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Brian Walshe accused: What we've learned about the alleged murder of Ana Walshe

Husband of Ana Walshe accused of dismembering body
Husband of missing Massachusetts woman Ana Walshe accused of dismembering body 02:21

Nearly five months after his wife's disappearance, Brian Walshe appeared in Norfolk Superior Court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to the alleged murder of 39-year-old Ana Walshe. Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor asked that defendant be held without bail pending trial and the judge denied Walshe's $250,000 cash bail request. 

New details emerged about Walshe, a mother of three from Cohasset, Massachusetts, who has been missing since sometime after having dinner with her husband and a friend on New Year's Eve. A family friend had dinner at the Walshe house on New Year's Eve leaving the house around 1:30 a.m. in the early morning, and Ana had not been seen since, court documents said.

Her husband initially told police she had left in the dawn hours for a work emergency. Walshe, who spent work weeks in Washington, D.C. for her job as a real estate investment manager at international property management company Tishman Spyer, had a vehicle and townhouse in Washington, police have said

Searches for Walshe have been unsuccessful, even as the investigation fanned out from the area of her home in Cohasset to other towns in the state. 

What have we learned from the court hearings?

Prosecutors said at an April 27 hearing that Brian Walshe became suspicious in December 2022 that his wife was having an affair. He had his mother hire a private investigator in Washington, D.C., where Ana Walshe was working at the time, "to conduct surveillance of Ana for the purpose of proving infidelity," investigators said.

Late in December, court documents said that the oldest child's iPad researched divorce. Right before she disappeared, Ana went out with a friend in Washington, D.C. where she told her friend she was going to leave her husband and move with her three children to D.C because he "was going to be incarcerated on his pending criminal case," court documents said. 

Prosecutors also revealed that Ana Walshe had $2.7 million worth of life insurance and that her husband Brian was the "sole beneficiary," CBS Boston reported.

Has Ana Walshe's body been found?

While police have discovered some physical evidence they're investigating, Ana Walshe's body has not been found. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, authorities announced that they were charging Ana Walshe's husband, Brian Walshe, with her murder. 

Walshe was also indicted by a Norfolk County grand jury March 30 for misleading a police investigation/obstruction of justice, and improper conveyance of a human body.

In court on April 27, defense attorney Tracy Miner argued "there was no body, no murder weapon,  and no motive," CBS Boston reported. "In that four months, no body was found, there's been no indication of if she died, how she died, no murder weapon, there's no motive," Miner said. 

Prosecutors said, however, Walshe visited numerous websites about dismembering and disposing of a body. According to court documents from his January arraignment, Walshe was seen on security camera footage purchasing $450 of cleaning supplies, including tarps and buckets, at a home improvement store while wearing a disposable mask and gloves on Jan. 2 — two days before Ana Walshe was reported missing but one day after she was last seen. 

On January 8, 2023, a Swampscott dumpster outside his mother's apartment was searched by law enforcement, court documents said police found numerous personal items believed to have belonged to Ana Walshe. They found Volkswagen keys, a Hermes watch, a black Prada purse and a short black coat, items known to belong to Ana in addition to her COVID vaccination card.

Law enforcement also found a Tyvek suit in the dumpster with stains matching Ana Walshe's DNA, court documents said. A hacksaw was also found amongst the items in the dumpster, court records said, when it was taken apart a small bone fragment was recovered. The fragments are currently undergoing DNA testing, court records said. 

What did Brian Walshe's search history show?

Walshe's oldest child's iPad conducted searches on topics such as: how to dispose of a human body, how long does it take a human body to smell, and how long does it take a person to be declared dead, court documents said. The searches started between 4:50 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, a few hours after Ana Walshe was last seen, court records said, and then continued the next day from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Searches in this time period included how to effectively dispose of body parts and how to clean up a crime scene.  

The iPad also searched for how to mix ammonia, how to remove SIM cards from phones, and then for apartment complexes in Brockton, Massachusetts, court documents said.

On Jan. 3rd, court documents said the iPad searched for the removal of odor of decomposing bodies, a crime scene clean-up company, how to detect blood using fluorescein, and how to remove blood stains from concrete.

Who is Ana Walshe? 

A friend of Ana Walshe, Alissa Kirby, described her as "a loving wife and mother to," she always says, "three beautiful boys." 

Ana was hired in early 2022 by international property management company Tishman Spyer and became the family's primary source of income, court documents said. She purchased a home in Washington, D.C. and spent the workweek there and flew back to Boston on the weekends, court documents said. She was planning on moving her family in July 2022  to D.C. upon the conclusion of Mr. Walshe's criminal case, according to her employer and friends. 

In addition to keeping busy with work, friends say Ana Walshe was an active member of a Newton-based organization for immigrants in America called the Sky International Center.

The Walshes' three young sons, ages 2, 4 and 6, are now in the custody of the state's Department of Children and Families.

When was Ana Walshe reported missing? 

Ana Walshe was reported missing on Jan. 4. Police Chief William Quigley said in a press conference said it was "simultaneously reported" by her husband Brian and by employees at her Washington, D.C. workplace.

"Officially we realized (Wednesday) that she was missing. We suspected maybe something Tuesday," her friend Alissa Kirby, who lives in Washington, told CBS Boston

Ana Walshe was last seen at her home on Jan. 1, according to police. Her husband said she took a rideshare to Boston's Logan International Airport to fly to Washington, D.C., but there is no evidence that she got on the plane. Quigley said they also could not confirm that she was ever picked up by the vehicle. 

Quigley said Brian Walshe said he did not see his wife leave the house because he was asleep at the time. Another family member saw her at the house at 4 or 5 in the morning, Quigley said, though he did not explain which family member that was. 

"We're not exactly sure" why there was a gap between when Ana Walshe was last seen and when she was reported missing, Quigley said. "It seems like it was a situation where ... she does work in D.C. and it's not abnormal for her to work long hours and not contact the home right away. That seems to be the case." 

Who is Ana Walshe's husband and why was Brian Walshe arrested? 

Ana Walshe's husband, Brian Walshe, was on home confinement at the time of her disappearance, because of a federal conviction involving a scheme to sell fake Andy Warhol paintings. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, and possession of converted goods and unlawful monetary transaction, CBS Boston reported.

Ana and Brian Walshe. Photos from Cohasset Police and Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger via AP, Pool

The station reports his house arrest bracelet was not equipped with GPS tracking and that he had an exemption that allowed him to take the couple's three sons to school. Quigley said in his press conference that those charges were not related to Ana Walshe's disappearance. 

Police initially said that Brian Walshe was cooperating with their investigation into his wife's disappearance, but on Jan. 8, he was charged with misleading investigators. 

The Norfolk District Attorney's office announced the January arrest, saying that in the course of the investigation, police "developed probable cause to believe that … Brian Walshe had committed the crime of misleading police investigators." He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was held on a $500,000 bond, according to CBS Boston

On Jan. 17, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey announced that authorities intended to charge Brian Walshe with his wife's murder. 

Brian Walshe was arraigned the following day on murder and other charges, and entered a plea of not guilty. He was ordered held without bail.

He was arraigned on charges of misleading a police investigation/obstruction of justice, and improper conveyance of a human body in March.

What has the investigation into Ana Walshe's disappearance found? 

As the investigation has unfolded, information has come to light about Brian Walshe's movements before and after his wife was last seen.

Brian Walshe had told police he had been to a supermarket and a pharmacy, but there is no evidence that he was at either store, Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Lynn Beland said in the hearing. 

Another surveillance video showed him at a juice bar on the same day, and video footage reviewed by CBS Boston's investigative team show Brian Walshe near a liquor store dumpster in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Sources told CBS Boston that no physical evidence was found there. 

Physical evidence has been found in multiple other locations, including the couple's Cohasset home and the woods behind the house. A broken knife and blood were found in the home's basement, according to CBS Boston, but it hasn't been confirmed whose blood it was. 

Investigators also found trash bags with blood, a hatchet, a hacksaw, a rug and used cleaning supplies at a transfer station in Peabody, Massachusetts, sources told CBS Boston's investigative team. Peabody is about 46 miles from Cohasset. 

Sources told CBS Boston's investigative team that Brian Walshe's car has been impounded and showed signs of being recently cleaned. 

CBS Boston also reports that investigators are reviewing an incident from August 2014 in which Ana Walshe, who was not yet married to Brian, claimed someone threatened to kill her and her friends. In a Washington, D.C. police report viewed by the station, she claimed the threat came from Brian Walshe over the phone, but no charges were filed after she refused to cooperate with the investigation.

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