Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three from Massachusetts, has been missing since sometime after having dinner with her husband and a friend on New Year’s Eve. The case has been under investigation for over a week.
Searches for Walshe have been unsuccessful, even as the investigation fanned out from the area of her home in Cohasset to other towns in the state.
The case took a turn when her husband, Brian Walshe, was arrested on Jan. 8 on a charge of misleading investigators.
While police have discovered some physical evidence they’re investigating, Ana Walshe herself has not been found. Here’s what we know so far.
Who is Ana Walshe?
A friend of Ana Walshe, Alissa Kirby, described her as “a loving wife and mother to, she always says, ‘three beautiful boys.'”
The Walshe family lives in Cohasset, about 45 minutes down the coast from Boston, but Ana Walshe spent workweeks in Washington, D.C. for her job as a real estate investment manager, CBS Boston reported. The family had a vehicle and townhouse in Washington, police have said.
In addition to keeping busy with work, friends say Ana Walshe was an active member of a Newton-based organization for immigrants in America called the Sky International Center.
The Walshes’ three young sons, ages 2, 4 and 6, are now in the custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families.
When was Ana Walshe reported missing?
Ana Walshe was reported missing on Jan. 4. Police Chief William Quigley said in a press conference said it was “simultaneously reported” by her husband Brian and by employees at her Washington, D.C. workplace.
“Officially we realized (Wednesday) that she was missing. We suspected maybe something Tuesday,” her friend Alissa Kirby, who lives in Washington, told CBS Boston.
Ana Walshe was last seen at her home on Jan. 1, according to police. Her husband said she took a rideshare to Boston’s Logan International Airport to fly to Washington, D.C., but there is no evidence that she got on the plane. Quigley said they also could not confirm that she was ever picked up by the vehicle.
Quigley said Brian Walshe said he did not see his wife leave the house because he was asleep at the time. Another family member saw her at the house at 4 or 5 in the morning, Quigley said, though he did not explain which family member that was.
“We’re not exactly sure” why there was a gap between when Ana Walshe was last seen and when she was reported missing, Quigley said. “It seems like it was a situation where … she does work in D.C. and it’s not abnormal for her to work long hours and not contact the home right away. That seems to be the case.”
Who is Ana Walshe’s husband and why was Brian Walshe arrested?
Ana Walshe’s husband, Brian Walshe, was on home confinement at the time of her disappearance, because of a federal conviction involving a scheme to sell fake Andy Warhol paintings. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, and possession of converted goods and unlawful monetary transaction, CBS Boston reported.
The station reports his house arrest bracelet was not equipped with GPS tracking and that he had an exemption that allowed him to take the couple’s three sons to school. Quigley said in his press conference that those charges were not related to Ana Walshe’s disappearance.
Police initially said that Brian Walshe was cooperating with their investigation into his wife’s disappearance, but on Jan. 8, he was charged with misleading investigators.
The Norfolk District Attorney’s office announced the arrest, saying that in the course of the investigation, police “developed probable cause to believe that … Brian Walshe had committed the crime of misleading police investigators.”
Brian Walshe has pled not guilty to charges and remains in jail on a $500,000 bond, according to CBS Boston.
What has the investigation into Ana Walshe’s disappearance found?
As the investigation has unfolded, information has come to light about Brian Walshe’s movements after his wife was last seen.
According to court documents from his arraignment, Walshe was seen on security camera footage purchasing $450 of cleaning supplies, including tarps and buckets, at a home improvement store while wearing a disposable mask and gloves on Jan. 2 — two days before Ana Walshe was reported missing but one day after she was last seen.
Brian Walshe had told police he had been to a supermarket and a pharmacy, but there is no evidence that he was at either store, Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Lynn Beland said in the hearing.
Another surveillance video showed him at a juice bar on the same day, and video footage reviewed by CBS Boston’s investigative team show Brian Walshe near a liquor store dumpster in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Sources told CBS Boston that no physical evidence was found there.
Physical evidence has been found in multiple other locations, including the couples’ Cohasset home and the woods behind the house. A broken knife and blood were found in the home’s basement, according to CBS Boston, but it hasn’t been confirmed whose blood it was.
Investigators also found trash bags with blood, a hatchet, a hacksaw, a rug and used cleaning supplies at a transfer station in Peabody, Massachusetts, sources told CBS Boston’s investigative team. Peabody is about 46 miles from Cohasset.
Sources told CBS Boston’s investigative team that Brian Walshe’s car has been impounded and showed signs of being recently cleaned.
CBS Boston also reports that investigators are reviewing an incident from August 2014 in which Ana Walshe, who was not yet married to Brian Walshe, claimed someone threatened to kill her and her friends. In a Washington, D.C. police report viewed by the station, she claimed the threat came from Brian Walshe over the phone. But no charges were filed after she refused to cooperate with the investigation.