A Florida man has been arrested on kidnapping and murder charges after his wife disappeared and relatives received strange texts from her phone claiming she was being treated for coronavirus, according to reports.
Police were alerted to the situation after concerned relatives reported the suspicious texts from Gretchen Anthony's phone claiming that she had been admitted into a hospital for COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. However, when family members contacted the facility, they were told no one with her name had been admitted.
A relative reported Gretchen missing, and nearly two weeks later, her husband, David Ethan Anthony, was arrested and charged in the case. Police revealed details of the case on Thursday.
The couple filed for divorce in February, according to The Post, and the following month David reportedly began acting strangely.
He caught the police's attention after tampering with his license plate to alter the tag with black electrical tape. While being questioned, David allegedly tried to reach for something beneath the driver's seat. One officer drew a gun on him while another tried to handcuff him but David reacted by slamming the door on the cop's arm. He was arrested on March 14 for resisting an officer with violence, but four days, later he posted bail.
Less than a week later, Gretchen went missing. The morning after she was last seen, a neighbor reported hearing a woman scream. Days later another neighbor claimed to have seen someone scrubbing down the interior of David's garage.
One of the witnesses sent a text to her husband asking whether he had seen Gretchen. He said she had mentioned going to the beach "to ground herself bc she wasn’t feeling well." The story did not match the texts about Gretchen being hospitalized for the coronavirus.
On March 27, police officers forced their way into David's house and discovered what appeared to be a blood stain and still-wet bleach on the garage floor.
David had since fled Florida but police located him in New Mexico after his and his wife's cellphones pinged off phone towers in Texas. David was arrested on March 31.
The evidence continued to mount when cadaver dogs indicated that a dead body had been in David's house and truck. Gretchen's blue Mini Cooper was also discovered on Tuesday in the parking lot of the medical center she had allegedly been admitted to, which was mentioned in the texts to her family.
As of Tuesday, Gretchen was still missing.
"Investigators are still trying to locate the whereabouts of Gretchen Anthony and are hoping the public may have seen or heard something related to this case," police said per The Post.
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