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Florida man will be sentenced to just 38 years in prison after taking plea deal and admitting to kidnapping and murdering his estranged wife in exchange for leading police to her body

 Just hours after a Florida man admitted in court to kidnapping and killing his estranged wife earlier this year, police acting on information from the defendant raced to a wooded area and unearthed what is believed to be the missing woman's body. 

David Anthony, 44, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the March 2020 disappearance of 51-year-old Gretchen Anthony. His plea agreement calls for 38 years in prison at his sentencing next month.

As part of the agreement with prosecutors, Anthony had to reveal to the authorities where he dumped his wife’s remains. 

David Anthony, 44, appeared in court on Monday and pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering his wife, Gretchen, in exchange for a 38-year prison sentence

David Anthony, 44, appeared in court on Monday and pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering his wife, Gretchen, in exchange for a 38-year prison sentence 

As part of the plea deal, Anthony led police to Gretchen's (left) body, which they had been trying to find for the past nine month

As part of the plea deal, Anthony led police to Gretchen's (left) body, which they had been trying to find for the past nine month 

On Monday afternoon, police located human remains (pictured) in a wooded area located just 3 miles from Gretchen's Jupiter, Florida, home

On Monday afternoon, police located human remains (pictured) in a wooded area located just 3 miles from Gretchen's Jupiter, Florida, home


At around 3.30pm, investigators found the remains in the area of Bush Road and Indiantown Road, about 3 miles from Gretchen's Jupiter home, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said during a news conference.

'We hope that this will bring closure to the family now that Gretchen has been located,' Kerr said. 

Security-camera footage from Gretchen's home, neighbors’ testimonies and other evidence connected David to his wife’s death and disappearance, officials said.

Shortly after Gretchen disappeared, David left the state, officials said. He was arrested in New Mexico about a week later.

Gretchen and David Anthony married in March 2015 in Nevada. Court documents showed the filed for divorce at the beginning of 2020. 

Police said they believe the remains found in the woods were those of Gretchen

Police said they believe the remains found in the woods were those of Gretchen 

Had Anthony failed to tell police the location of the body, the plea deal would have been rescinded

Had Anthony failed to tell police the location of the body, the plea deal would have been rescinded 

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with the plea agreement, but stressed that it was what the victim's family wanted, reported ABC News 4.  

'It is never ideal to have someone who commits a crime like this get anything less than life [in prison],' he told reporters. 'This settlement was what the family wanted. This deal was in place because the family wanted a proper memorial, a proper burial for Gretchen.'

An autopsy will be performed on the newly uncovered body to positively identify it, and determine the cause and manner of death. 

Gretchen was last seen alive at her home in Jupiter on March 20. 

According to a statement from the Jupiter Police Department, on March 26 officers responded to the Anthony family’s home after Gretchen’s family reported her missing.

Gretchen Anthony, 51, was in the middle of divorcing David when she vanished

Gretchen Anthony, 51, was in the middle of divorcing David when she vanished  

On March 21, a neighbor heard woman's screams 'No! No! It hurts!' coming from the Anthony family's garage on Sunshine Drive in Jupiter, Florida (pictured)

On March 21, a neighbor heard woman's screams 'No! No! It hurts!' coming from the Anthony family's garage on Sunshine Drive in Jupiter, Florida (pictured)

Police tracked down David's Nissan Frontier pickup truck and searched it with a cadaver dog, which picked up the scent of a dead body

Police tracked down David's Nissan Frontier pickup truck and searched it with a cadaver dog, which picked up the scent of a dead body

A cadaver dog was brought in and detected the smell of a dead body inside the residence. A search of the garage on the property turned up what appeared to be blood mixed with bleach, suggesting an attempt to clean up a crime scene.

Gretchen’s car, a dark blue Mini Cooper, was found in the parking lot of the Jupiter Medical Center, but there was no sign of the missing wife and mom-of-one.

During the investigation, police identified David Anthony as the prime suspect, accusing him of killing his wife on March 21.

Anthony was arrested in New Mexico in late March and was charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping

Anthony was arrested in New Mexico in late March and was charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping

According to an arrest report released by the police to CBS12, the case began unfolding on March 25, when a witness called them, saying that two days prior she received a 'suspicious text message' from Gretchen, who wrote that she had COVID-19 and was being held by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at Jupiter Medical Center.

An officer was dispatched to the Anthony family's home in the 1300 block of Sunshine Drive to perform a welfare check, but no one came to the door.

The cop then contacted the clinic in Jupiter to inquire after Gretchen, but was told there was no patient by that name there.

Police then got a call from another witness, who said that he got a text message from Gretchen on March 24, saying she was at the medical center being treated for an 'acute' case of the coronavorus and was being taken to a CDC-affiliated center in Belle Glade, where she was 'sedated'.

The second witness noted that the texts from Gretchen included language that was not typical for her, but which her husband, David, has been known to use.

Police then 'pinged' Gretchen's phone, which placed it near Pensacola, where they say on March 25 David tried and failed to sell a bag of women's jewelry, including what looked like his wife's David Yurman-designed ring, at a local store.

The next day, one of the witnesses again called police, this time saying that her mother got a text from Gretchen, saying she was on a ventilator at Palms West Hospital battling the coronavirus, but police were unable to find her there.

A prosecutor said he was not happy with the deal that was offered to David
Gretchen's family wanted to give her a proper burial

A prosecutor said he was not happy with the deal that was offered to David (left), but stressed that Gretchen's family wanted it so she could get a proper burial 

When detectives went back to the family's home on March 26, a neighbor told them she heard a woman's 'blood-curdling scream' on the morning of March 21. The woman, believed to be Gretchen, was heard yelling, 'No! No! It hurts!' from the patio or the garage area.

Another neighbor corroborated that account, adding that he saw David's truck with loaded up and covered with a tarp, according to the report.

The second neighbor allegedly said he saw someone using water mixed with a chemical to clean the garage.

When police entered the home, they found two bottles of cleaner and a rag, as well as towels in the washing machine stained with a 'reddish substance' that looked like blood.

Inside the master bedroom they found a broken glass picture frame and what looked like droplets of blood on the wall, according to the report.

When officers forced their way inside the locked garage, they discovered a large bleach stain. A police dog was brought in to the scene and detected traces of blood on the floor.

That same day, police learned that both David and Gretchen's cell phones 'pinged' somewhere in Texas.

On March 31, detectives tracked down Anthony and his Nissan Frontier nearly 1,900 miles away, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping.

While processing his vehicle, a cadaver dog indicated the scent of a dead body inside.

Anthony is due back in court for his sentencing on January 14.  

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