QUINCY — Investigators found blood and a damaged knife with blood on it in the Cohasset home of Ana Walshe, a mother of three who has been missing since New Year’s Day, and her husband bought $450 in cleaning supplies before her disappearance was reported to authorities, a prosecutor said Monday.
As Brian Walshe, 47, was arraigned in a Quincy courtroom on a charge of misleading investigators in the case, Norfolk First Assistant District Attorney Lynn M. Beland said detectives found the knife and blood in the basement of the Walshe family’s home, where the couple lived with their three boys.
Beland did not say how the knife was damaged or provide details about the blood evidence.
Ana Walshe, 39, was reported missing to local police on Jan. 4 by co-workers at the real estate company where she worked in Washington, D.C., Beland said.
On Monday evening, police could be seen searching an area by a dumpster at an apartment complex off Paradise Road where Brian Walshe’s mother lives in Swampscott, and where he said he was headed on New Year’s Day before getting lost on the way, according to media reports.
A long strand of yellow police tape lay on the ground near a fenced-in trash and recycling area in the eastern corner of the property Monday. The dumpster had been removed from the area and residents were piling trash bags off to the side. Neighbors said the area is usually safe and were shocked to learn police had searched the dumpster in connection to Walshe’s disappearance.
Authorities were also searching a trash transfer station in Peabody. News camera footage showed investigators in white protective gear combing through piles of rubbish. A representative of Republic Services would only say that the trash company is cooperating with authorities.
When he spoke to police before his arrest, Walshe said he and his wife had hosted a friend at their home on New Year’s Eve and that his wife told him she had to fly to Washington D.C., the next morning for a work emergency, according to a police report.
NOW: The husband of the missing Cohasset woman, Brian Walshe, is being taken to court for his arraignment. Walshe is charged with misleading a police investigation. Police say Ana Walshe went missing on New Year’s Day. Brian reported her missing last week. @7News pic.twitter.com/PprskI8QXy— Mari Salazar (@MariSalazarTV) January 9, 2023
Walshe said his wife usually took a rideshare or taxi to get to Logan Airport, but Beland said there are no records that Ana Walshe hired a rideshare service or flew out of Logan that day. Walshe had a ticket for a Jan. 3 flight to Washington, D.C., but never took that flight, Beland said.
Beland said Brian Walshe misled investigators in describing his actions and whereabouts in the days before his wife was reported missing. Walshe told investigators that on New Year’s Day, he left home around 3 p.m. to visit his mother in Swampscott but lost his way, according to a police report. He said he went shopping at Whole Foods and CVS in Swampscott but authorities say they found no evidence he was at either store.
“Walshe was not observed on video from Whole Foods or CVS in the time frame that he stated he was there,” the police report stated. In court, Beland said he could not provide any receipts from the stores.
“It is also important to note this is day one of Ana being missing,” she said.
On Jan. 2, Brian Walshe told investigators, he only left his house to take one of his sons to get some ice cream, authorities said. But investigators learned Brian Walshe went to the Home Depot in Rockland and purchased $450 in cleaning supplies, including mops, buckets, tarps, tape, and drop cloths, Beland said. Video from the store showed Walshe wearing a black surgical mask and blue gloves and paying in cash, police said in the report.
Beland, a former homicide prosecutor in Suffolk County, said the fact that Ana Walshe was not reported missing until Jan. 4 gave her husband “time to clean up, to dispose of evidence.” Ana Walshe’s cellphone pinged at the Cohasset address on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, but has since gone quiet.
Beland asked for $500,000 cash bail. Walshe’s lawyer, Tracy A. Miner, told Judge Mark S. Coven that her client has been “incredibly cooperative” and asked him to reject the high bail request, noting he is charged only with misleading police.
“He is not charged with murder,” she said. Coven set bail at $500,000; Walshe is due back in court on Feb 9.
Walshe is awaiting sentencing in federal court for running three artwork scams, one of which involved selling fake copies of Andy Warhol paintings to a Los Angeles art collector.
Brian Walshe was allowed to remain free on the federal charges after his mother, Diana, posted $75,000 in cash toward his bond in that case, according to court records. She also wrote a letter to the judge in his federal case, asking that her son remain at home while awaiting trial. She also indicated tension between her and Ana Walshe.
“He loves his wife very much,” Diana Walshe wrote about his son. “Unfortunately, I do not have a good relationship with my daughter-in-law, perhaps due to cultural differences.”
Authorities have said they do not see a connection between the Warhol case and his wife’s disappearance.
Walshe was arrested on Sunday after police spent the entire day inside his home, at 516 Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Cohasset. As darkness fell Sunday evening, an investigator carried a large plastic container from the house.
Over the weekend, investigators completed a two-day ground search of a wooded area near the family’s home.
A two-alarm fire broke out Friday afternoon at a property formerly owned by Ana Walshe in Cohasset, but authorities said it was not suspicious. The fire at 725 Jerusalem Road originated in an area of damaged piping connected to a natural gas fireplace insert, officials said.
Ana Walshe bought the Jerusalem Road home for $800,000 in 2020 and sold it for $1.385 million in March 2022, according to officials and state records.
That same month, Ana accepted a position with the real estate firm of Tishman Speyer. The position, which came with a large salary increase and health care benefits for her family, requires her to work in Washington, D.C. for much of the time, according to a memo filed in Brian Walshe’s federal case.
Ana Walshe sold her Cohasset home on Jerusalem Road and purchased a home in Washington D.C., with proceeds from the sale and bank mortgage, according to the memo, which was filed by prosecutor Timothy E. Moran in June.
Public records show Ana Walshe bought a home in the city’s Chevy Chase neighborhood for $1.3 million.
Because of the pending federal charges and his mother’s medical condition, Brian Walshe was unable to move with his wife, Moran wrote. He stayed with his mother and three children in Cohasset. His mother has since moved to Swampscott.
Ana Walshe emigrated from Serbia in 2005 and married Walshe in December 2015 in Boston, according to a longtime friend and public records.
Officials have declined to say who now has custody of the couple’s three children, the eldest of whom is 6. The state’s Department of Children and Families has not responded to a request for comment.
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 extremely concerned.
“It’s so bizarre and I’m really really worried about her,” Westbrook said.
In Cohasset, neighbors were unnerved by Monday’s revelations. Shannon Silvia, who lives across the street from the Walshe family, said officers had come to her door asking if anyone had seen anything or had surveillance camera footage.
“We woke up one day and there was just like police outside the house,” she said. “We had them searching in our yard in the stream over there.”
She did not know the couple but said the latest developments were “horrifying.”
“I was shocked, to be honest,” she said. “We never expected anything like this to happen here.”
Brendan McCarthy, Emily Sweeney, Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff and Correspondent Nick Stoico contributed to this report.
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Tonya Alanez can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @talanez. John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.