In a crime resembling a grotesque soap opera, a woman in Maryland involved in a love triangle with her husband and another woman recruited her 13-year-old daughter and her teenage boyfriend to kill him and the female lover, according to reports emerging in the media.
Ann Anastasi, a 42-year-old mother of five, who lived with her husband Anthony Anastasi Jr., 40, in Maryland’s Lothian, called 911 on October 5, alleging that her husband had committed suicide in his sleep. When the police reached the crime of the scene, they found Anthony sprawled up in his master bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head. Anastasi alleged that she had gone out to get groceries at the time of the incident, and that when she came back and tried to wake up her husband, she found him dead with a gun lying next to him.
The inconsistencies in the woman’s narrative, however, led the police to suspect foul-play, according to The Washington Post.“Once our homicide detectives were on scene, they immediately knew something was off, something wasn’t right,” said a statement released by the Anne Arundel County Police.
Jacquelyn Riggs, the 25-year-old woman who was involved in a love triangle with the couple, was found dead in the basement. An autopsy revealed that she had multiple cuts and stab wounds, the police confirmed.
When the forensic team reached the scene of the crime, they found several pieces of evidence which “did not coincide with what the crime scene depicted,” Fox News reports. According to the charging documents, which have since been made available to the media, the couple’s 18-year marriage was “fraught with conflict and domestic abuse” and became progressively more strained as Ann Anastasi fell out of the love affair, which had lately been brewing up between the couple and their 25-year-old female lover.
It was then that the Maryland woman came up with the ghastly idea of recruiting one of her five children, a 13-year-old-girl, to help her with the killing of her husband and Jaqueline Riggs. Anastasi and her daughter went on to recruit Gabriel Struss, 18, who was also her daughter’s boyfriend, to carry out the heinous crime. While the woman and Struss have been charged with first-degree murders, the young girl has been charged as a juvenile, the police say.
Anne Arundel County state’s attorney Wes Adams, speaking at a news conference, said that the crime perpetrated by the Maryland woman was the one of the worst he had witnessed during his time at the office.
“What we have is a fairly unique situation or rare situation that a mother and two young people are involved in the killing of a spouse.”
Adams went on to further state that the Maryland woman was “instrumental” in covering up the crime and said what was especially bothersome about the crime was that the woman would end up including her daughter and her boyfriend in carrying out the killings.
The police, once they suspected foul-play, began investigating Anastasi’s phone records, which showed the wife, her daughter and Struss discussing the slayings over text messages. In one message, Struss even warned the young girl not to mention his name, while in another message the 13-year-old girl discussed taking the fall in order to protect her boyfriend from going to jail “for the rest of his life” in case they were caught.
Like most people within the community, Anastasi’s father was shocked to find his daughter being arrested for the gruesome murders. He confirmed that his daughter and her husband had moved to Maryland from Michigan about two years ago, but that he wasn’t in regular contact with them.
The Maryland woman is being held without bond. Struss, who is also charged with several counts of conspiracy, was arrested in Annapolis early Friday. His relatives said he was being made the scapegoat and believed Anastasi must have included him on another pretext. “He’s never done nothing, as I know of. Never. He’s been manipulated into doing this,” his grandfather said.
The other children of the Maryland woman are now in care of the family.
[Photo via Anne Arundel County Police]