When police went inside the home they found towels with "a reddish substance on them that appeared to be blood" in the washing machine

By Robyn Merrett
April 10, 2020 10:55 PM
David Anthony, Gretchen Anthony
David Anthony, at left, and Gretchen Anthony

Just days before Florida woman Gretchen Anthony — whose estranged husband David Anthony is accused of kidnapping and murdering her — was reported missing, a “suspicious text message” was sent out, claiming that she had COVID-19 and that she was being held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On March 25, Jupiter Police Department received a call from a witness, who said that Gretchen, 51, had texted them on March 23, CBS 12 reported.

The next day, another text was sent out, allegedly from Gretchen, explaining that she had an “acute case” of coronavirus and was being transported from Jupiter Medical Center to a “CDC approved task force in Belle Glade,” Palm Beach Post reported.

That center, however, does not exist, according to the news outlet.

The messages, allegedly from Gretchen, continued to flow in, and on March 26, recipients learned that Gretchen was being placed on a ventilator, Palm Beach Post reported.

When family and friends called Jupiter Medical Center there was no report of her ever being admitted.

On March 26, Gretchen’s family reported her missing. She was last seen on March 20.

RELATED: Fla. Wife Still Missing Weeks After Filing Divorce Petition with Husband, Who’s Charged with MurderAt the time, the couple was in the midst of a divorce that they jointly sought with a court filing on February 28, reported the Palm Beach Post.

When police arrived at Anthony’s home on March 26, one neighbor asked if they were investigating “the attack that occurred Saturday morning,” Palm Beach Post reported.

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When police went inside the home they found towels with “a reddish substance on them that appeared to be blood” in the washing machine.

They later searched the garage and found a fresh bleach stain on the floor, Palm Beach Post reported.

A cadaver dog trained to detect the smell of decomposition picked up a scent inside Gretchen’s home. The investigation also turned up Gretchen’s abandoned Mini Cooper in the parking lot of the Jupiter Medical Center.

Then on March 27, signals coming from both David and Gretchen’s phones were picked up in Texas, according to police, Palm Beach Post reported.

When David, 43, was located and arrested March 31 about 1,900 miles away in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a second cadaver dog alerted on David’s 2016 black Nissan Frontier pickup, police said. It was unclear what led police to him.

Citing “further evidence,” police said “it is believed David E. Anthony is responsible for her disappearance and related homicide which was determined to have occurred on March 21.”

David was charged with kidnapping and second-degree murder and remains in a New Mexico jail awaiting extradition to Florida where he will be required to enter a plea. An attorney who might speak on his behalf was not identified.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the couple were married in March 2015.

Two days before Gretchen was last seen, David bonded out of jail after being detained in Riviera Beach on a charge of violently resisting arrest, the newspaper reports. The bond included the requirement that he not leave Palm Beach County.

Authorities seeking help say they believe David’s pickup truck, to which he occasionally affixed a magnetic sticker reading “FPL” on the side, or Gretchen’s dark blue Mini Cooper may have been used in the alleged kidnapping and presumed murder, and ask anyone with information or who may have seen the vehicles to call police at 561-741-2235.