Investigators searching for a missing Florida mother soon realized someone was using the COVID-19 pandemic to cover up her disappearance.
During the early months of the pandemic, friends and family received texts from the phone of a beloved Florida mother, Gretchen Anthony. The texts said she had an "acute" case of coronavirus. When no one could reach her by phone, friends and family – who believed it wasn't Gretchen sending those texts -- called the police for help.
Here is a closer look at the case.
The Crime Scene
No one answered the door when police knocked at Gretchen Anthony's door.
At her home investigators discovered a potential crime scene. Police say this image appears to show stains from a mysterious soapy substance on the driveway.
Signs of a Struggle
While searching Gretchen Anthony's home, Jupiter Police found a broken picture frame and shards of glass in Gretchen's bed.
A Strange Stained Towel
As police continued to look for clues, they found a stained towel sitting on top of Gretchen Anthony's washing machine. It later tested positive for a blood-like substance.
Screams in the Night
During a March 26, 2020 canvass of Gretchen Anthony's neighborhood, a neighbor reported hearing a woman screaming just five days before.
Some concerned neighbors shared images of a black Nissan truck parked near Gretchen's house the night the woman reported hearing the screams. The truck belonged to David Anthony, Gretchen's estranged husband. The couple had been separated for months.
Finding Gretchen's Car
Investigators got a break when they discovered Gretchen Anthony's car in the parking lot of the Jupiter Medical Center. That's where the texts said she was a patient. The hospital had no record of her being treated for Covid-19.
They were convinced she had met foul play when they found her purse sitting in the vehicle and her cell phone was missing.
Where was David Anthony?
In this body camera footage, police learned David Anthony had been living with his dog Kobe at his mother's house. She told police she had also received texts from Gretchen's phone. She also told police David was headed to Costa Rica.
Where was Gretchen?
Investigators were convinced David Anthony was involved in Gretchen's disappearance. They believed the key to finding her was to locate David. They used cell phone pings to help track his movements as he drove across six states. The manhunt included assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies.
A Trail of Clues
David Anthony is seen selling Gretchen's jewelry in Jupiter, Florida.
Hiding in Plain Sight in NM
Police in Florida tracking David Anthony's cell phone pings got a hit in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Jupiter Police Detective Jared Kenerson reached out to Las Cruces police. Armed with a vehicle description, they located the truck and were able to obtain a search warrant for his vehicle. It was packed to the brim and taken into custody.
Because police did not have enough evidence to make an arrest, David and his dog Kobe walked away.
The Missing Phone
When Las Cruces police processed David Anthony's vehicle, they recovered these cell phones; one belonged to Gretchen Anthony.
Investigators believe it was used by David to send those fake text messages from Gretchen.
Screaming for Help
In the truck police also discovered these Amazon devices which uses Alexa software. Police say one of the devices recorded Gretchen Anthony's desperate cries for help.
Stolen Security Cameras
When Las Cruces police processed David Anthony's vehicle, they also recovered these security cameras from Gretchen's home. She had them installed as a safety measure.
Jupiter Police were able to recover the footage from the cloud.
A Shadowy Figure
Security footage revealed this image of a figure lurking in Gretchen Anthony's patio on the last day she was seen alive.
Who's in the Garage?
Footage from the cloud showed a mystery man in Gretchen Anthony's garage, placing items in her MINI Cooper.
Caught in the Act
Investigators were able to recover this image of David Anthony from Gretchen's security camera in her garage. Shortly after, David took the cameras down and hit the road.
Finding David Anthony Again
Investigators now had enough evidence to issue a warrant for his arrest. Jupiter Police Detectives Jared Kenerson and Kelly Sanders rushed to Las Cruces. After a search, and with the help of other agencies, they located David Anthony walking his dog in Las Cruces and made an arrest.
David Anthony in Denial
During the interrogation, Detectives Jared Kenerson and Kelly Sanders [not pictured] told David Anthony that they had him on camera ambushing Gretchen. But he insisted she was alive — 35 times.
Face of a Killer
Ultimately, the security footage that investigators recovered from Gretchen Anthony's home — and other evidence — helped secure a guilty plea for second-degree murder and kidnapping against David Anthony.
As a part of his plea deal, he had to disclose where he buried Gretchen's body. Despite his guilty plea, David Anthony has never revealed his motive.
He is currently serving 38 years in prison for the murder of Gretchen Anthony.