Cops have found blood and a bloody knife in the basement of missing Cohasset mother Ana Walshe’s house, and police say her art-fraudster husband misled officers about going to Home Depot to buy $450 of cleaning supplies the day after she vanished.
Brian Walshe, 47, was held on $500,000 bail on a charge of misleading police. That’s on top of a federal detainer issued for him now in his art-forgery case that he’s soon to be sentenced for.
Walshe has pleaded not guilty to this charge, the only one he currently faces in the disappearance of his wife, as his defense attorney pointed out Monday.
Ana Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three and native Serb, remains missing.
Ana Walshe disappeared on New Years, sparking international headlines. Even CNN issued a push notification about this latest update, which included allegations that cops had found blood in the couple’s home’s basement, and that they’d found a bloody, damaged knife.
On Jan. 1, according to Brian Walshe, his wife was heading out early for a flight down to Washington, D.C., for work. He would later tell cops, according to charging documents, that she’d briefly woken him up to kiss him goodbye, hopped in a ride-share or taxi, and, according to him, that was the last he heard before he and her employees in D.C. started to get worried and called the police a few days later.
The Norfolk District Attorney’s office now says that significant elements of that aren’t true, and that Walshe — who’s on house arrest and GPS monitoring for the federal case — either lied about or did not disclose several trips in the first two days of this new year.
Assistant DA Lynn Peland, who spoke at the arraignment Monday morning in Quincy District Court, said they can’t find evidence of a ride-share trip or taxi ride, and that Ana Walshe’s plane ticket went unused. What’s more, Peland added, is that her phone was still pinging near the Walshe household on Chief Justice Cushing Highway on Jan. 1 and 2.
After cops started investigating the disappearance Jan. 3, they told Brian Walshe to tell them everywhere he’d been over those couple of days because “he would naturally be suspected of harming his wife due to her disappearance and they would need to account for his whereabouts,” according to the police affidavit.
He ran them through his New Year’s Day, during which he said he drove up to his mother’s house in Swampscott but didn’t have his phone and “got lost,” making the trip take longer. There, according to the police report, he ran some errands for her to CVS and Whole Foods.
The feds allow him out of the house during school drop-off and pick-up times to get his kids, but Jan. 2 didn’t have school, so he said he used the morning window to take the kids out for ice cream, and that’s it.
The only correct part of that travel schedule appears to be the ice cream trip, prosecutors said.
The authorities say that upon reviewing hours of video at the CVS and Whole Foods, Walshe was nowhere to be found. His phone was found to be pinging in Abington and Brockton at some points during last week, places that aren’t authorized spots under the federal pre-sentencing probation conditions, which is what authorities said appear to be a probation violation and are leading to a federal detainer request.
And cops say that video shows Walshe during the would-be afternoon pick-up slot on Monday when he took a trip he didn’t disclose to them: a venture to the Rockland Home Depot, where, clad in a mask and gloves, he paid $450 in cash for “cleaning supplies,” as the prosecutor put it in court.
Cops in the house found a damaged, bloody knife and blood in the basement of the home, Peland said, though he’s not specifically charged with anything related to violent crime at this point.
Prosecutors sought $500,000 cash bail, and Judge Mark Coven granted it. Walshe’s defense attorney sought no bail, saying that “he’s been incredibly cooperative” and “he’s not charged with murder.”
“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,” Cohasset detectives wrote in the court documents made public Monday.
The case caught the public’s eye as strange happenings of the glamorous and wealthy do, but it also was particularly striking due to the bizarre sequence of events.
For one, Brian Walshe is convicted of federal wire fraud for his role in importing forged Andy Warhol paintings into the country and selling them on his wife’s eBay account. Next up for him is sentencing in that case.
And then what further drew news helicopters down to the swanky banks of the Irish Riviera was when the Walshe’s former home, which they’d just moved out of, caught ablaze just as the case was getting media attention. News choppers then showed cops draining the couple’s swimming pool and poking around there.
On Monday, NBC 10 cameras outside his mother’s home in Swampscott showed cops up there probing a dumpster as other cops and their police dogs combed the area around the Cohasset digs. He was smiling outside the courthouse, the NBC10 photographer spotted.