Heather Gemina's remains were found last Friday, nearly two months after she went missing

By Jeff Truesdell
September 11, 2019 11:04 AM
El Dorado County Sheriff's Office

Days after finding the apparent remains of a California mom missing for nearly two months, authorities allege her husband killed her because she was a “witness to a crime” and he wanted to stop her from testifying.

Authorities did not reveal what alleged crime 33-year-old Heather Gumina had observed, or where or how she was killed, in a document filed in El Dorado County Superior Court and obtained by PEOPLE.

But the four-page criminal complaint lists multiple felony convictions for the suspect, 44-year-old Anthony Gumina, including those for selling and possessing methamphetamine, and alleges that “Heather Gumina was a witness to a crime and was intentionally killed to prevent her from testifying in a criminal proceeding,” according to the document.

Heather, a mother of three, was killed on or about July 16, according to the document. That’s the same day she was last seen in the Pleasant Valley area following her release from a hospital, where she was treated for a broken collarbone.

Anthony made his initial court appearance Tuesday on the homicide charge following his arrest Friday, when he was initially picked up on an outstanding warrant on a domestic violence charge. His formal arraignment was set for Sept. 24, reports KCRA and KTXL.

His attorney was not identified.

Anthony Gumina

Authorities on Friday “located what is believed to be the remains of Heather Gumina” on the same day they arrested the suspect, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post.

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The sheriff’s office went public July 19 seeking help with the search for Heather, and on August 9 announced that her abandoned 2005 black Infiniti G35 had been found.

Supervisor Says Victim Was ‘Positive Person’

Jennette Waldow, who owns the Apple Bistro restaurant in Placerville where Heather worked as a waitress, was shocked by the unfolding events and the arrest of Heather’s husband of four months.

“She kept her personal stuff kind of to the side,” Waldow tells PEOPLE. “No matter what was going on, she was always a positive person. Even if she seemed a little sad, she did a wonderful job, nobody knew.”

“She had told me some stories of the past about some things that had happened, but you know … I didn’t notice anything wrong,” says Waldow. “She was very happy.”

Even after the broken collarbone incident — Heather told Waldow that she tripped and fell — “she just kind of brushed it off,” says Waldow. “She was joking around about how she might come in and work.”

Earlier this year, according to court documents cited by KTXL, Anthony was charged after allegedly head-butting and tackling Heather as she held her 4-year-old son. The documents also alleged he kicked in doors and forcibly took phones from her so she couldn’t call 911.

“I just wish she would have confided in me more,” says Waldow. “Sometimes I think people are embarrassed by those kinds of things. … People need to realize it’s not an embarrassing thing. If you need help, you should say something.”

After upgrading the arrest of Anthony to a charge of first-degree homicide, the sheriff’s office has declined to release any other information “to protect the integrity of this homicide investigation,” according to the agency’s statement on social media.

Jail records show Anthony is being held without bond in the El Dorado County jail.