Husband of missing Massachusetts mother Ana Walshe was accused of threatening to kill her and a friend in 2014, police report shows
By Elizabeth Wolfe, Sara Smart, Rashard Rose and Amanda Watts, CNN
Nearly a decade before Ana Walshe went missing, the mother of three told police the man who would later become her husband, Brian Walshe, threatened to kill her and a friend, according to a police report.
Ana Walshe — who has not been seen since around New Year’s — reported the death threat in 2014, telling police that someone said over the phone he “was going to kill (her) and her friend,” according to a DC Metropolitan Police Department incident report obtained by CNN.
The police department confirmed Brian Walshe was the person involved in the report, which was filed by Ana Walshe — then Ana Knipp — when she lived in Washington, DC.
The case was later closed because the victim refused to cooperate in the prosecution, police told CNN.
CNN has reached out to Brian Walshe’s attorney.
Since Ana Walshe, 39, was reported missing by her coworkers on January 4, authorities in the small coastal enclave of Cohasset, Massachusetts, have accused her husband of providing a false timeline of his actions around her disappearance, alleging he intended to hinder their investigation.
Brian Walshe told police he last saw his wife the morning of January 1 when she left to fly to Washington, DC, and said he spent the next two days running errands for his mother and spending time with his children, according to a police affidavit. But police allege he lied about the errands, and prosecutors say he was seen the following day at a Home Depot paying cash for about $450 of cleaning supplies.
The 47-year-old husband was arrested Sunday on a charge of misleading investigators, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Details of Brian Walshe’s tumultuous legal history have also emerged in recent days, revealing harsh criticisms of him made by a relative and family friends during a 2019 dispute over his father’s will. In affidavits submitted by his father’s nephew and close friends, Brian is described as a dishonest, “very angry and physically violent person.” The two close friends also described him as a “sociopath,” the affidavits show.
CNN has reached out to current and previous attorneys for Brian Walshe regarding the claims but has not heard back.
So far, investigators have uncovered several pieces of potential evidence in his wife’s disappearance: blood and a bloody knife in the family’s basement, according to prosecutors; Brian Walshe’s internet records showing searches for how to dismember and dispose of a body, according to law enforcement sources; and a hacksaw and apparent bloodstains at a trash collection site, law enforcement sources said.
The couple’s three children — between ages 2 and 6 — are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, according to a spokesperson. Several local families have also offered to take them in so that they can remain together, two of Ana Walshe’s friends, Pamela Bardhi and Natasha Sky, told CNN.
Ana Walshe is ‘an absolute radiant spirit,’ friend says
An interfaith prayer vigil was held in Cohasset on Thursday for Ana Walshe and her family, as those close to her grapple with the uncertainty of her disappearance.
“My stomach went upside down,” Ana Walshe’s friend and former colleague Pamela Bardhi said of hearing she was missing.
Walshe is “an absolute radiant spirit, the kind of person that when you walk into a room, you just feel her energy,” Bardhi told CNN’s Don Lemon. “She is all about elevation. She’s a brilliant businesswoman and what I like to call a supermom.”
Bardhi said she understood that Walshe would travel to Washington, DC, during the week for her corporate real estate job and return to her family in Massachusetts on the weekends.
“Personally, I never saw any indication of any issues at home,” Bardhi said.
“She never talked about anything personal,” Bardhi added. “She never talked about pain. She never really talked about her husband much. It was all about her kids and business and elevation and how she could help other people.”
Ana Walshe’s family friend Peter Kirby described her as “a beacon of love and Joy” in a statement to CNN. “She lights up every room. We miss her and are doing everything we can to support her 3 beautiful children.”
Where the investigation stands
In just over a week since Ana Walshe was reported missing, state and local investigators have scoured the town, sifted through heaps of trash and sent several pieces of potential evidence for testing as they try to piece together the facts of the case.
A “number of items” that could be evidence were found in searches north of Boston and sent for forensic testing, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement Tuesday.
Brian Walshe told investigators he ran errands for his mother at two stores in Swampscott, about 15 miles north of Boston, on the day he said he last saw his wife, a police affidavit says. Police, however, allege those trips to the shops never happened.
And while investigators say Brian Walshe’s claim that he spent the next day with his children is accurate, they allege he also made an undisclosed trip to Home Depot where he was seen on surveillance video wearing a surgical mask and surgical gloves and making a cash purchase. Prosecutors said in court Monday that he bought about $450 worth of cleaning supplies, including mops and tarps.
The husband — who must get trips outside his home approved as he awaits sentencing in a prior federal fraud case — made a number of unapproved trips the week of his wife’s disappearance, the affidavit says.
Investigators also say Ana Walshe’s phone pinged near the couple’s house on January 1 and 2, according to prosecutor Lynn Beland, despite her husband’s claim that she left to catch a flight to Washington, DC, the morning of January 1.
On Monday, investigators placed crime scene tape around dumpsters near the home of Brian Walshe’s mother in Swampscott and dug through trash at a transfer station in nearby Peabody, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation.
At the Peabody site, they found a hacksaw, torn-up cloth material and what appeared to be bloodstains, law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday.
Further, a search of the Walshe’s home revealed blood stains and a damaged, bloody knife in the basement, according to Beland. Law enforcement sources told CNN that investigators hope to collect blood samples from the couple’s sons so they have a “direct bloodline” sample to compare against bloodied evidence in the case.
Brian Walshe is being held on a $500,000 cash bail for the charge of misleading investigators and is set to appear in court on February 9.
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CNN’s John Miller and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.