Ana Walshe case update: Hacksaw, bloodstains found in trash amid search for missing mom, sources say

ByJohn Miller, Amanda Watts and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, CNNWire
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Investigators suspect missing mom may have been killed
Investigators recently uncovered new information that turned their focus from a missing persons search to suspicions that Ana Walshe may have been killed.

COHASSET, Mass. -- After the disappearance of Ana Walshe in Massachusetts, investigators continue uncovering bloodied evidence they believe may be connected to her case.

In the week since her workplace reported the mother of three missing on January 4, investigators in the coastal town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, have launched a two-day ground search, scoured the family's home and dug through piles of trash looking for any clues to her whereabouts.

Investigators have already uncovered possible evidence, including a bloody knife at the home, prosecutors said, and a hacksaw and apparent bloodstains in Boston-area trash, according to law enforcement sources. Earlier discoveries included searches in her husband's internet records related to how to dispose of and dismember a body, law enforcement sources have said.

WATCH | Blood, knife found in missing Massachusetts mom's home

Ana Walshe, 39, of Cohasset, Massachusetts, was last seen early in the morning on January 1, 2023.

Prosecutors have said her disappearance is "suspicious" and accused the husband, Brian Walshe, of misleading police to slow the investigation and allow him to clean up evidence.

Brian Walshe, 47, has been charged with misleading investigators in the case, as police say he gave them a false timeline of his activities and whereabouts around the time his wife went missing. He has pleaded not guilty.

RELATED | Husband of missing Massachusetts mom arrested for misleading police investigation, authorities say

Law enforcement sources told CNN they expect to have the district attorney empanel a grand jury to begin hearing witnesses, seeing videos and issuing subpoenas for records.

It's just the latest legal issue for Brian Walshe. He has separately pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and is on house arrest while he awaits sentencing in that case.

In a letter to a federal judge in that case in 2021, he promised he had changed for the better.

"I have created a contract for myself: 'I am an honest, courageous, loving leader.' I repeat this contract to myself on a daily basis," he wrote. "Because of that support and training I am unwavering in always being (true to) my word and responsible for all actions direct and indirect."

Possible evidence in Ana Walshe case found in trash, family home

Law enforcement have searched the home of Ana and Brian Walshe as well as areas north of Boston, the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Tuesday. The Walshes' hometown is about 20 miles south of Boston.

The searches north of Boston uncovered "a number of items" which will be tested to determine if they are related to the case, the district attorney's office said. The office did not share details about the items.

RELATED | Missing Massachusetts mom hasn't been seen since New Year's Day, police say

Law enforcement sources told CNN that investigators combing through trash at a transfer station in Peabody -- a city about 20 miles north of Boston -- found materials they believe could be linked to Ana Walshe's disappearance, including a hacksaw, torn up cloth and what appeared to be bloodstains.

Crime scene tape was placed around dumpsters at an apartment complex Monday night in the nearby town of Swampscott, close to the home of Brian Walshe's mother, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation said. The husband told police he visited his mother on January 1, the day he said he last saw his wife, according to an affidavit.

A bloodied, broken knife and bloodstains were also found in a search of the family's basement, prosecutors said.

Investigators hope to collect blood samples from the Walshes' sons so they have a "direct bloodline" sample to compare against the traces found in the basement, law enforcement sources said.

Brian Walshe's attorney declined to comment to CNN.

The husband's internet records also included searches for "how to dispose of a 115-pound woman's body" and how to dismember a body, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.

WATCH | Husband of missing mother arrested

The husband of Ana Walshe, the Massachusetts woman reported missing, was arrested Sunday for misleading a police investigation, authorities announced.

Ana Walshe's husband's timeline doesn't add up, police say

The search for Ana Walshe began after her concerned coworkers at the real estate company Tishman Speyer reported her missing on January 4, prosecutors said.

Brian Walshe's attorney said in court Monday that the husband had reached out to her office in Washington, DC, to say he had not heard from her.

In statements to police, Brian Walshe said he last saw his wife the morning of January 1. She told him she needed to fly to Washington, DC, for a work emergency, the husband told investigators, according to the affidavit.

"Ana got ready and kissed him goodbye and told him to go back to sleep," he told police, according to the affidavit.

She would typically take a rideshare or taxi to the airport, he told investigators.

But investigators found no evidence of Ana Walshe taking a rideshare from their house that morning or getting on a flight out of Boston, prosecutors said in court Monday. Her phone also pinged near the home on January 1 and 2, according to commonwealth prosecutor Lynn Beland.

"These various statements caused a delay in the investigation," Beland alleged in court. "During the time frame when he didn't report his wife, he gave various statements that allowed him time to either clean up evidence (or) dispose of evidence."

Brian Walsh is under home-confinement conditions as he awaits sentencing on his prior fraud conviction, so he is required to get approval to leave the house at specific times and for particular locations and activities.

He told police he had approval to visit his mother in Swampscott on January 1 and said he ran errands for her at the local Whole Foods and CVS that afternoon, the affidavit says.

Investigators allege those trips "did not occur," citing their review of video from the stores, the affidavit says.

Brian Walshe also made several unapproved trips the week of his wife's disappearance, according to the affidavit, including to a Home Depot where he was seen on surveillance video wearing a surgical mask and surgical gloves and making a cash purchase. In court Monday, prosecutors alleged he spent about $450 on cleaning supplies, including mops, a bucket and tarps.

"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," the affidavit states.

At his arraignment Monday, a Quincy District Court judge set Walshe's bail at $500,000 cash. He is set to appear back in court on February 9.

Husband pleaded guilty to federal fraud

Brian Walshe was indicted on federal fraud charges in 2018 for allegedly selling fake Andy Warhol paintings online, according to court documents.

FBI investigators alleged Brian or Ana Walshe used her eBay account to sell the paintings in November 2016, less than a year after they were married. The complaint does not charge Ana Walshe with wrongdoing, but states that she spoke to the person who purchased the fakes after the buyer learned the paintings were not authentic and located her work number.

Prosecutors also alleged Brian Walshe took real artwork from a friend to sell, but never did. He did not compensate the friend for the art, prosecutors alleged.

In October 2018, Walshe was indicted by a federal grand jury on four charges in the case, including wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, possession of converted goods and unlawful monetary transaction.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to three of the four counts in exchange for a recommended sentence from prosecutors of incarceration, supervised release, fines, restitution and forfeiture, documents show. He also agreed to either return the artworks or pay for them.

According to the online docket, the case remains open as the judge has not formally sentenced him, while the US Attorney's Office investigates Brian Walshe's finances.

In a letter to the court dated June 1, 2022, Ana Walshe said she was grateful her husband was able to remain at home as his art fraud case weaved through federal court.

"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," she wrote.

Anyone with information about Walshe's whereabouts is asked to contact Det. Harrison Schmidt at 781-383-1055 extension 6108 or email

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