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Who is Brian Walshe? Husband of missing Cohasset mother Ana Walshe facing charges

CBS News Live
CBS News Boston Live

COHASSET -- Cohasset mother Ana Walshe was reportedly last seen on New Year's Day. After a week of investigating, police arrested her husband, 46-year-old Brian Walshe, on a charge of misleading the investigation. 

Prosecutors said police were first notified that Ana Walshe was missing on Wednesday by her employer in Washington D.C. when she did not show up for work.

Her whereabouts are still unknown at this time. 

Here's what we know about Brian Walshe: 

Misleading the investigation 

Walshe was arrested on Sunday and charged with misleading the investigation as police search for his missing wife. At his arraignment Monday, prosecutors alleged that he lied about when he left the house in the hours and days following Ana's last sighting. 

According to prosecutors, Brian Walshe said he went to Whole Foods and CVS on January 1, but there is no surveillance video or receipts to show that he ever went. 

"It is also important to note that this is the day one of Ana being missing," police said in court documents.

On January 2, he said the only time he left the house was to take his son for ice cream. Prosecutors said surveillance cameras at Home Depot captured him purchasing about $450 of supplies.

Court documents allege that in Home Depot, Brian Walshe was wearing a black surgical mask, blue surgical gloves, and made a cash purchase. Police said the items he bought included mops, a bucket, and a tarp.

Investigators executed a search warrant at the home on Sunday and said they found blood in the basement along with a broken and bloody knife.

"These various statements caused a delay in the investigation, to the point that during the time frame where he didn't report his wife and gave various statements, that allowed him time to either clean up evidence, dispose of evidence," the prosecutor said. 

Brian's defense attorney said Brian has consented to searches of his property and cell phone.

She said Brian's omissions about his whereabouts should be considered as an issue of bail violation since Brian is on house arrest and wearing an ankle bracelet pending sentencing in federal court. 

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the ankle bracelet has a radio frequency that shows when he leaves the house but does not have a location monitoring GPS. 

The defense attorney also said Brian reached out to Ana's employer to say he hadn't heard from her, and that is why they contacted police. 

He is being held on $500,000 cash bail. 

The voicemail 

WBZ-TV obtained and verified audio of a voicemail left by Brian Walshe for a friend of his wife's. The friend, who lives in Washington, D.C. where Ana Walshe works, said the voicemail was left on Wednesday. That is the same day she was reported missing to police.

"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 touch for a few days," Brian Walshe 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."

"Our dear friend Brian is in this awful situation" 

Peter Kirby is a longtime friend of the Walshe family. He called Brian's arrest and the ongoing search for Ana "absolutely heartbreaking."  

"Our dear friend Brian is in this awful situation where he is terrified and heartbroken and stuck in an endless loop of unknown while the internet decides he's the bad guy," Kirby told WBZ-TV on Sunday. 

He saw Brian as recently as Thursday. 

Brian is "distraught" about Ana's disappearance, Kirby said. 

"[Ana] is lovely. She and her husband have a loving, supportive, connected marriage. They have obviously been through a very difficult year with her working in D.C. while he's in Massachusetts. They're making it through it and they were talking about 2023 is their year. Look how it started." 

Kirby said the friend group has been concerned about Brian being arrested because "the internet is full of people who have made up their mind. We were concerned that when they didn't find anything that Brian would become the target, the chief suspect. I've known him for years. His biggest fear is Ana is gone. That's really heartbreaking." 

Past legal troubles 

As referenced by Walshe's defense attorney on Monday, Walshe had prior legal trouble and therefore is on home confinement and wears an ankle bracelet.  

In 2018, the US District Court charged Brian Walshe with fraud for selling two fake Andy Warhol paintings. Walshe claimed he had two of Warhol's "Shadows" abstract canvas paintings and sold them over eBay. After paying $80,000 for them, the buyer determined they were not authentic. 

Walshe pleaded guilty to wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, possession of converted goods, and unlawful monetary transaction in 2021. He has been on home confinement pending his sentencing.  

Brian Walshe Criminal Complaint 2018 by WBZ Webstaff on Scribd
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