COVID-19 Text Messages Lead to Florida Man’s Murder Arrest in Wife’s Disappearance

April 12, 2020 Updated: April 12, 2020

Police charged the estranged husband of a woman who went missing in March with murder after a witness called police in Florida about a suspicious COVID-19 text that they received.

David Anthony was arrested last week in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the slaying and kidnapping of Gretchen Anthony, police said.

“As the investigation progressed and further evidence collected, it is believed David E. Anthony is responsible for her disappearance and related homicide which was determined to have occurred on March 21, 2020,” the police department in Jupiter, Florida, wrote in a statement.

Officials are still attempting to locate the whereabouts or remains of Gretchen Anthony.

Authorities said they began investigating David Anthony when a witness called the Jupiter Police Department and said she received a “suspicious text message” from Gretchen Anthony that stated she had COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. It further claimed that she was being held by the “CDC,” referring to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to CBS12, citing a police report.

Police said the witness said she saw the text message on the morning of March 23. She has not heard from Gretchen Anthony since then.

The unnamed witness told officials that Gretchen Anthony was separated from her husband and filed for divorce in February.

According to an arrest report, an officer went to her home, knocking on the door several times. The officer then contacted the Jupiter Medical Center, but the official was told that her name wasn’t in their system, according to CBS6.

Another witness said they received a text message from Gretchen Anthony on March 24, saying she was in the Jupiter Medical Center with an “acute” case of COVID-19. The message claimed that a CDC taskforce in Belle Glade, Florida, “sedated her,” the report said. However, the Jupiter Medical Center said that it’s not a protocol and added the woman isn’t at the hospital. Reports have noted there is no CDC center in Belle Glade.

Epoch Times Photo
Mugshot for David Anthony, 48. (Dona Ana County Detention Center)

The second witness, who was also friends with David Anthony, then went with officers inside the home, and Gretchen was nowhere to be found, authorities said. He noted that the unusual text messages had language that she wouldn’t use, adding that her cellphone recently stopped sharing her location.

Authorities said the second witness noted that the recent texts had language that appeared to be from David Anthony, showing police past text messages with him to back up the assertion.

Two other witnesses received strange messages from Gretchen Anthony’s phone and expressed concern about her husband.

Police also spoke to Gretchen Anthony’s neighbor, who asked police if they were there to investigate “the attack that occurred Saturday morning,” on March 21. The neighbor said she heard a woman’s voice utter “a blood-curdling scream” yelling, “No! No it hurts,” the station reported.

Another neighbor said they heard the screams and saw David Anthony’s truck parked on the road. The bed was loaded and had a tarp.

According to the Las Cruces Sun Herald, David Anthony was in New Mexico and was plotting to flee to South America.