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An ex-girlfriend of the man who was convicted of killing his estranged wife Gretchen Anthony while the victim’s family believed she had vanished during the pandemic says he is a ‘master manipulator.’
David Anthony, 44, is serving 38 years in prison for the murder of Gretchen Anthony, 51, who disappeared in March 2020 and whose remains were found nine months later.
Police say Anthony attempted to conceal Gretchen’s disappearance by sending text messages from her phone, pretending to be her, and claiming she had COVID-19 and had gone to the hospital to receive treatment.
But when Anthony’s ex-girlfriend Heidi Jaegers found out about Gretchen’s disappearance, she said she knew that it was David Anthony. Now, she’s speaking out about it in an exclusive TV interview that airs on HLN Sunday night.
‘People that are happy and stable don’t do something like this,’ Jaegers said. ‘When I found out about Gretchen Anthony’s disappearance, I knew immediately that it was David Anthony, and that he did it, that he had finally snapped.’
This week’s episode of HLN’s Sex & Murder, that airs Sunday at 10pm ET, revisits the murder of Gretchen Anthony, a Florida mother who was murdered by her estranged husband during the pandemic.
For the first time, Anthony’s ex-girlfriend gives a chilling account of their experience together.
‘David was a master manipulator,’ Jaegers told HLN. ‘He was just very, very controlling. I was reporting back to him on what I ate. I was w-, reporting back to him on when I worked out.’
She goes on to say that Anthony and Gretchen started dating right after they broke up.
‘I did meet Gretchen and Gretchen was very sweet,’ Jaegers said. ‘I honestly thought it was going to be a good fit.’
But when Gretchen turned up missing, Jaegers said she knew who was to blame.
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Heidi Jaegers, ex-girlfriend of convicted killer David Anthony said when she found his estranged wife Gretchen Anthony was missing in 2020, she knew that Anthony was to blame
Gretchen Anthony, 51, was in the middle of divorcing David when she vanished in March 2020
David Anthony was sentenced to 38 years in prison in 2020 for the murder of his estranged wife Gretchen Anthony
Gretchen’s remains were found in December 2020 just hours after David Anthony admitted in court to kidnapping and killing his estranged wife earlier in the year.
Acting on information from Anthony, police unearthed the missing woman’s remains in the area of Bush Road and Indiantown Road, about 3 miles from her Jupiter home, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said during a news conference.
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 in March 2020, 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.
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.
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
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.
As part of the plea deal, Anthony led police to Gretchen’s (left) body, which was found in 2021
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
According to an arrest report released by the police to CBS12, the case began unfolding on March 25, 2020, 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.
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 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 COVID 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.
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.
In December 2020, Anthony was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the murder of Gretchen Anthony.