Florida man accused of using COVID-19 to cover up killing estranged wife requests 'care' in extradition

David E. Anthony fled to New Mexico after the alleged murder

A man accused of killing his estranged wife and using the coronavirus pandemic as a ruse to deceive her family and friends of her whereabouts asked a judge to be handled with care during his extradition back to Florida.

David E. Anthony is accused of killing Gretchen Anthony on March 21 and using her cell phone to send text messages to her loved ones saying she was quarantined because of the coronavirus before he fled Palm Beach.

David Anthony, 44, has been held without bail in a New Mexico jail since March 31 on a fugitive warrant for second-degree murder and kidnapping charges.

Before David Anthony signed a waiver to get extradited back to Florida and face the charges, his attorney alerted the hearing court judge about his client's concerns during the travel.

"He is requesting that I state on the record that he had numerous orthopedic surgeries on his knees and shoulders and asked if he could have reasonable accommodations, not to exacerbate those injuries in his transport back to the state of Florida," said defense attorney Anthony Filosa during the brief teleconference extradition hearing on Thursday.

Filosa also noted that his client is "quite" tall and stands at 6-foot-7.

Gretchen Anthony's family was also listening in on the phone conference, said Judge Conrad Perea.

The judge acknowledged David Anthony's appearance and height through video conference before stating that he'll ask the corrections officers to "take care of him during transport to Florida."

David Anthony is expected back in Florida within the next 30 days, Barbara Hodges of the fugitive unit with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said during the teleconference.

Gretchen Anthony has been reported missing since March 23 and her body has not been found, police said.

A neighbor told police that on March 21 they heard a woman's "blood curdling screams" along with shouts of "No! No, it hurts!" coming from Gretchen Anthony's patio or garage. Police executed a search warrant of the home that the estranged couple no longer shared and found towels soiled with reddish stains, small droplets of blood in the master bedroom as well as large bleach stains on the floor of the garage.

In Jupiter Police Department's April 23 post on Facebook, police are asking the public whether between March 21 and March 31 they saw a black Nissan Frontier that David Anthony drove. The black pick-up truck was seized as a part of the murder investigation.

"This truck may have been parked within public areas with cones and a portable tent placed around the truck to resemble an official work or utilities truck conducting business," according to the post. "During the course of the investigation, we know David Anthony was utilizing this truck to resemble a work or utilities truck during the days following the homicide."

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