A Florida man, who police believe killed his wife and then sent a series of strange text messages from her phone, was arrested a week before she disappeared after he allegedly approached teen girls at the mall.
David Anthony, 43, was taken into custody on March 15 by the Rivera Beach Police after he was seen “acting suspiciously” while approaching young girls who were approximately 15 years old, “pacing back and forth and sweating profusely,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by People.
A police officer approached Anthony after he realized there was black electrical tape over his license plate that made a “6” appear more like an “8,” but Anthony allegedly reached into his vehicle for some type of item prompting the officers to order him to put his hands up.
A scuffle between Anthony and the officers was captured in dramatic body camera footage released by police and obtained by local station WPEC.
During the scuffle, Anthony allegedly repeatedly slammed a female officer’s arm into the door of his pickup.
“Get out! No! Get out! Turn around! Get out, now! Get out! I got him at gunpoint. Get out of the car! What’s he got? What’s he got in his hands? Drop it. Whatever it is, drop it,” two officers can be heard shouting during the video.
The officers ordered Anthony to “stop resisting” and lay down flat on his face “like an airplane” on the pavement.
The officers were able to get Anthony to the ground where he was arrested.
“I just grabbed him so hard because he was reaching for something,” a female officer said on the video.
She later told Anthony, “I had to, literally had to body slam myself into your car to drag you out.”
He was arrested that night on charges of resisting, obstructing or opposing an officer with violence, the local station reports.
About a week later, Anthony’s estranged wife Gretchen Anthony disappeared. She was last seen at work on March 20 and appeared to be in “good spirits,” according to an arrest affidavit from the Jupiter Police obtained by Oxygen.com.
Days later Gretchen’s friends and family report receiving strange text messages from her phone saying that she had COVID-19 and was at Jupiter Medical Center. One message said she was being sedated and transferred to a CDC center in Belle Glade.
However, investigators learned that there was no CDC center in Belle Glade and officials at Jupiter Medical Center had no records of her being at the hospital in March.
One of Gretchen’s neighbors also reported hearing a “blood-curdling scream” around 6 a.m. in the morning on Saturday March 21, coming from Gretchen’s house.
The neighbor also heard a woman’s voice yelling “No! No it hurts.”
The neighbor reported seeing a black truck that authorities later linked to David Anthony backed into the driveway of Gretchen’s home.
During a search of the house, investigators found towels in the washer with a “reddish substance” on them that appeared to be blood as well as broken glass and droplets of blood in the master bedroom.
Gretchen and David were still married at the time she disappeared; however, the couple had filed for divorce on Feb. 28.
David Anthony was later arrested in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 31. He is awaiting extradition but is expected to be formally charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in Gretchen’s disappearance when he returns to Florida.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.