David Anthony, right, was arrested March 31 and charged with the second-degree murder and kidnapping of his estranged wife, Gretchen Anthony.
Facebook/Jupiter Police Department; Doña Ana County
  • A Florida man is facing murder charges after his estranged wife disappeared late last month.
  • Gretchen Anthony, 51, was last seen on March 20, but her friends and family told police they received odd texts from her phone number claiming she tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was being "held by the CDC" and "on a ventilator."
  • The Jupiter Police Department said in a statement authorities believe Gretchen Anthony was killed on March 21.
  • Her husband, David Anthony, was found by investigators in New Mexico, and a cadaver dog picked up the scent of human remains in his car.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

A Florida man has been charged with the murder of his estranged wife after she disappeared late last month and baffled friends and relatives with odd messages sent from her phone.

Gretchen Anthony, 51, was last seen at work on March 20 and was reported missing by her family on March 26, Jupiter police said in a statement. Though she was still married to 48-year-old David Anthony, they were living separately and had begun divorce proceedings, CBS 12 reported.

A witness contacted the police department on March 25 about a "suspicious text message" she received from Gretchen's phone, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by CBS 12.

The text said Gretchen had tested positive for Covid-19 and was being held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another witness later told Jupiter police he received a similar text on March 24, saying Gretchen had an "acute" case of Covid-19 and was under sedation at a CDC center in Belle Glade. There is no CDC facility in Belle Glade.

Both texts also said Gretchen had been checked out at the Jupiter Medical Center, but police said when they contacted the hospital they learned Anthony hadn't been there since 2008, CBS 12 reported.

One of the witnesses told police Gretchen's mother also received a text from Anthony saying she was "on a ventilator," according to NBC News. But patients on ventilators are typically sedated and unable to send texts.

Jupiter police said in a statement they believe Gretchen's murder occurred March 21, but that they haven't found her body.

"It is believed David E. Anthony is responsible for her disappearance and related homicide," the statement said.

Investigators tracked David down and arrested him in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping. Police said a cadaver dog searched David's car and detected the scent of human remains.

Jail records from Doña Ana County in New Mexico show that David was arrested March 31 and has been held without bail ever since.

The Jupiter Police Department said in a statement David will be extradited back to Palm Beach County in Florida.

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