Gretchen Anthony was last seen at her town-house home on Sunshine drive in Abacoa, Florida March 20, 2020.
The 51-year-old mother of one had filed for divorce from her husband, David Anthony, 43, on February 28, just a few weeks before she was last heard from. They had been married for around five years before the split and no longer lived together.
After March 20, Gretchen failed to respond to messages from loved ones who started to worry about her welfare and wondered about her whereabouts. Then, on the 23rd and 24th, friends and family began receiving messages from her phone, informing them that she had been hospitalized after contracting covid-19. The message stated that she would be in isolation for a least 2 weeks and was soon to be put on a ventilator. She had been transferred from Jupiter Medical Centre, the texts said, to a CDC approved task force over 50 miles away in Belle Glade.
Her loved ones were confused. Gretchen had no underlying medical issues and was in good health, keeping herself fit with daily yoga and exercise. The news that she had fallen so gravely ill in just a couple of days unnerved them. A friend of Gretchen contacted the missing woman’s husband by text relaying the information and voicing concerns that the situation didn’t feel right. He calmly responded saying he hadn’t heard from her since March 21, when he claimed to have seen her briefly on her way to the beach and said she mentioned that she hadn’t been feeling well.
“At this point, everyone is saying, well this is really strange, y’know? So, they called the police, things just didn’t look right” friend Jennifer Rogers would later tell ABC News.
But Gretchen Anthony was not in any medical facility, nor had she been checked into any hospital in the local area. On top of that, the CDC approved task force in Belle Glade mentioned in the messages sent from her cell phone didn’t even exist.
When police attempted to locate the phone, they discovered that the last time it had pinged it was in Pensacola, Florida, an eight-hour drive and 600 miles from the last place she was sighted at her Jupiter home.
Police discovered a vehicle registered to Gretchen Anthony in the Jupiter Medical Center parking lot and obtained security footage that showed David Anthony drive the vehicle there, get out and abandon it. Investigators found blood on the steering wheel and elsewhere in the car.
When they searched Gretchen’s home on March 25, there was a strong smell of bleach and cleaning chemicals emitting from the garage. It was clear that someone had attempted to scrub it clean and suspicion inevitably fell on the missing woman’s husband. Towels stained with what was reportedly believed to be blood were found in the home, areas lightened by bleach stained the rooms, and several areas with the presence of blood were noted. There was signs of a disturbance and broken glass was scattered in one part of the house. Cadaver dogs made a hit inside the house as well as inside David Anthony’s vehicle, indicating the presence of death.
Gretchen’s home was well equipped with security cameras, including one on her porch and one in the garage. When police checked the footage, they saw a tall male approach the door at around 6:15AM on March 20. When Gretchen answered the door, a verbal argument ensued. A voice could be heard asking “What are you doing?” and exclaiming “No, no it hurts!”
The second piece of footage from the garage again showed the tall male, who according to reports could be visually identified as David Anthony who is 6ft 7, reach up and take down the camera. He was wearing gloves and reports state that a woman or figure with light colored hair, thought to be Gretchen, could be seen in the background, as well as bloodstains in the surrounding area.
It appeared the victim’s husband had murdered her in her own home and drove her car to a nearby medical center to throw off anyone who went searching for her. He used the pandemic to his advantage, attempting to buy himself time by texting her friends and family from her phone claiming she had an acute case of Covid-19, while he attempted to clean the crime scene and dispose of the body.
Police were able to link David Anthony to the crime through the evidence they recovered during the investigation, and although it is not clear if Anthony admitted to murdering his wife, he did lead them to her body in exchange for second degree murder and kidnapping charges that would see him serve a 38-year sentence. The victim’s remains were discovered three miles from her home in Jupiter, around Bush Road and Indiantown Road.
The details of her murder and the nature of her death have not yet been disclosed.
David Anthony was arrested in connection with the murder of Gretchen Anthony in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 31. He was out walking his dog at the time of his arrest.
Investigation revealed that after allegedly killing his estranged wife he drove to Pensacola where he pawned her belongings, including her cell phone and jewelry.
After the news of her disappearance, a co-worker of David Anthony’s admitted that they had noticed a change in the 43-year-olds mood and had even suggested to Gretchen that she keep her distance, an exchange that still haunts them.