[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Investigators have been combing through the trash near Ana Walshe‘s home in Cohasset, Massachusetts as they continue to determine the circumstances behind her disappearance.
Now, according to sources who spoke to CNN, police believe they have uncovered key pieces of evidence that may be linked to the woman vanishing. And police have made a major move in the case, too: they arrested her husband on charges of impeding the investigation into her status as a missing person.
As we’ve been reporting, the mom of three turned up missing more than a week ago from the small coastal town of Cohasset. Ana (pictured above, inset) was reportedly supposed to take a flight from Boston to Washington, D.C. on New Year’s Day, but never showed up for the plane. She was reported missing by her coworkers three days later, on January 4. That naturally led detectives to wonder what happened during that time period. Cops immediately questioned her husband Brian Walshe (pictured above during his arrest this week) and began looking for evidence.
Brian drew attention in the case after it came to light he had pleaded guilty in 2021 to selling two fake Andy Warhol paintings to an unsuspecting buyer for $80,000. He is awaiting an upcoming sentencing hearing in that federal fraud case, which is unrelated to this situation.
But now, according to law enforcement sources, things have changed. According to a report published by CNN on Tuesday, police investigators in the nearby city of Peabody found materials including “a hacksaw, torn-up cloth material and what appears to be bloodstains” in a trash bin in the city. Per the outlet, the materials were found at a local refuse processing plant as well as a public transportation transfer station in the town, which is north of Boston. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey also independently confirmed that “a number of items” of interest were found in those searches. They are now being processed and tested by forensic investigators.
In addition to the items’ discovery, law enforcement sources confirmed Brian has now been arrested in this case. Per the news outlet, he is being held on a charge of “misleading a police investigation.” According to the source, he has pleaded not guilty to that charge. Brian’s attorney declined comment when pressed by CNN on Tuesday afternoon.
Also new on Tuesday, sources told CNN that investigators are moving to collect blood samples from Ana’s sons. They hope to do this so they can have a “direct bloodline” to compare traces of blood that were found in the couple’s basement along with a “bloodied knife” they found in the home.
In light of all these new discoveries, police in Cohasset are taking a closer look at Brian’s behavior in the days before the missing persons report was filed. Notably, sources told the national news outlet that Brian’s internet records allegedly show searches for “how to dismember a body” and “how to dispose of a 115-pound woman’s body.” That, combined with the “bloodied knife” reportedly found in the home, has cops pressing hard for whether he knows where Ana may be.
Police haven’t yet shared much about Brian’s arrest. However, in an affidavit on the matter, they did note his statements about Ana delivered to detectives were “untruthful.” That has spurred further questions from investigators, who apparently felt they had enough to charge him.
In those prior statements to cops, Brian claimed Ana kissed him goodbye early on the morning of January 1. Then, he said, she told him to go back to sleep as she left in a ride share to the airport to fly to Washington for a “work emergency.” But cops have found no evidence Ana ever took a ride share that morning. Furthermore, prosecutors have said, her phone pinged near the family’s home later on January 1 and again on January 2.
In Brian’s arrest affidavit, cops noted:
“The fact that he was asked a specific question and he gave an untruthful answer that led investigators out of the area caused a clear delay in the search for the missing person, Ana Walshe.”
Brian had previously been ordered to home confinement pending the sentencing hearing in his aforementioned art fraud case. He was ordered by a judge to wear an ankle bracelet following that conviction, according to multiple media reports. He was also ordered to only leave the house if he received permission for specific activities at set locations and times.
However, the arrest affidavit claims Brian made “multiple unapproved trips” out of the house on the week of his wife’s disappearance. In one of those trips, he was shown on security camera footage going to Home Depot. Once there, prosecutors claim he purchased a surgical mask, surgical gloves, and “about $450 in cleaning supplies,” including a bucket, a mop, and tarps.
Now, as Brian faces the misleading charge, his bail has been set by a judge at $500,000. His next court hearing in this case is scheduled for February 9.
Meanwhile, the couple’s three children — ages 2, 4, and 6 — are being held in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, according to a spokesperson for that organization. Ana’s friends are trying to hold out hope that the mother will be found safe. In a statement to CNN, family friend Peter Kirby said:
“We are devastated. Ana is such a beacon of love and Joy. She lights up every room. We miss her and are doing everything we can to support her 3 beautiful children.”
Here is the latest on Brian’s arrest and the ongoing search for Ana (below):
We sincerely hope police get to the bottom of this investigation.
Such a terrible situation for Ana and those three young children. Our hearts break…
[Image via WCVB Channel 5 Boston/YouTube]