Nine months after 51-year-old Gretchen Anthony went missing under suspicious circumstances, Jupiter, Florida police say they believe they have found her remains. Her estranged husband, David Anthony, 44, plead to second-degree murder and kidnapping on December 21 and told them where he’d hid her body, according to the Jupiter Police Department.
The case raised red flags back in late March when four people close to the woman supposedly received text messages from her saying she was hospitalized with COVID-19 and was being held by the “CDC”, according to the arrest affidavit.
Each of those witnesses called the police in the following days after not being able to reach Gretchen, and, at least two of them told officers that they were concerned about her because she’d filed for divorce from David about three weeks earlier on February 28, per the arrest report.
They said the texts didn’t sound like something she would send, and one witness told police that “David Anthony had ‘issues’ and she was afraid that he may have done something to Gretchen Anthony, based on prior knowledge of his behaviors,” according to the affidavit.
One of such behaviors that the witness was referring to may have been how he was arrested on March 15, just about a week before Gretchen went missing, for resisting arrest with violence after an undercover police officer says he spotted David approaching young girls outside The Two Drunken Goats restaurant in Riviera Beach.
According to that probable cause affidavit, it was 10:30 in the evening when the officer said he saw David “wearing a multi-colored camo type jacket and blue jeans acting suspiciously by approaching young girls (approximately 15 years of age), pacing back and forth and sweating profusely.”
The officer also said there was tape on the license plate meant to alter the way the numbers looked, changing a 6 to an 8. Eventually, the situation escalated to David ignoring police commands and rifling for something in his car, at which time the officer pulled his gun on David and arrested him, according to the narrative in the arrest affidavit.
In subsequent texts between David and one of the witnesses who received the odd texts from Gretchen’s phone, David mentioned the arrest and said he’d seen Gretchen on March 21, the same day neighbors reported hearing a woman’s screams in the early morning hours in their neighborhood. More on that soon.
According to the arrest affidavit, David texted the witness who asked if he’d seen or heard from Gretchen on March 25, saying, “Ran into her randomly Sat a.m. She mentioned something about going to 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. Haven’t spoken to her since. Why? Is everything okay?…”
The witness replied, “All we know is that she is saying she’s at a CDC facility because she has the virus … something doesn’t seem right.”
Investigators checked with local hospitals and none had a record of Gretchen Anthony being admitted with COVID-19, according to the arrest report.
Neighbors Say They Heard a Woman’s ‘Bloodcurdling’ Screams in the Early Morning Hours of March 21
Police investigated Gretchen’s home after reports from her friends and family about the strange texts from her and found reason to deem it a crime scene. According to investigators, a neighbor approached them asking if they were there about “the attack that happened Saturday morning.”
The arrest affidavit says that the neighbor told police she heard a “woman’s voice let out a bloodcurdling scream.” The neighbor said the voice said, “No! No, it Hurts!”
Another of Gretchen’s neighbors also reported hearing “a female screaming very loudly.”
It appears none of the neighbors who heard those screams called police, but they did see a truck parked at Gretchen’s home that morning and coming and going in the days after with the bed loaded with items and covered with a tarp. The first neighbor even took a photo of the license plate, which turned out to belong to David, detectives said.
Neighbors also reported it seemed someone was cleaning something in the garage in the day or two after the screaming was heard, as a white liquid was seeping out from under the garage door. Investigators reported finding blood spatter, two bottles of cleaner on the kitchen counter, broken glass and washed towels that appeared to have bloodstains on them all inside the home.
Police say cadaver dogs picked up scents on the garage floor where blood was subsequently found, and in Gretchen’s car, which was found parked at Jupiter Medical Center. The arrest affidavit says that video surveillance shows a tall man parking Gretchen’s blue mini cooper at the medical center and then leaving on foot.
But perhaps the most incriminating evidence was the surveillance footage from Gretchen’s home.
‘What Are You Doing?’ Was Heard on the Surveillance Video When David Showed Up At Gretchen’s House around 6 a.m.
Police say video surveillance taken from Gretchen’s home shows a man identified by a witness as David showing up on Gretchen’s front screened-in porch on the morning of March 21 a little after 6 a.m. He was “carrying an unknown object,” as he spent minutes on the porch alone, “manipulating” the unknown object, and finally walks to a dark corner of the porch at 6:09 a.m.
At 6:13 a.m. a woman identified as Gretchen by a witness who was shown a still photo of the video comes out to the porch. The footage shows in that same minute, “the victim is no longer standing outside of the residence, there is muffled yelling heard as the victim appears to be moved toward the garage entrance door,” the affidavit says.
Then at about 6:14 a.m. the words, “What are you doing?” are heard on the recording, per the police report.
Nothing else is seen until 6:50 a.m. when David, who is 6’7 according to the arrest affidavit, appears again, alone, on the screened-in porch.
Police said in the arrest report that much later — nearly midnight — new footage points to the camera being taken down and brought into the garage. In this footage, police said there was a 5-gallon water jug with a “bloodlike substance on it. In the shot, next to the water jug was a blood-soaked head of light-colored hair which was not moving.”
David Suggested to Police That Gretchen’s Ex-Husband Might Have Wanted to Harm Her & She Was in Fear for Her Life Because She Was Uncovering Fraud at Her Job, Meanwhile, He Pawned Women’s Jewelry
After Gretchen’s friends and family were getting texts from her phone alleging she was hospitalized with COVID-19, and police were investigating her disappearance, David came up with another story for the police.
According to the arrest affidavit, he called Jupiter Police’s Detective Kennerson on March 30 to say that he’d spoken with Gretchen just that day. David said she was still being treated for COVID-19, but she’d prepared a statement, and that she had “uncovered illegal federal tax fraud at her employer,” and was beginning the process of being a whistleblower. David went on to tell the detective that Gretchen was “terrified for her life and someone was sent to hurt her the other weekend,” per the affidavit.
David told Kennerson Gretchen thought it may have been her ex-husband, and that she wanted police to ask her friends and family about him. He ended the conversation by saying Gretchen wanted her friends and family to know she loved them but “this was all of the information that Gretchen was willing to share,” the police report says.
The same day that Kennerson got the call from David, he received another call from a jewelry store owner in Pensacola who said they’d bought several pieces of women’s jewelry from David on March 25. According to that witness, David told her the jewelry belonged to his mother who died of COVID-19. Investigators say David provided the jewelry store owner with his identification and that a check made out to David for the jewelry had been cashed.
It was March 30 that police issued an arrest warrant for David, but he was not apprehended until May 7 when thanks to a national BOLO, or “be on the lookout” issued from Florida law enforcement, he was caught in Las Cruces, New Mexico and extradited back to Florida, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
The body of Gretchen had still never been found until December 21 after David took a plea deal saying he was guilty of the kidnapping and murder of his wife in exchange for a 38-year prison sentence. The deal was contingent on David telling police where he hid her body, and them finding it, per Jupiter Police.
According to the agency, they located remains where David described “in the area of Bush Road and Indiantown Road” that are “believed to be Gretchen,” but said a medical examiner will confirm it.
Police Chief Daniel Kerr said in a Facebook post, “We hope this will bring closure to the family now that Gretchen has been located.”
Gretchen leaves behind a young daughter who she called the love of her life.