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Jupiter man pleads guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping in wife's disappearance

Gretchen Anthony's remains found hours after husband agreed to provide location of body
David and Gretchen Anderson
Posted at 11:46 AM, Dec 21, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. — A Jupiter man arrested early this year in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and kidnapping on Monday, according to court documents.

The plea deal was contingent upon David Anthony, 44, providing authorities with the location of Gretchen Anthony's body.

Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said during a news conference Monday that investigators located what are believed to be Gretchen Anthony's remains after searching "all day" in the area of Bush Road and Indiantown Road.

WATCH AERIAL VIDEO OF SEARCH:

Chopper 5 above search for remains of Gretchen Anthony

In exchange for providing the location of Gretchen Anthony's remains, David Anthony will serve a 38-year prison sentence.

"It is never ideal to have someone who commits a crime like this get anything less than life, but this is what the family wanted to provide closure," Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said.

Investigators said, at this point, they don't know how Gretchen Anthony was killed. The body will be taken to the medical examiner's office, where an autopsy will be conducted.

WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE:

Jupiter police say they have found remains believed to be of Gretchen Anthony

David Anthony was arrested in New Mexico earlier this year and charged with murder and kidnapping after his wife was last seen March 20, police said.

Detectives said one neighbor told them that on March 21 between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. "she heard a woman's voice let out a blood curdling scream" and she heard a woman yelling "No! No it hurts!"

At least five people received "suspicious" text messages that were allegedly from Gretchen on March 23 and 24, saying she was infected with an "acute case" of COVID-19.

The deal states the defendant agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping, and no new criminal charges can be filed in the case.

David Anthony
David Anthony is accused of killing his wife, whose body was found in December.

Aronberg defended the decision by prosecutors to offer a 38-year prison sentence. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is life in prison.

"We were able to find her body, which we didn't have that information before," Aronberg said.

David Anthony is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14.