mAssachusetts mother-of-three Ana Walshe was scheduled to commute back to Washington on New Year’s Day, where she works for an upscale real estate firm.
But police say there is no evidence she ever went to Boston’s Logan Airport as scheduled and has not been seen since the early hours of January 1.
When her husband and bosses reported her missing on January 4, a search was launched of the family estate in and around Cohasset, Massachusetts, as well as their home in Washington’s Chevy Chase neighborhood.
Now prosecutors say bloodstains and a knife were found in the basement of her family home, and her husband, who was convicted of an art fraud, was arrested for allegedly obstructing a police investigation.
Prosecutors say Brian Walshe allegedly bought $450 of the items, which included cleaning supplies, mops and tape, from a nearby Home Depot store on January 2.
Investigators allegedly found online queries about “how to dispose of a woman’s 115-pound body” and how to dismember the body, two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told CNN.
Mr. Walshe was arrested on Sunday, January 8, and appeared handcuffed in Quincy District Court a day later, charged with misleading a police investigation.
Who is Ana Walshe?
Ana Walshe, 39, is a mother of three who is married to Brian Walshe. He has a home in Cohasset, Massachusetts, but works real estate in Washington during the week.
The search begins in Massachusetts
Cohasset Police first announced Ana Walshe was missing in a statement on Thursday 5 January and asked the public to help find her.
Authorities say she was last seen at her home shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day and describe her as being 5ft 2in tall, 115lbs, with brown hair, brown eyes and olive skin. They say he speaks with an Eastern European accent.
Investigators say she was supposed to take a shared car from her home to Logan Airport in Boston to fly to Washington, D.C., where she works in real estate. Her husband and employer, Tishman Speyer, reported her missing Wednesday.
Her husband was to cooperate with law enforcement on Friday, January 6.
The police are searching the forest near the family home
The search for Ana Walshe continued in the wooded areas near the family’s home over the weekend.
Officials say 20 soldiers from a specialized search and rescue unit, three police K9 teams and a police helicopter joined the search. State police divers also searched a small creek and drained the pool at the house.
The Massachusetts State Police and Cohasset Police said on Saturday, January 8 that their ground searches “will not resume unless new information is obtained by the police that substantiates it.”
But officials say they were still involved in “various investigative activities” to find Ana Walshe.
Husband arrested for alleged obstruction of justice
on sunday 9, Cohasset Police said Ana Walshe’s husbandBrian Walshe, was arrested for alleged obstruction of justice.
According to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police and Cohasset Police investigating Ana Walshe’s disappearance created probable cause to believe that her husband had “committed a crime of misleading police investigators.”
Prosecutors inform the judge that blood and a knife were found in the basement of the family home
Brian Walshe, 46, appeared in Quincy Circuit Court on Monday after being arrested.
Prosecutors told the judge that police found blood and a damaged bloody knife in the basement of the family home.
They also claim that Brian Walshe allegedly purchased $450 worth of items, including cleaning supplies, mops and tape, from a nearby Home Depot store on January 2.
A criminal affidavit in the case states that Mr Walshe told police he last saw his wife at their home early January 1, when she took an Uber or Lyft to the airport.
He also told authorities that on January 1, he went to Whole Foods and CVS in Swampscott, Massachusetts, 40 miles away, and took his child out for ice cream the next day.
The affidavit stated that the police did not say that there was any Uber or Lift ride on New Year’s Day, and she never flew to Washington, D.C., or arrived in the city by any other means of transportation.
Prosecutors also say they reviewed Whole Foods and CVS videos and did not see Mr Walshe anywhere he said he was there.
“These various testimonies caused a delay in the investigation to the point that during the time he did not report his wife, he made various statements that gave him time to clean up the evidence, dispose of the evidence and cause the delay,” said prosecutor Lynn Beland.
Mr. Walshe was pleaded not guilty and released on $500,000 bail. The next hearing in the case will be held on February 9.
A Story of Art Scams by Brian Walshe
Brian Walshe, 46, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in 2021 over allegations that he took authentic Andy Warhol paintings from a friend in South Korea and used the photos and their documentation to sell counterfeits on eBay.
The FBI investigation was launched after a buyer agreed to purchase two paintings from Warhol’s “Shadows” series for $80,000 in 2016. After sending an assistant to pick up the artwork, it turned out that the paintings had no authentication seals and the canvas appeared to be new.
The owner of the paintings told agents that Brian Walshe offered to sell the paintings to him, but after taking them with him, he was unable to contact the suspect.