Husband arrested after cops uncover remains of California mother-of-three who went missing in July
44-year-old Anthony Gumina, a convicted felon, has been charged with first-degree murder, domestic violence, and violation of probation
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA: Officials have uncovered the remains of a California mother-of-three who went missing nearly two months ago and have arrested her husband in connection to her death.
The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office announced in a press release that 44-year-old Anthony Gumina, was initially arrested by deputies on an outstanding no-bail warrant for domestic violence.
At the same time, detectives executed a search warrant in the Pleasant Valley area of El Dorado County and discovered what they believed were the remains of 33-year-old Heather Gumina, Anthony's wife who had been reported missing in July.
Following the discovery of her remains, her mother, Joanna Russell, told Fox40 that "it's like the world's worst nightmare."
"We're super sad about what happened and I don’t know if we’re ever going to be okay," she said. "I miss my daughter." She continued, "My daughter was one of the most giving, loyal people I’ve ever known. I'm going to grieve for a very long time."
Heather was last seen on July 15, when she was released from a hospital after being treated for a broken collarbone that she allegedly suffered at the hands of Anthony.
Initial reports suggested that she left the home she shared with Anthony in Placerville after a fight, but her mother insisted that the disappearance was strange because it was "very unlike her to not contact anyone."
At the time, the sheriff's office stated that the 33-year-old was likely driving a 2005 black Infiniti coupe with pink bow stickers. The abandoned vehicle was recovered on August 9, but there was no sign of the missing mother.
Throughout the ordeal, Anthony, who tied the knot with Heather in March according to Facebook posts, insisted that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. He even filed a restraining order against her a week after she went missing.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, he claimed he had been out looking for his wife "every day" and that he was praying for her to be found. "I want her to just show up and be OK and for everything to be alright. I didn't do anything [to her]. I married her because I love her," he said.
However, Heather's friend Kathy Schneider disputed the story and said the 44-year-old was "not helping with the search efforts and he's not in our search group."
In February this year, police had also responded to a domestic violence call at their home when Heather complained that he had headbutted her. She also said he had tried to prevent her from phoning the police.
Anthony tried to brush that incident off as a "misunderstanding", but a blood test performed on him immediately after the incident found he had meth and opiates in his system. At the time, he was also a convicted felon who was serving a five-year probation term for burglary and witness intimidation.
While the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office insisted that they had overwhelming evidence that links Anthony to his wife's death, the 44-year-old's cousin Robert Shawaluk said he was "100 percent positive that he didn't do it".
"He did nothing wrong," Shawaluk said. "He loved her. He loved his wife. And for them to arrest him when he cooperated the whole time. He did nothing but cooperate with the cops." Anthony has been charged with first-degree murder, domestic violence, and violation of probation, and is being held at the El Dorado jail without bail.