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Brian Walshe charged with murder in his wife’s disappearance

Brian Walshe appeared in Quincy District Court last week on a charge of misleading investigators in his wife's disappearance.Greg Derr/Pool

Brian R. Walshe was arraigned in Quincy District Court on Wednesday morning on charges of murder and disinterring a body. Updates will appear here.

Nearly two weeks after Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three, was reported missing by her co-workers, her husband, Brian R. Walshe, has been charged with her murder, Norfolk county prosecutors said Tuesday.

Walshe, currently held on $500,000 bail for allegedly misleading investigators in the case, could be arraigned on the murder charge as early as Wednesday morning, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said in a video statement.

“The continued investigation has now allowed police to obtain an arrest warrant charging Brian Walshe with the murder of his wife,” Morrissey said. “ . . . Additional details in the investigation, and the evidence in support of those charges, are likely to be presented at arraignment, but will not be disclosed at this time.”

In addition, Walshe was also charged with disinterring a body. Authorities did not comment further on the development behind the charges, including whether they have located Ana Walshe’s body. They have mounted an investigation that has spanned Cohasset, where the couple lived with their children, to Ana Walshe’s second home in Washington, D.C., where she worked for a high-end real estate firm.

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The search began as a missing person’s case, but on Jan. 9, when Brian Walshe was arraigned on a charge of misleading police, the investigation appeared to take a grim turn: a Norfolk prosecutor said police found blood in the basement of the couple’s home, along with a damaged knife with blood on it.

Later that day, detectives searched dumpsters at a Swampscott apartment complex where Brian Walshe’s mother lives, as well as a transfer station in Peabody, where they found a hacksaw and blood evidence, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the case.

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Walshe also paid $450 in cash for cleaning supplies on Jan. 2, the day after he said his wife left early on New Year’s Day for a flight to D.C., according to prosecutors.

His lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The second charge — disinterring a body — is a felony under state law, and is brought against any unauthorized individual who “willfully digs up, disinters, removes or conveys away a human body,” or who knowingly helps in doing so, according to the statute.

“We had held out hope that Ana was alive but the evidence led us in a much different direction,” Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley said in a statement. “I’m thankful that our detectives, working alongside detectives from the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, were able to bring closure for the family and friends of Ana. Now we will let the criminal justice system do [its] part.”

The couple’s three sons, who are 6 and under, are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. The state’s child protection agency, citing federal and state privacy laws, has declined to say whom the children will be living with.

The Walshes hosted Ana Walshe’s former employer, Gem Mutlu, on New Year’s Eve. Mutlu left around 1:30 a.m., according to court records.

In what authorities allege is the first of a series of lies and inaccurate information he provided to investigators, Brian Walshe told police that his wife told him she had a work emergency in Washington on New Year’s Day and left very early in the morning for Logan Airport. She used a rideshare or taxi, Brian Walshe allegedly told police.

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But authorities said there is no record of a rideshare or taxi at the home that day and determined that Ana Walshe never flew out of Logan on Jan. 1 or any day since.

Brian Walshe told police that he got lost on New Year’s Day while driving to his mother’s condo in Swampscott, according to prosecutors. He also told authorities that one of his sons had hidden his cellphone, preventing investigators from learning the exact route he took that day, prosecutors have said.

Walshe also claimed he went shopping at a nearby Whole Foods and CVS in Swampscott that day, but could not provide receipts and was not seen on security video at the time he said was at the stores, according to court records.

Walshe has had previous legal troubles. In 2021, he pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston to scamming a Los Angeles art collector out of $80,000 and has been under house arrest while awaiting sentencing. Under the terms of his house arrest, Walshe’s movements were supposed to be limited to shuttling his children to school or day care.

In the probe into his wife’s disappearance, Walshe told police he only left the house the next day — Jan. 2 — to buy his oldest son ice cream in Norwood, prosecutors said. But authorities allege that he went to the Home Depot in Rockland, where he bought tarps, tape, buckets, and mops. At the store, he wore a black mask and blue surgical gloves, according to prosecutors.

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The couple married in Boston in December 2015. But about eight months earlier, Ana Walshe — who was then known as Ana Knipp — told police in Washington, D.C., that Brian Walshe had threatened to kill her, according to a police report and a person briefed on the matter.

A man threatened her during a telephone call and said “he was going to kill (her) and her friend,” according to a police report. Brian Walshe was the person who made the call from Boston, an official familiar with the investigation said. She did not pursue criminal charges at the time, officials said.

Later, during Brian Walshe’s federal art fraud case, Ana Walshe wrote glowingly about her husband in a letter to the trial judge. She described how he saved her mother’s life in 2021, and how her husband was a role model for their three sons, she wrote.

“Brian has been teaching our young boys from [an] early age how important it is to share the joy and [contribute] time and resources,” Ana Walshe wrote. “Brian has been working consistently on breaking the past habits of his family and we are all looking forward to the new chapter of his life.”

John Hilliard and Dugan Arnett of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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See the Globe’s full coverage of this case.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.