Massachusetts authorities on Tuesday announced murder charges against Brian Walshe, nearly two weeks after his real estate executive wife mysteriously vanished.
Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three, disappeared without a trace on Jan. 1. Her husband at first cooperated with police, but on Jan. 9 was charged with impeding the investigation and detained on $500,000 bond. Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said in a statement that Walshe, who has been jailed since his earlier arrest, could be arraigned in court on the murder charge as soon as 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Walshe, a 47-year-old tax consultant and convicted art fraudster who pleaded guilty in 2021 to unloading a pair of bogus Andy Warhol paintings on an unsuspecting art dealer for $80,000, told investigators that his wife left early in the morning on New Year’s Day for her job in Washington, D.C., after she was called into work for an emergency.
But Ana Walshe never got on a plane that day, and worried coworkers finally called police on Jan. 4—a day after she was originally scheduled to fly into town, and before Brian Walshe notified anyone that anything was amiss.
Detectives subsequently discovered blood and a bloody knife in the basement of the Walshes’ home in the Boston suburb of Cohasset. They retraced Walshe’s steps and found he visited a local Home Depot on Jan. 2, spending $450 on mops, tarps, tape, buckets, and drop cloths, prosecutors said. A few days later, cops reportedly found trash bags containing blood, a rug, a hatchet, a hacksaw, and used cleaning supplies at a waste transfer station in Peabody, about 90 minutes north of Cohasset.
Walshe offered his version of events when police showed up Jan. 4 at the couple’s home to do a wellness check on Ana. He claimed she left home around 4 or 5 a.m. on Jan. 1, while he was still sleeping.
Later that day, Walshe claimed, he drove to his mother’s house in the town of Swampscott, but got lost because he had left his phone behind, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court on the lying charge. He also told cops he ran errands on Jan. 1 at Whole Foods and CVS, but prosecutors said he was not seen on security cameras at either location and that Walshe was unable to provide receipts verifying his story.
He was, however, seen the next day on surveillance cameras at Home Depot, where he allegedly bought hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning supplies, the affidavit states. Yet, Walshe told investigators that the only time he left the house on Jan. 2 was to take one of his and Ana’s three young boys out for ice cream.
“These various statements caused a delay in the investigation,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Beland said last week. “...That allowed him time to either clean up evidence, dispose of evidence, and causing a delay.”
Nevertheless, Walshe’s defense attorney, Tracy Miner, said in court that her client “has been incredibly cooperative.”
The case has reverberated across the nation, and continues to rattle area residents. Walshe has pleaded not guilty to misleading investigators.
Numerous questions remain unanswered, including the whereabouts of Ana Walshe—or her body.
“They have to have something on him, because [what they’ve released so far] is pretty circumstantial,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant who now teaches at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Walshe, who in 2018 was accused of stealing nearly $1 million from his late father’s estate, is a “very calculated” person, Ron Rivlin, the buyer of the fake Warhols, previously told The Daily Beast. A longtime family friend who has known Walshe since he was a child, described him as entitled, and said he “never thought the rules applied to him, like he was above it all.” Before dropping out of Carnegie Mellon University during his freshman year, Walshe spent time as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed as a “sociopath,” according to probate court filings.
“I… went on a trip to China with Brian and Tom and my partner at the time,” a friend of Walshe’s estranged father attested in an affidavit filed amid a 2019 court battle over Thomas Walshe’s will. “I witnessed firsthand what Brian was capable of. I saw Brian attempt to smuggle out antiquities from China. When Brian was confronted, he picked up a stanchion and literally attempted to kill four or five guards that had come to talk to him about his crime. Brian is not only a sociopath but also a very angry and physically violent person.”