COHASSET — Authorities have arrested the husband of a missing mother of three for misleading police on the investigation into her disappearance, officials said late Sunday afternoon.
Ana Walshe, 39, has not been heard from since she left her home around 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day to take a rideshare to Logan International Airport for a flight to the nation’s capital, family have told police. Investigators have not been able to confirm she took a rideshare, but have determined she did not board a flight from Logan, according to Cohasset police Chief William Quigley.
During the investigation, police developed probable cause to believe Brian Walshe, 46, “had committed the crime of misleading police investigators,” according to a statement Sunday from David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office.
Brian Walshe was being held at the Cohasset police station Sunday night and will be arraigned Monday in Quincy District Court.
His attorney, Tracy Miner, declined to comment Sunday night.
Police began work Sunday around 9 a.m. and searched for evidence inside the Walshe home, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the case.
Cohasset police cruisers were stationed at the end of the home’s long gravel driveway to limit access. State Police K-9 units could be seen and heard working in the area.
At one point, a group of uniformed police officers who appeared to carry hiking gear emerged from a nearby wooded area and gathered in front of the home for several minutes, then walked toward the side of the house and out of view.
Three plainclothes officers could be seen talking as they walked down the driveway around noon. A drone hovered over the property for several minutes early Sunday afternoon.
As darkness descended Sunday evening, an investigator carried a large plastic container from the house.
Shortly before 7 p.m., the police presence at the home had significantly diminished. At least one cruiser remained at the scene, and the home’s interior lights were visible through its windows. An investigator’s flashlight could be seen illuminating the front of the house; the beam scanned across the home’s siding and roofline for about a minute, then winked out.
Late Saturday afternoon, Cohasset police and State Police completed a two-day ground search of a wooded area near Walshe’s home. They used divers to search a stream and a swimming pool during the day, according to State Police spokesman David Procopio.
Procopio said the ground search will not resume unless investigators develop new information that warrants doing so.
Traub said Cohasset and Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Norfolk district attorney’s office returned Sunday from Washington, D.C., where they had been working as part of the investigation. They had gone to Washington to seek “any possible evidence or information concerning Walshe’s potential whereabouts,” Traub said in a statement.
Along with their home in Cohasset, Ana Walshe’s family has a house in Washington. According to assessor records, Ana Walshe purchased the home in the city’s Chevy Chase neighborhood for $1.3 million in March 2022.
Carrie Westbrook, a longtime friend of Ana Walshe who lives outside Washington, D.C., told the Globe on Saturday that she and many of Walshe’s friends and colleagues are concerned.
“It’s so bizarre and I’m really really worried about her,” Westbrook said. “She is the type of person who is always really well put together and over-communicative about things.”
Westbrook said she and Walshe lived together in Washington, D.C. and were coworkers at a restaurant after Walshe first came to the United States from Serbia in 2005. At the time, Walshe was going back and forth for a few years from Serbia to D.C. on summer work visas, Westbrook said, and the pair have remained in touch since.
Westbrook said Walshe was supposed to visit her the evening of Dec. 27 to see her new condo, but Walshe texted to say she had to work late and would be delayed. Westbrook waited more than two hours before Walshe texted to say her phone had died, she was unable to use GPS to get directions, and she had returned home.
“It was so unlike her, so weird. I said, ‘Are you OK? I’m just really worried about you,’ " Westbrook said, recounting the text exchange. “And she said, ‘I’m OK,’ and sent screenshots of her trying to call me and the phone not working.”
They agreed to reschedule the visit, Westbrook said. Walshe texted the following day to say she had gone to the store to get a new SIM card for her phone and it was working again, according to Westbrook.
They agreed to meet Jan. 5, but when Westbrook last texted Walshe on Jan. 3, the message never displayed as delivered, according to Westbrook.
Westbrook has called some of Walshe’s coworkers and mutual friends since she disappeared.
“We are all worried about her traveling back and forth.... I hope she’s not burned out and just tired,” Westbrook said.
Chief Quigley had said Friday that Brian Walshe had cooperated with the search for his wife.
Brian Walshe pleaded guilty in 2021 in federal court in Boston for scamming a Los Angeles art buyer into purchasing two fake Andy Warhol paintings. He is awaiting sentencing, according to court records.
Quigley had said Walshe’s disappearance and her husband’s case “seem to be two very separate things.”
Walshe, in a June 2022 letter to the court, said her husband is a wonderful stay-at-home father.
“We are all looking forward to the new chapter of his life,” she wrote.
On Saturday, investigators said a two-alarm fire that broke out Friday afternoon at a property formerly owned by Ana Walshe in Cohasset was not suspicious.
The fire at 725 Jerusalem Road originated in the area of damaged piping connected to a natural gas fireplace insert, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the state Department of Fire Services.
Ana Walshe bought the Jerusalem Road property for $800,000 in 2020 and sold it for $1.385 million in March 2022, according to officials and state records.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact detectives at 781-830-4990.
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