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'I Always Thought Good Of Him': Mother Of Missing Ana Walshe Reacts To Son-In-Law's Murder Charges
Milanka Ljubicic said she "just cannot believe" her son-in-law, Brian Walshe, allegedly made numerous disturbing internet searches around the time Ana Walsh vanished on New Year's Day.
The mother of a missing Massachusetts woman is holding out hope that her daughter is still alive.
It’s been nearly three weeks since real estate executive and mother-of-three Ana Walshe, 39, disappeared from her suburban Boston home just hours into the new year. Despite her husband, Brian Walshe, 47, being charged with her murder, Ana’s mother told NBC News she’s having difficulty believing Brian could be responsible.
"I always thought good of him,” Milanka Ljubicic said in a Thursday interview from her home in Belgrade, Serbia.
Ljubicic’s comments come one day after Brian appeared in the Quincy District Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
According to police, Brian said he was asleep when on Jan. 1, his wife left their Cohasset home at around 4:30 a.m. Ana reportedly planned to take a rideshare to Boston’s Logan International Airport in response to a work-related emergency in Washington D.C., where she commuted weekly via shuttle flight and stayed in the couple’s second home, according to the man now charged with her murder.
However, investigators say they found no evidence to support Ana ever ordered a rideshare, nor was there anything to suggest she boarded a flight.
Police said Brian was being “untruthful” in his statements.
“He absolutely adored Ana; the way she is, and said many times he missed her while she was away [for] work,” Ljubicic told NBC News. “From what I know, everything was just fine between them.”
Ana has yet to be found.
At Brian’s arraignment on Wednesday, prosecutors painted a grisly picture of the hours and days surrounding Ana’s disappearance. As detailed by Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Lynn Beland, investigators allegedly found 10 trash bags believed to have been transported from a dumpster located at Brian’s mother’s apartment complex in Swampscott, about 40 miles north of the Walshe’s Cohasset home.
In the sacks, law enforcement discovered a hatchet, hacksaw, cleaning supplies, and a rug, according to prosecutors. Ana’s COVID-19 vaccination card and DNA belonging to both Ana and Brian were also among the discarded items believed to be of evidentiary value.
A broken knife and blood were previously discovered in the basement of the family’s Cohasset home shortly before Brian’s Jan. 8 arrest, when he was initially charged with interfering with a police investigation.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey formally announced murder charges on Tuesday.
As disturbing as the physical evidence allegedly tying Brian to his wife’s presumed murder are the multiple internet searches from the couple’s son’s iPhone, including, “10 ways to dispose of a body if you really need to,” “What happens when you put body parts in ammonia?” and “Can you identify a body with broken teeth?”
Ljubicic told NBC News she “just cannot believe” Brian made the dubious searches.
“Yes, I have seen it, of course it made me upset,” Ana’s mother said. “But I just don’t believe in that. Because Brian was never aggressive, he was never mad or furious, God forbid.”
Ljubicic said she was unaware of previous accusations by Ana against an unnamed person, confirmed by a police spokesperson to be Brian, according to NBC News. In a 2014 police report filed in Washington D.C., Ana claimed Brian threatened to kill her and a friend over the phone.
Criminal charges were never filed because Ana allegedly “refused to cooperate in the prosecution.”
“I did not know back then; I’ve seen it recently in the media,” said Ljubicic. “They got married after that, got kids ... I don’t know what to say. I had no knowledge about it at all.”
Records show the Walshes married in 2015.
Ljubicic was also asked about family friends referring to Brian in court as a “sociopath” and a “very angry and physically violent person” during a probate battle when friends and relatives accused him of stealing from his late father’s estate in 2018.
One relative alleged Brian “absconded with almost one million dollars,” according to the Boston Herald.
Ana’s mother said she hadn’t heard of the accusations until reading about it in media reports after Ana’s disappearance, claiming she had “absolutely no idea.”
One of Brian’s alleged Google searches — timestamped Jan. 1 at 6:25 a.m. — included, “How long for someone to be missing to inherit?,” according to Fox Boston affiliate WFXT.
Although Ljubicic was unaware of the probate case involving his family, she said she knew about Brian’s federal 2021 conviction for art fraud, where the defendant pleaded guilty to stealing authentic Andy Warhol paintings from a friend and selling bogus prints to the tune of $80,000.
Brian had yet to be sentenced and was remanded to house arrest for the interim, including when Ana disappeared earlier this month. According to Ljubicic, Ana struggled with her husband being confined to their Massachusetts home, which the couple shared with their three young sons, who are now in state custody.
“She was bothered by the fact they had to stay because in Washington D.C., they had better living conditions, and she could not cope without children for so long,” said Ljubicic. “They hoped this legal process around Brian would last only for a couple of months, and they can be together, but it dragged for a year or so.”
Ljubicic added she “wasn’t worried at all” about the couple’s marriage, despite Christmas Day texts from Ana to her mother, asking Ljubicic to fly to America the next day. Ultimately, they decided Ljubicic couldn’t make the trip on such short notice but hoped to meet in January.
“After the first text, when she asked me to come promptly, I asked her why the urgency. She replied that Brian and her are not getting along about the kids, where the kids would spend time, whether in Boston, Cohasset, or Washington D.C., where they own a house,” said Ljubicic. “I understood that they were trying to make an arrangement where to live together ... About what happened that night, I have no idea."
Earlier this week, ADA Lynn Beland said Brian searched the internet on Dec. 27 for, "What's the best state to divorce for a man,” just days before Ana disappeared, according to ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV.
“Rather than divorce, it is believed that Brian Walshe dismembered Ana Walshe and discarded her body,” Beland said in court.
The prosecution alleges that in the days following Ana’s disappearance, Brian made numerous purchases at several retail stores, including a hatchet, mops, buckets, baking soda, cleaning supplies, and a Tyvek suit.
Prosecutors also say video footage shows the defendant making stops at multiple dumpsters in surrounding towns and disposing of what appeared to be heavy garbage bags.
Investigators believe they couldn’t gather all the possible evidence, as some trash had likely been incinerated.
“I think she just left somewhere to get away; maybe she was tired of everything,” Ljubicic hopes. “It is only my assumption. I still don’t know the truth about what happened.
“I just hope that she is alive. Anywhere, but alive. That is my only hope.”
Brian Walshe is being held at the Norfolk County House of Corrections without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 9.