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As search for missing Massachusetts mother Ana Walshe continues, documents show criticisms of her husband

<i>Courtesy Peter Kirby</i><br/>Prosecutors accused Brian Walshe of misleading investigators about his actions around the time his wife Ana Walshe went missing.
Courtesy Peter Kirby
Prosecutors accused Brian Walshe of misleading investigators about his actions around the time his wife Ana Walshe went missing.

By Amanda Watts and Eric Levenson, CNN

Days after the husband of missing Massachusetts mother Ana Walshe was arrested on a charge of misleading investigators, details of his tumultuous legal history are beginning to emerge.

Ana Walshe told police in 2014 someone threatened to “kill (her) and her friend,” according to an incident report CNN obtained from the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. A spokesperson for the department confirmed that Brian Walshe was the person involved in the report.

The report was filed by Ana Walshe — then Ana Knipp — when she resided in Washington, DC. The case was later closed because the victim refused to cooperate with the prosecution, the spokesperson said.

In 2019, Brian Walshe, 47, was described by relatives and family friends as an angry and dishonest person who had swindled money from his father, Dr. Thomas Walshe, and had been disinherited, according to affidavits filed that year during a dispute over his father’s estate.

“Brian is not a trustworthy person and his Affidavit is based on lies and misrepresentations,” wrote Jeffrey Ornstein, who said he was a close friend of the father and had roomed with Brian Walshe. Ornstein also wrote Brian Walshe was “diagnosed as a sociopath” and had been a long-term patient at a psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Brian Walshe is “a very angry and physically violent person,” Dr. Fred Pescatore, who said he was a longtime friend of the deceased father, wrote in his affidavit. He, too, noted the estrangement between father and son was due to “Brian being a sociopath.”

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

The sharp criticisms offer further insight into the man as investigators continue searching for his wife, who has not been seen since around the new year. The mother of three was reported missing by her workplace on January 4, but a sweeping two-day search of the small coastal town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, turned up no sign of her.

Brian Walshe told police he last saw his wife on January 1 when she left for a flight to Washington, DC and said he spent the next day running errands and spending time with his kids. But investigators allege he provided an intentionally false timeline of his actions that hampered the search. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of misleading investigators.

Investigators have found possible grim evidence: 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.

Further details also have emerged about the woman at the center of the mystery, Ana Walshe, the mother of three children between ages 2 and 6.

She was “an absolute radiant spirit, the kind of person that when you walk into a room, you just feel her energy,” Pamela Bardhi, a friend, told CNN on Thursday. “She’s a brilliant businesswoman and what I like to call a supermom.”

Ana Walshe would travel from Cohasset to DC during the week for her real estate job at Tishman Speyer and then return home on weekends, Bardhi said.

“She has been a power woman and just a businesswoman, as long as I’ve known her,” Bardhi said. “She never talked about anything personal. 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.

“Personally, I never saw any indication of any issues at home,” she added.

The couple’s three children are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, according to a spokesperson. Two of Ana Walshe’s friends — Pamela Bardhi and Natasha Sky — told CNN that several local families have stepped forward and offered to take in the children so that they can remain together.

The community held an interfaith prayer vigil for the family on Thursday.

Husband’s legal history unfolds

Brian Walshe’s legal history includes the unsuccessful fight over his father’s will as well as federal fraud charges.

His father, who headed the neurology division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for over a decade, died in 2018 in India, according to court documents.

Dr. Walshe bequeathed to Brian only his “best wishes” and “nothing else” from his estate, noting that he was no longer in contact with his son, according to photographs of the will included in court documents.

However, Brian Walshe objected in an affidavit 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.”

He also claimed that he and his father had been estranged over the years but had “reconnected” in 2015 and began “speaking regularly” in 2016. He also claimed the two properties tied up in the estate had an estimated value of over $1 million.

In their affidavits rejecting those claims, his father’s nephew and friends detailed years of alleged swindling and manipulation by Brian Walshe.

“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 an affidavit.

“He had a severe falling out with his son… Brian had ran off with a significant amount of his money; he had had almost zero contact with Brian R. Walshe over the last ten plus years,” Andrew Walshe added.

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

He allegedly took real paintings from a friend to sell, but never did, according to the documents. He did not compensate the friend for the art either, prosecutors alleged.

In 2021 he pleaded guilty to three federal fraud charges and has been on house arrest and monitoring as he awaits sentencing.

In a letter to the federal judge hearing the case, Walshe said he was “extremely sorry” for his past conduct and promised he had changed since the crime was committed. Ana Walshe also wrote a letter to the court that she was grateful he was able to remain under house arrest during case proceedings.

Wife’s disappearance is ‘suspicious,’ prosecutor says

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Tuesday that police were searching areas north of Boston on Monday in the “suspicious disappearance” of Ana Walshe.

“A number of items” were collected in the searches and were sent for testing, the district attorney said in a statement. He declined to provide details on the items.

Law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday that investigators sifting through trash at a Peabody, Massachusetts, transfer station found materials that may be related to the case, including a hacksaw, torn-up cloth material and what appears to be bloodstains.

Crime scene tape was also placed around dumpsters in an apartment complex near the home of Brian Walshe’s mother in Swampscott, about 15 miles north of Boston, the source told CNN. Brian Walshe told police he went to visit his mother on January 1, the day he told police he last saw his wife, according to the affidavit.

But police allege many of the statements Brian Walshe made to investigators were “untruthful.”

Brian Walshe told investigators he last saw his wife the morning of January 1, when she said she needed to fly to Washington, DC, for a work emergency, according to an affidavit from police.

However, investigators found no evidence that his wife took her usual rideshare to the airport or got on a flight that day. Her phone also pinged near the house on January 1 and 2, according to commonwealth prosecutor Lynn Beland.

He made multiple 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.

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 traces of blood found in the couple’s basement.

Brian Walshe is being held on a $500,000 bail and 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 Sara Smart, John Miller, Elizabeth Wolfe, Jason Carroll and Hope Howard contributed to this report.

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