Suspicious texts claimed a missing woman had coronavirus. Then, police arrested her husband on murder charges.

Suspicious texts claimed a missing woman had coronavirus. Then, police arrested her husband on murder charges.

4/10/2020 2:36:00 PM

Suspicious texts claimed a missing woman had coronavirus. Then, police arrested her husband on murder charges.

A relative alerted police after receiving suspicious texts that claimed she had been hospitalized for an acute case of covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

April 10, 2020 at 6:09 AM EDTWhen police showed up to their home near Jupiter, Fla., on March 26, neither Gretchen Anthony, nor her husband, David Ethan Anthony, answered the door.The officers were searching for the 51-year-old wife after her relatives reported suspicious text messages sent from her phone that claimed she had a severe case of covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel

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coronavirus. One text said she had been admitted to a local clinic and was being “held” there by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, police said. Another said Gretchen had been transferred to a hospital and placed on a ventilator.But when family members phoned the clinic and hospital for more information, staff told them nobody named Gretchen Anthony had been admitted to either medical facility in recent days, according to a police report obtained by several local news outlets. When she couldn’t be found, a relative reported Gretchen missing and alerted police about the suspicious texts.

ADADAlmost two weeks later, her 43-year-old husband was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges. On Thursday, police released more information about the alleged plot to obscure Gretchen’s disappearance by pretending she was in the hospital with a severe case of covid-19. The Jupiter Police Department said officers are still searching for Gretchen.

The couple had filed for divorce in February, according to a court filing reviewed by The Washington Post, and the husband had an odd scrape with the law about a week before his wife disappeared.Anthony’s alleged strange behavior began last month, when police in a neighboring town watched him approach a group of teenage girls while “pacing back and forth and sweating profusely,” according to a Riviera Beach police report obtained by The Post.

ADAn officer noticed his license plate had been tampered with using black electrical tape to alter the numbers on the tag, police said. When questioned about the tape, he blamed his 12-year-old stepdaughter and tried to leave.ADThe officer held him at gunpoint after Anthony tried to grab something beneath the driver’s seat. When another officer tried to handcuff him, Anthony repeatedly slammed his car door on the cop’s arm, according to the report. He was arrested on March 14 for resisting an officer with violence and posted bail four days later, according to court records.

On the morning after Gretchen was last seen in her home, neighbors heard a bloodcurdling scream around 6 a.m.ADNo! No, it hurts,” a neighbor recalled hearing a woman shout on March 21, according to a police report obtained by several local news outlets. A couple days later, another neighbor had noticed someone apparently scrubbing down the inside of the Anthonys’ closed garage with a chemical cleaner and water,

WPEC reported.Over the few days, neighbors saw a black pickup truck parked near the Anthonys’ home, covered with a tarp to obscure the bed, and the strange text messages were sent from Gretchen Anthony’s phone.ADOne witness texted her husband to ask if he had seen Gretchen on the same day that neighbors heard screaming coming from the couple’s garage. His reply didn’t match the texts about her being treated for covid-19.

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AD“She mentioned something about going to beach to ground herself bc she wasn’t feeling well,” he texted the witness,WPECreported. “Then she proceeded to tell me I should ‘plead insanity’ on some bogus police charges I’ve been dealing with.”On March 27, Jupiter police officers found a key snapped off in the Anthonys’ garage door lock. They forced their way into the building, and discovered a still-wet bleach stain and what appeared to be blood on the floor, the

Palm Beach Post reported.Meanwhile, her husband fled Florida, and police discovered both his and his wife’s cellphones were pinging off phone towers in Texas. He was arrested in New Mexico on March 31 and charged in connection with his wife’s disappearance.

ADADA cadaver dog, which is trained to sniff out human remains, alerted officers to signs of a dead body at the Anthonys’ home and inside the husband’s truck, policesaid. Read more: The Washington Post »

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