Husband of Missing Massachusetts Woman Searched for Disposal of Body

(CNN) — Police in the small seaside town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, are investigating the disappearance of a woman whose husband searched online for how to dismember a corpse, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. In addition, according to the prosecution, in the basement of the couple’s house they found blood and a bloody knife.

Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three, was reported missing by her co-workers on January 4, prompting police to question her husband, Brian Walshe, 47, about her actions and movements. in the days before.

However, many of his statements were “false,” police say in an affidavit.

Brian Walshe was criminally charged with misleading investigators in the case, while police continue to search for his wife. Walshe — who is awaiting sentencing on a prior federal fraud conviction — has pleaded not guilty.

According to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation, investigators recently uncovered new information that has shifted them from a search for a missing person to a suspicion that Ana Walshe may have been murdered, including her husband’s internet log, which shows searches on dismemberment and “how to dispose of the body of a 52kg woman”.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement that “various items” were found in searches north of Boston Monday that are being processed and analyzed. The statement also referred to the disappearance of Ana Walshe as “suspicious.”

On Monday night, investigators were sifting through trash at a Peabody City transfer station for possible remains of the missing mother, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation. Sanitation crews brought the trash to the station, an hour’s drive north of Cohasset, early last week, the source said.

Crime scene tape was also placed around dumpsters in a tenement building near the home of Brian Walshe’s mother in Swampscott, about 15 miles north of Boston, the source told CNN. Brian Walshe told police he went to visit his mother on Jan. 1, the same day he told police he last saw his wife, according to the affidavit.

Late last week, investigators launched an extensive search for Ana Walshe, calling on state and local police departments, K-9 units, police divers and state police air units, and canvassed the wooded area that surrounds the family home, authorities said.

The ground search has been suspended after two days, authorities said Saturday, but will resume if new information comes in.

Meanwhile, their friends and family can only wait.

“We are devastated. Ana is a beacon of love and joy,” Peter Kirby, a family friend, told CNN. “She lights up every room. We miss her and are doing everything we can to support her 3 beautiful children.”

Husband’s Timeline Allegedly Misled Police

Concern for Ana Walshe began after coworkers at the Tishman Speyer real estate agency reported her missing on Jan. 4, according to prosecutors.

Brian Walshe’s lawyer told court on Monday that he had contacted the office to say he had not heard from it.

Speaking to police, Brian Walshe said he last saw his wife on the morning of January 1. She told him that she needed to fly to Washington for a work emergency, her husband told investigators, according to the affidavit.

“Ana got ready, kissed him goodbye and told him to go back to sleep,” he told police.

She used to take a ride-sharing car or taxi to the airport, he told investigators.

That afternoon, Brian Walshe said he visited his mother in Swampscott and ran errands for her at the Whole Foods and CVS locations, the affidavit says.

But investigators found no evidence that Ana Walshe took a carpool from her home that morning, prosecutors said in court Monday. Her phone also registered activity near the home on January 1 and 2, according to prosecutor Lynn Beland.

“The fact that he was asked a specific question and he gave a false answer that led investigators out of the area caused a clear delay in the search for the missing person, Ana Walshe,” the affidavit states.

According to police, Brian Walshe is under house arrest and is wearing an ankle bracelet pending sentencing on his previous fraud conviction, which means he must obtain permission to leave his home for authorized activities in specific places and times.

missing woman ana walshe

Members of a state police K-9 unit search for Ana Walshe on a road in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Credit: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/AP

According to the affidavit, the week of his wife’s disappearance he made several unauthorized trips, including to a household goods store, where he was seen on surveillance video wearing a mask and surgical gloves and making a purchase at cash. Prosecutors alleged in court Monday that he spent about $450 on cleaning supplies, including mops, a bucket and tarps.

As police executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on Sunday, “blood was found in the basement, as well as a knife that also contained blood,” according to Beland.

The search warrant was obtained from the husband’s Internet search history on body disposal and the purchase of large quantities of cleaning supplies, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

At his appearance on the misleading investigators charge Monday, a Quincy District Court judge set Walshe’s bail at $500,000 cash. His next hearing is set for February 9.

The husband pleaded guilty to fraud last year.

brian walshe

Brian Walshe appears in court on January 9, 2023 charged with misleading investigators. Credit: Greg Derr/Pool/The Patriot Ledger/AP

Brian Walshe was charged with wire fraud in May 2018 after the FBI said he sold two fake Andy Warhol paintings on eBay, according to a criminal complaint filed in Massachusetts District Court.

FBI investigators allege that either Brian or Ana used their eBay account to sell the paintings in November 2016, less than a year after they were married.

The complaint does not charge Ana with a crime, but claims she spoke to the person who bought the forgeries after the buyer learned the paintings were not authentic and located her work number.

The prosecution also alleged that Brian Walshe took authentic artwork from a friend, telling her he would sell it, but never did. He did not pay the friend for the art, prosecutors allege.

He was indicted in October 2018 by a federal grand jury on four counts in the case, including wire fraud, interstate transportation for a fraud scheme, possession of converted property, and illegal money transaction.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to three of the four charges in exchange for a sentence recommended by prosecutors of imprisonment, probation, fines, restitution and forfeiture, the documents show.

He also agreed to return the artwork or pay for it.

According to the online summary, the case remains open as the judge has not entered a formal sentence against him, while the US Attorney’s Office investigates Brian Walshe’s finances.

In a letter to the court dated June 1, 2022, Ana Walshe said she was grateful her husband was able to stay home while his fraud case was settled in federal court.

“Brian has been constantly working on breaking his family’s past habits and we are all looking forward to the new chapter of his life,” she wrote.

— Carolyn Sung, Eric Levenson, Kiely Westhoff, and Isa Kaufman-Geballe contributed reporting.

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