Police find blood, knife in home of missing woman as husband appears in court

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The husband of a missing Massachusetts mother has been arrested for allegedly misleading investigators, police officials said.

Brian Walshe, 47, entered a not guilty plea to the charge of misleading a police investigation at his arraignment in Quincy District Court on Monday. Judge Mark Coven imposed bail of $500,000 cash or $5 million surety bond and ordered Walshe to return to court on Feb. 9.

Assistant District Attorney Lynn Beland said Walshe made a trip to a local home improvement store to purchase a tarp and cleaning supplies before his wife's disappearance. Police investigators found a knife and blood in the basement area of the Walshes' home, according to Beland.

The Cohasset Police Department (CPD) and Massachusetts State Police (MPD) took Walshe into custody on Sunday as they continue to investigate the disappearance of Ana Walshe.

Ana Walshe, 39, was last seen on New Year's Day leaving for a flight they say she never took.

The mother of three was reported missing last Wednesday by her husband and employer, police said. She was reported last seen by a family member around 4 or 5 a.m. on Jan. 1 at her Cohasset home and was supposed to take a ride share to the airport for a flight to Washington, D.C. -- though police have not been able to confirm that she took a ride share, according to Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley.

According to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office, police officials are returning on Sunday from Washington, D.C., where they were searching for any evidence or information concerning Ana Walshe's potential whereabouts.

Police confirmed she never boarded a flight out of Boston Logan International Airport, he said.

"So far there's been no electronic footprint at all," Quigley told reporters during a press briefing on Friday, saying that neither her cellphone nor credit cards have been active since Jan. 1.

Local and state police continued a ground search in Cohasset on Saturday for evidence related to the disappearance of Ana Walshe, an executive with a property management company in D.C. who would travel to the city several times a month, according to Quigley.

After two days searching the wooded areas near her home, as well as a small stream and pool, the ground search came to an end with "negative results," police said Saturday evening. A police K-9 unit and the State Police Air Wing had been involved in the search, authorities said.

"The ground search will not resume unless police develop new information that so warrants it," police said in a statement. "Simultaneously, State Police and Cohasset Police detectives continue to undertake various investigative actions to determine Ms. Walshe's whereabouts."

Ana Walshe originally had a flight to D.C. booked for Jan. 3, but police were informed she was attempting to head down earlier to deal with "some type of emergency" with a property she manages, Quigley said. There have been no signs of her in D.C. so far, he said.

Ana Walshe's husband and her employer are cooperating in the investigation, Quigley had initially said, prior to Brian Walshe's arrest Sunday.

"At this point it's a missing person investigation. We're just trying to locate Ana and get her home safely," Quigley said. "We have nothing to support anything suspicious or criminal."

On the three-day lag between when she was last seen and reported missing, Quigley said it's not unusual for Ana Walshe to work long hours and not contact her home.

Ana Walshe has three boys between the ages of 2 and 6, said Quigley, who suggested that between the holidays and demands of working out of state, this "may be a case where she needed a break."

"Sometimes life gets chaotic," he said. "If that's the case, we need a call from her or someone who has talked to her."

Though one friend said this was out of character for Ana Walshe, whom she described as a "loving and loyal wife."

"She loves her family, and I know in my heart that of her choice, she would not go a day without speaking to her husband and her kids," the friend, Alissa Kirby, told Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.

"Honestly, I'm scared. Really, really scared," Kirby told the station.

Amid the search, a fire broke out Friday afternoon in the attic of a Cohasset home where Ana Walshe and her family used to live, authorities confirmed, with Quigley calling it a "very strange coincidence." Though on Saturday, Cohasset and state fire investigators said they determined that the blaze started in the area of damaged piping connected to a natural gas fireplace insert and was not suspicious.

Ana Walshe is described by police as 5'2" and weighing 115 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. Anyone who has seen Ana Walshe or has information on her whereabouts is urged to contact the Cohasset Police Department at 781-383-1055 x 6108.

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