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Husband Arrested After Knife, Blood Found In Basement Belonging To Missing Mass. Mother
Brian Walshe was on house arrest when his wife, real estate executive Ana Walshe, reportedly vanished while traveling to Washington D.C. for a work-related emergency.
Prosecutors say they found a knife and blood in the basement of a Massachusetts home, where a wife and mother disappeared just hours into the new year.
Brian R. Walshe, 46, was charged Sunday with misleading a police investigation concerning the disappearance of his wife, Ana Walshe, 39, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey. The mother of three was last seen in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 1, when she allegedly left her home for the airport.
Ana reportedly left the affluent suburban residence — about 30 miles southeast of Boston — at around 4:00 a.m. and was due to take a ride-share to Boston’s Logan airport, Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley said during a live press conference on Friday. She reportedly had to respond to a work-related emergency.
The Cohasset Anchor reported that Ana commuted weekly to Washington D.C. where she worked as a real estate executive for a property management company.
Following a missing persons report, police confirmed that Ana had not taken a ride share on the day in question, nor had she booked a flight to Washington D.C. on Jan. 1, Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Lynn Beland said in court on Monday, according to ABC affiliate WCVB.
Beland added that a search of flight records indicated that Ana had planned to travel to Washington D.C. from Boston on Jan. 3, however, she didn't board that flight either.
Chief Quigley said Brian Walshe was reportedly asleep when his wife disappeared.
“It’s not normal that she’s missing,” Quigley said at the press conference. “We automatically feel that she’s in danger by the mere fact that she’s missing.”
Details surrounding Mr. Walshe’s arrest were not immediately clear.
On Monday morning, he appeared at the Quincy District Court for his arraignment, where prosecutors said Ana was initially reported missing on Wednesday — three days after the disappearance — by employers in Washington D.C., according to ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV. Her husband soon filed a follow-up missing persons report.
Mr. Walshe also left a voicemail with one of his wife’s D.C.-based friends on Wednesday, as verified by CBS Boston affiliate WBZ-TV.
“Good afternoon, this is Brian Walshe. I hope all is going well. I was just reaching out to basically everybody I could. Ana hasn’t been in a touch for a few days,” he said in the voicemail. “If you know anyone that may have had contact with her, you know I am trying to call everyone. I am sorry to bother you. I am sure everything is fine.”
The Walshe’s Cohasset home, near Route 3A and Pond Street, was the focus of a massive days-long search, which began Thursday and included searches of a local pond, an in-ground pool and nearby wooded areas.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Cohasset Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police, “concluded” local ground searches Saturday evening.
Police said they will not resume searches “unless police develop new information.”
“Over the past two days, dozens of our members have led the search for 39-year-old Ana Walshe of Cohasset,” State Police said Sunday. “Troopers from numerous sections, including members of SERT, K-9, Dive Team, Air Wing, and others responded and conducted an extensive ground search which was finally halted last night.”
Officials thanked multiple people — including local eateries which supplied refreshments — as searchers “battled brutal weather and difficult terrain.”
Prosecutors say a knife and blood were found in the basement of the family home on Sunday, as reported by the CBS affiliate. Surveillance video also allegedly captured Mr. Walshe at Home Depot one day after Ana’s disappearance, purchasing $450 worth of cleaning products in cash while wearing a surgical mask and gloves.
Detectives from Cohasset also traveled to Washington D.C. to investigate clues into Ana’s disappearance, according to the Anchor. There, the Walshes reportedly own a townhome, Quigley told reporters, though there was no sign of the missing woman.
“We are continuing to evaluate digital evidence — banking records, cell phone data, and any kind of electronic footprint [we might find], but nothing has panned out so far,” Quigley previously said.
So far, there has been zero activity on the missing woman’s bank cards and mobile phone since she disappeared.
Police say following an investigation by State Police Fire and the Explosives Investigation Unit that the cause of the fire was accidental. Chief Quigley referred to the incident as “a crazy coincidence,” according to the Anchor.
Quigley also dispelled theories that Ana’s disappearance was connected to past criminal activity by her husband.
In 2021, Mr. Walshe pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud and other crimes related to stealing authentic Andy Warhol paintings from a friend back in 2016 and selling imitations on e-Bay to the tune of $80,000, according to the Department of Justice. Though Mr. Walshe was scheduled for sentencing in August of that year, it does not appear he was handed a prison term, according to court documents obtained by NBC News — though he was ordered to forfeit $225,000.
WBZ-TV reported that Mr. Walshe was under house arrest awaiting sentencing at the time his wife disappeared.
“As of right now, there does not appear to be a nexus between her husband’s past criminal conviction of wire fraud and her disappearance,” Quigley told the Anchor.
Quigley says the publicity surrounding Ana’s disappearance is drawing out “armchair detectives and sofa sleuths on social media who should leave the police work and investigation to the professionals,” according to the Anchor.
“We’ve been inundated with outlandish suggestions on how to conduct this investigation, not only from social media users in Cohasset but all over the country that take our attention away from concentrating on the real investigation,” he said.
Police emphasize that Ana is still a missing person, and Mr. Walshe has not been charged with a violent crime.
He is currently being held on $500,000 bail, according to WBZ-TV. The couple’s three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, are with authorities as the investigation continues.
Police described Ana as being 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighing 115 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. They added that she speaks with an eastern European accent.
Anyone with information related to Ana’s disappearance is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.