fb-pixelInvestigators in missing Cohasset woman case found hacksaw and blood evidence during search of trash at Peabody transfer station on Monday - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Investigators in missing Cohasset woman case found hacksaw and blood evidence during search of trash at Peabody transfer station on Monday

Investigators searched a garbage transfer station in Peabody on Monday.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Investigators searching for clues in the disappearance of Ana Walshe recovered “a number of items” in dumpsters north of Boston on Monday, officials said.

Authorities searched dumpsters in Swampscott near the home of Brian R. Walshe’s mother, a transfer station in Peabody, along with a waste-to-energy facility south of Boston in Wareham, officials said.

The recovered items will undergo forensic testing as part of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of the Cohasset mother of three, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office said Tuesday.

Ana Walshe, 39, was last seen by a friend early on New Year’s Day morning. Her husband, Brian Walshe, 47, is currently being held on $500,000 cash bail for allegedly misleading police who have been searching for the real estate executive since she was reported missing by co-workers on Jan. 4.

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On Monday, investigators traveled to a condominium development where Brian Walshe’s mother, Diana, lives. Officers draped crime scene tape across a dumpster there and also searched the trash facility in Peabody, about an hour’s drive from Cohasset.

Two law enforcement officials who were briefed on the case said investigators recovered a hacksaw and blood evidence in trash at the Peabody transfer station.

Also Monday, investigators traveled to the Southeastern Massachusetts Resource Recovery Facility in Wareham, where they reviewed video footage of trucks coming in to the property but didn’t take any items, the facility confirmed Tuesday.

“Search activity conducted north of Boston yesterday resulted in a number of items being collected which will now be subject to processing and testing to determine if they are of evidentiary value to this investigation,” David Traub, a spokesman for Morrissey, said Tuesday by e-mail.

Detectives from Cohasset and State Police spent much of the day Tuesday at the Walshe’s home on Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Cohasset, where they completed the search and processing of the scene, according to Morrissey’s office. They had been at the property since Sunday.

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The Walshe couple has three boys, the eldest of whom is 6, who are now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, an agency spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to The Boston Globe on Tuesday. Citing state and federal privacy laws, no further information was released.

Tracy A. Miner, who is representing Brian Walshe in separate cases in federal and state courts, would not comment Tuesday.

Walshe remained in custody Tuesday at the Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham.

In Belgrade, where Ana Walshe is from, her mother said in an interview Monday that Walshe pleaded with her to come to the United States a week before she disappeared.

Milanka Ljubicic, who lives in Belgrade, told Fox News Digital that Walshe urged her in a Christmas Day text message to visit her in Washington, D.C., the following day.

“She just said, ‘Please, mama. Come tomorrow,’” Ljubicic said. “Which means, that clearly, there must have been some problems.”

Ljubicic said she wasn’t able to leave on such short notice, and that Walshe did not give any reason for asking her to come to the United States.

Serbia’s Consulate General office in New York City has been in contact with investigators in Massachusetts, according to Olgica Vlacic, the acting consul general.

Ana Walshe was born Ana Ljubicic in Belgrade, and holds both US and Serbian citizenship, according to Vlacic. She would visit the New York office for consular services, Vlacic said in an e-mail Tuesday.

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“We remember her as [a] lovely young woman. Having met her, we are all in disbelief that this is happening to her,” Vlacic said.

The case has drawn widespread attention in Serbia: “Everyone in Serbia is praying for [Ana Walshe’s] safe return,” she said.

“In these difficult times, our hearts go out to her family and her three young sons who stand to suffer the greatest loss if Ana does not return,” Vlacic said.

In Quincy District Court on Monday, where Brian Walshe pleaded not guilty to a single count of misleading police, prosecutors have said they discovered blood and a damaged knife with blood on it in the basement of the couple’s home.

No new charges have been filed against Walshe as a result of the items recovered on Sunday, Traub said.

Authorities have said Walshe provided changing and false accounts of his interactions with his wife dating back to the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, when he claimed she told him she had to fly to Washington, D.C., because of a work emergency, according to a police report.

Walshe said his wife usually took a ride share or taxi to Logan Airport, but Norfolk First Assistant District Attorney Lynn M. Beland said in court there are no records Ana Walshe hired a ride-share 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, she said.

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On Jan. 2, Brian Walshe told investigators he only left his house to take one of his sons to get ice cream, authorities said. But investigators learned he went to a Home Depot in Rockland and purchased $450 in cleaning supplies, including mops, buckets, tarps, tape, and drop cloths, Beland said.

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 in the area of the Cohasset address on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 but has since gone quiet.

Brian Walshe’s bail was set at $500,000, and he is due back in court on Feb 9.

Walshe is also awaiting sentencing in federal court in Boston for scamming a Los Angeles art collector who paid $80,000 for two Andy Warhol paintings that were later determined to be fake.

Authorities have said they do not see a connection between the Warhol case and his wife’s disappearance.

See the Globe’s full coverage of this case.


Mike Bello and Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.



John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him @JREbosglobe.