a tarp covering the bed of the truck, police said.
Police said Anthony had sent texts from Gretchen’s smartphone, telling people she had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in the hospital. But the hospital, Jupiter Medical Center had no record of Gretchen Anthony in their system, police said.
According to police, at least five people received suspicious text messages. One old police the couple was separated and had filed for divorce in February. Another said she was worried David had done something to Gretchen.
Officers searched the Anthony’s home and found two bottles of cleaner, a rag on the kitchen counter, and a broken glass frame on the upstairs landing. There were small pieces of glass on the comforter on their bed and there “appeared to be small droplets of blood on the wall in the master bedroom,” police said in the arrest report.
Officers later found Gretchen’s blue Mini Cooper in a parking lot near Old Dixie Highway.
On the day she disappeared, security cameras captured a tall man standing in their screened-in porch carrying an unknown object. Police said Gretchen was seen walking out to the porch and they heard “muffled yelling.”
On March 25, Gretchen’s phone pinged signals from a tower in Pensacola. Police said her husband was there that day to sell a bag of women’s jewelry at a jewelry store.
Police said Anthony called a detective on March 30 and said his wife was receiving treatment for COVID-19. He also claimed his wife had reported her employer to the IRS, accusing them of tax fraud. He said she was “terrified for her life and someone was sent to her house to hurt her the other weekend,” the arrest report states.
After issuing an arrest warrant, police tracked Anthony down in New Mexico.
After he was extradited back to Florida on Wednesday, Anthony was denied bond and ordered to have no contact with the victim’s family or witnesses.
Jupiter police are asking anyone with information on the case to call detectives at 561-741-2235.