Friend told Fla. Mother to 'Stay Away' From Husband — Then Woman Vanished, and He Was Charged

A yoga enthusiast and doting mom to a preteen daughter, Gretchen Anthony was healthy and fit—so when her friends, family and coworkers got texts saying she’d been diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March, they believed she had a fighting chance against the virus.

But the ensuing texts they received from the 51-year-old’s phone were increasingly dire: She had an “acute case” of the virus, she had checked into a “CDC-approved task force” facility about 60 miles from her Jupiter, Fla., home, and she was being sedated to be put on a ventilator March 23.

“All we know is that she is saying she’s at a CDC facility because she has the virus,” one friend texted to Gretchen’s estranged husband, David Anthony, on March 25. “But something doesn’t seem right.”

It wasn’t. At the urging of concerned family members, police conducted a welfare check at Gretchen’s apartment March 25 and found no sign of her. Less than a week later, police tracked down Anthony, who they say actually sent those texts from Gretchen’s phone—and accused him of doing it to cover up her murder.

On March 31, Anthony, 43, was arrested in Las Cruces, N.M. He has been charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping and has yet to enter a plea.

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Gretchen’s friends, who also knew Anthony, couldn’t believe the things they read in the news and police reports. They had celebrated the couple’s wedding, Anthony's 40th birthday and other milestones through the years.

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“When we got the call Gretchen was missing, it was shocking,” says friend Casey Caplan, “but then to find out David had something to do with it . . . that was just a gut punch.”

Another friend who worked with David at Orangetheory, a fitness-training franchise, noticed David’s widening mood swings at the start of the new year.

“I did tell Gretchen that he was off and she needed to stay away from him,” her friend recalls. “I think about that every day.”

“This is still an open and very active investigation,” says Jupiter police Maj. Michael Barbera. “Locating the whereabouts of Gretchen Anthony remains our priority, and detectives will continue to diligently investigate every tip and lead until we find Gretchen.”

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