A Florida man is suspected of kidnapping and murdering his wife who he allegedly said had contracted the novel coronavirus, according to cops. David Anthony, was arrested in New Mexico in after fleeing his home in Jupiter, Florida, police said. Anthony, 43, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail around 1 a.m. Thursday on charges of second-degree murder and kidnapping.
Palm Beach County police say Anthony was arrested in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 31 following the March 21 killing of his wife, Gretchen.
Cops said that a witness told them “she heard a woman's voice let out a blood curdling scream" on March 21, the day Gretchen is suspected to have been killed, and witness heard a woman yelling "No! No it hurts!" coming from the household.
Another neighbor also told cops that same day “in the early morning hours, while it was still dark out, he too heard a female screaming very loudly," police said in a probable cause affidavit.
Gretchen's body has not been found.
Multiple witnesses received “odd” and “suspicious” text messages from Gretchen’s phone around March 23 and 24, police said in the affidavit. The messages indicate that she had an “acute case” of coronavirus and that after being discharged from Jupiter Medical Center, was being held by the “CDC” and had been “transported to a CDC approved task force in Belle Grande and that they had sedated her,” according to police.
But Jupiter Medical Center said this is not protocol and that she was not in the hospital. However, her blue Mini Cooper was found in the hospital parking lot, the affidavit said.
Other text messages sent after Gretchen was last seen alive said she was receiving medical attention from various facilities in Florida, but when reached by authorities, none could confirm Gretchen had been treated, according to the affidavit. Her insurance company also said no billing activity indicated she was receiving medical attention.
A witness told police David told them he also received text messages from his wife’s phone in that time period, the affidavit said.
Police said in the affidavit one witness told them that David had “issues” and said they were afraid he might have done something to his wife.
On March 24, one witness said that David told them that he was moving to Costa Rica and that Gretchen had been “quarantined” for 14 days, the affidavit said.
The same day Gretchen's phone was traced to near Pensacola, David was allegedly seen trying to sell women’s jewelry at a jewelry store in the area, the affidavit said. The store clerk told police that they do not buy jewelry and recalled a specific David Yurman ring being offered up for sale, cops said in the affidavit.
Surveillance video police said in the affidavit they viewed appeared to show David trying to sell items, including a ring. He was then seen returning to a truck that appeared to match the truck seen in David's driveway. One witness confirmed that Gretchen did own a David Yurman ring, the affidavit said.
Cops searched the Anthony residence and said they discovered bottles of cleaner, a rag and “towels that had a reddish substance on them that appeared to be blood." A broken glass frame was also found in the home, and "there also appeared to be small droplets of blood on the wall in the master bedroom," the affidavit said.
Surveillance footage taken from the Anthony residence allegedly showed that at one point “a blood soaked head of light colored hair" was seen not moving in the garage, the affidavit said. The footage also allegedly shows a man who resembles David walking around the garage, according to the report.
Following a warrant for his arrest, David was tracked down 1,900 miles away in New Mexico on March 30. His March 30 arrest report says he called a Jupiter police detective and said Gretchen was receiving treatment for the coronavirus.
He also claimed that his wife was involved in uncovering an IRS scam with her employer and people wanted her dead.
David was extradited to Florida Thursday. He appeared in a Palm Beach County court that morning and was denied bond by a judge, officials said. He is due back in court next month for a 30-day return and will appear in court again in July for the initial case conference, authorities said.
Anyone with information that can help detectives is asked to call the Jupiter Police Department at 561-741-2235.