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Husband of missing Massachusetts mother was described as a ‘sociopath’ in battle over his father’s will

<i>WCVB/Cohasset Police</i><br/>
WCVB/Cohasset Police

By Amanda Watts, CNN

Brian Walshe, the husband of the missing Massachusetts mother Ana Walshe, was described as a “sociopath” and “not a trustworthy person” in affidavits filed during a legal dispute over his father’s estate, according to court documents.

Dr. Thomas Walshe, who headed the neurology division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for over a decade, died in 2018 in India, according to the documents, filed in Plymouth Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts.

“My Uncle’s Last Will and Testament confirms what he had told many people over the years that he did not want his son, Brian, to inherit anything from his Estate,” wrote Andrew Walshe, the estate’s executor and one of Dr. Walshe’s nephews, in a petition to the court.

“Brian is not only a sociopath but also a very angry and physically violent person,” Dr. Fred Pescatore, who said he was a longtime friend of Dr. Walshe, wrote in another affidavit.

The court documents offer fresh insights as investigators search for the whereabouts of Ana Walshe, a mother of three who has been missing since around New Year’s, and have accused Brian Walshe of misleading police about his actions around the time of her disappearance.

In the week since her workplace reported her 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 what happened to her.

They 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.

Brian Walshe, 47, has pleaded not guilty to misleading investigators in the case.

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.

What the legal battle shows

In a will drafted in 2016, Dr. Walshe noted that he was not in contact with Brian, to whom he bequeathed only his “best wishes” and “nothing else” from his estate, according to photographs of the document attached to court documents. Instead, the doctor listed several of his nieces and nephews and his sister as beneficiaries.

However, Brian Walshe unsuccessfully contested the will and filed an affidavit of objections In November 2019, arguing that he was “one of only two legal heirs” to his father’s estate. He said his father’s health had been “very poor” when he signed what Brian described as a “suspect” will, and he suggested his father’s signature on the document was a “possible forgery.”

Three affidavits filed by family and friends in response suggest the relationship between father and son had been strained in the years preceding Dr. Walshe’s death and detail years of alleged swindling and manipulation.

An affidavit filed by Jeffrey Ornstein said he had been a close friend of Dr. Walshe for more than 35 years and noted that he and Brian had once lived together in an apartment in Manhattan.

“Brian is not a trustworthy person and his Affidavit is based on lies and misrepresentations,” Ornstein wrote.

“Brian had been a long term patient at Austen Riggs Center — Psychiatric hospital,” he wrote, and had been “diagnosed as a sociopath.”

The Austen Riggs Center is a psychiatric treatment facility in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which provides treatment with “intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy four times a week with a doctoral-level clinician,” according to its website.

In another affidavit, Dr. Pescatore wrote, “I wanted no involvement with Brian in any way shape and manner.”

“Brian stole money from Tom and swindled him out of almost one million dollars,” he wrote. The father/son “estrangement” was due to “Brian being a sociopath,” according to Pescatore.

Pescatore detailed an incident he said he witnessed during an overseas trip in which Brian Walshe became enraged after guards said he attempted to smuggle antiquities. Brian “picked up a stanchion and literally attempted to kill four or five guards,” the affidavit states.

In his affidavit, Brian Walshe claimed that he and his father had been estranged over the years but had “reconnected” in 2015. The two began “speaking regularly” in 2016, he claimed.

CNN has reached out to current and previous attorneys for Brian Walshe but has not heard back.

Brian Walshe said in the affidavit that the two estates tied up in the petition — one in Massachusetts and another on the island of Montserrat — had an estimated value over $1 million.

Other legal issues

The battle over his father’s estate was one of a number of legal issues for Brian Walshe.

In October 2018, Walshe was indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges for allegedly selling two fake works of art by Andy Warhol.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to three 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. He had been under house arrest and put on monitoring as part of his pre-sentence probation.

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.”

In addition, Ana Walshe wrote in a letter to the court she was grateful her husband was able to remain at home as his 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.

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.

He told police he ran errands for his mother at a Whole Foods and CVS in Swampscott later that day, the affidavit says. But Investigators allege those trips “did not occur,” citing their review of video from the stores, the affidavit says.

Brian Walshe 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 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.

“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.”

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.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Eric Levenson, John Miller, Jason Carroll and Kiely Westhoff contributed to this report.

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