Ana Walshe: Bloody knife found in basement of missing Massachusetts mother’s home, prosecutors say

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Investigators looking into the disappearance of a Massachusetts woman found a bloody knife in the basement of the home she shares with her husband and accused him of misleading police, a prosecutor with the Norfolk District Attorney’s office said in court Monday.

Brian Walshe, 47, was arraigned in Quincy District Court on Monday on a charge of misleading investigators who are searching for Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three who has not been seen in more than a week.

Brian Walshe told police he last saw his wife early on January 1 when she took an Uber or Lyft to the airport to fly to Washington DC for work, according to prosecutor Lynn Beland. Her workplace reported her missing on January 4 after she did not show up to her job, Beland said.

However, a police investigation found there was not an Uber or Lyft ride on New Year’s Day, she did not arrive to her flight or to DC, and her cell phone pinged at her home later in the day, Beland said.

The investigation also called into question Walshe’s statements to police about his actions and movements the first few days of the new year. For one, Beland said he took his child to get ice cream on January 2, but surveillance video shows he bought $450 of cleaning supplies at Home Depot that day, including mops, a bucket and tarps, the prosecutor said.

Police obtained a search warrant and found blood and a damaged, bloody knife in the basement of their home, Beland said.

“These various statements caused a delay in the investigation to the point that during the time frame when he didn’t report his wife and gave various statements, that allowed him time to either clean up evidence, dispose of evidence, and causing a delay,” prosecutor Lynn Beland said.

A not guilty plea was entered on Brian Walshe’s behalf. He appeared in court in a long-sleeved gray shirt and spoke only briefly, to say he understood the charge.

Defense attorney Tracy Miner said Ana Walshe’s employer reported her missing because Brian Walshe had first called them to ask about her whereabouts. The attorney also noted he has given multiple interviews with police and consented to search of his properties.

“He has been incredibly cooperative,” she said.

The judge set bail at $500,000 cash and set the next hearing for February 9.

On Saturday, Cohasset and Massachusetts State Police said in a joint statement investigators have “concluded” their ground search for Ana Walshe after two days looking in the wooded area surrounding her home. The ground search will not resume unless new information warrants, police said.

The two-day search of the area surrounding Walshe’s home in Cohasset – a town on Massachusetts Bay, 20 miles southeast of Boston – involved 20 state troopers from a specialized search and rescue unit, three K-9 teams, the State Police Air Wing and police divers, authorities said.

Members of a State Police K-9 unit search on Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Cohasset, Massachusetts, January 7, 2022.

In court Monday, attorneys noted Brian Walshe is under house arrest and is required to report his whereabouts because of a federal fraud case in which he was accused of selling fake Andy Warhol art online.

In May 2018, he was charged in US District Court in Massachusetts with wire fraud after the FBI said he sold two fake Warhol paintings on eBay, according to a criminal complaint. The FBI investigators allege Brian or Ana used her eBay account to sell the paintings in November 2016, less than a year after they were married.

The complaint does not charge Ana with wrongdoing but states she spoke to the person who purchased the fakes after the buyer learned the paintings were not authentic and located her work number.

The document also alleges Brian Walshe took real artwork from a friend to sell, but never did. He did not compensate the friend for the art, prosecutors allege.

He was indicted in October 2018 by a federal grand jury on four charges in the case, including wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, possession of converted goods and unlawful monetary transaction.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to three of the four counts in exchange for a recommended sentence from prosecutors of incarceration, supervised release, fines, restitution and forfeiture, documents show. He also agreed to either return the artworks or pay for them.

According to the online docket, the case remains open as the judge has not yet formally sentenced him, while the US Attorney’s Office investigates Walshe’s finances.


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