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Old Time Crime: Man murders family in 2001, bodies found 4 years later

Posted at 3:04 PM, Jul 09, 2017

A Peoria man was convicted of the murder of his wife and two step-children whose bodies were not found until four years after the crime. 

They never got on the plane

It was July 7, 2001 -- Donna Anthony and her two children were scheduled to land in Ohio to visit relatives. They never arrived; they never got on the plane. Family members asked the police to investigate.

The next day Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies went to their Peoria home and talked with David Anthony, Donna's husband who deputies say, "did not seem 'overly surprised' and did not ask the deputy to search for them."

Donna's truck was located by police three days later. The vehicle was cleaned inside and out, which according to Donna's co-workers, was very unusual for her. Investigators said the truck was "wiped clean."  They found only five fingerprints on the truck, belonging to Donna. 

When investigators returned to the Anthony home, they found it in immaculate condition as well, with a "strong odor of Pine-Sol." 

Inside were professionally cleaned carpets, brand new mattresses, clothes washer, clothes dryer and vacuum cleaner. 

They found samples of blood in the home

Though the home looked clean when detectives applied a chemical, that fluoresces when contacting blood, they found samples of blood in the home. 

In the trash, they located Pine-Sol, rubber gloves, and two blood-stained knives. 

Prosecutors say David Anthony planned the murder after they refinanced their home and took out over $100,000 in cash. Donna, not trusting David with the money, deposited it in a personal account. On June 28, three days after Donna bought her tickets to Ohio someone altered the "PIN" number to the account. Later that same week, David bought a new truck but delayed the completion of the deal telling the salesman he would soon "come into some money." 

On July 6, a call was placed from Donna's phone transferring $84,000 from Donna's account to their joint account using the newly changed PIN number.

On July 8, after speaking with the MCSO deputies, David wrote a check for $39,000 to complete his truck purchase. Investigators also found and talked with the house cleaners who told them David said his dog bled on the carpet and he asked them to remove the stain.  

Though the bodies were not found at the time, prosecutors proceeded with indicting David for all three murders. He was convicted on April 1, 2002. He was sentenced to death by a separate jury in March 2004.

It was October 2005, when construction workers in Buckeye found buried barrels with bones inside. The medical examiner determined they were the remains of Donna Anthony, along with her daughter and son.

He was convicted, once again, of all three murders, just a few months before he died in prison

In 2008 the Arizona Supreme Court overturned Anthony's conviction, and he was given a new trial. In September 2012, he was convicted once again of all three murders, just a few months before he died in prison. 

David Anthony died in prison on December 7, 2012, at the age of 64.