(CNN) — Police in the small seaside town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, are investigating the disappearance of a woman whose husband searched online for instructions on how to dispose of the body, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. In addition, according to the prosecution, they found blood and a bloody knife in the basement of the couple’s home.
Anna Walshe, a 39-year-old mother of three, was reported missing by co-workers on January 4, after which police questioned her husband Brian Walshe, 47, about his actions and movements in the days prior.
However, many of his statements were “false”, the police said in an affidavit.
Brian Walshe has been criminally charged with misleading investigators in the case, while police continue to search for his wife. Walshe – who is awaiting sentencing on a prior federal fraud conviction – has pleaded not guilty.
Two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation said investigators recently uncovered new information that moved them from a missing-person search to a suspicion that Anna Walshe may have been murdered, in which her husband was murdered. Also included is an Internet log, which shows searches on dismemberment and “how to dispose of 52 kg female body”.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement that Monday’s searches north of Boston found “various items” that are being processed and analyzed. The statement also described the disappearance of Anna Walshe as “suspicious”.
On Monday night, investigators were combing through trash at the Peabody City Transfer Station for possible remains of the missing mother, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation. The source said sanitation workers brought the trash to the station, an hour’s drive north of Cohasset, early last week.
Crime scene tape was also placed around a dumpster at a tenement building near Brian Walshe’s mother’s home in Swampscott, about 15 miles north of Boston, the source told CNN. According to the affidavit, Brian Walshe told police he visited his mother on January 1, the same day he told police he last saw his wife.
Late last week, investigators began an extensive search for Ana Walshe, calling in state and local police departments, K-9 units, police divers and state police air units, and the wooded area surrounding the family’s home, officials said. Investigated the area.
Officials said on Saturday that the ground search had been suspended after two days, but would be resumed as new information became available.
Meanwhile, his friends and family can only wait.
“We are devastated. Ana is a beacon of love and happiness,” Peter Kirby, a family friend, told CNN. “She lit up every room. We miss her and are doing everything we can to support her 3 beautiful children.”
Husband’s timeline accused of misleading police
Concerns for Anna Walshe began when co-workers at the Tishman Spear real estate agency reported her missing on January 4, according to prosecutors.
Brian Walshe’s lawyer told the court on Monday he had contacted the office to say he had not received the notice.
Speaking to police, Brian Walshe said he last saw his wife on the morning of January 1. According to the affidavit, the husband told investigators he told her he needed to go to Washington for a work emergency.
“Ana got dressed, said goodbye to him and told him to go back to sleep,” she told police.
She told investigators that she used to take a ride-sharing car or taxi to the airport.
That afternoon, Brian Walshe said he visited his mother in Swampscott and worked for her at the Whole Foods and CVS locations, the affidavit says.
Prosecutors said in court Monday that investigators found no evidence that Anna Walshe had carpooled from her home that morning. According to prosecutor Lynn Beland, on January 1 and 2 his phone registered activity near the house as well.
The affidavit states, “The fact that she was asked a specific question and gave an incorrect answer caused investigators to leave the area, causing an apparent delay in the search for missing person Anna Walshe.”
According to police, Brian Walshe is under house arrest and wearing an ankle bracelet pending sentencing on his previous fraud conviction, which means he must obtain permission to leave his home for authorized activities at specific places and times .
According to the affidavit, in the week of his wife’s disappearance he made several unauthorized trips, including to a home goods store, where he was seen in surveillance video wearing a mask and surgical gloves and making purchases with cash. Prosecutors alleged in court Monday that she spent about $450 on cleaning supplies including mops, a bucket and tarps.
As police executed a search warrant on the couple’s home on Sunday, “blood was found in the basement, as well as a knife that also had blood on it,” according to Beland.
The search warrant was obtained from Internet search history on the disposal of the husband’s body and the purchase of a large amount of cleaning supplies, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
At his appearance Monday on the charge of misleading investigators, a Quincy District Court judge set Walshe’s bail at $500,000 cash. His next hearing has been fixed on February 9.
The husband had confessed to cheating last year.
Brian Walshe, who was charged with wire fraud in May 2018, said he sold two fake Andy Warhol paintings on eBay, according to a criminal complaint filed in Massachusetts District Court.
FBI investigators allege that either Brian or Ana 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 with a crime, but claims that she spoke to the person who informed the buyer that the painting was not authentic and that his work had been numbered.
Prosecutors also alleged that Brian Walshe took the authentic artwork from a friend, telling him he would sell it, but never did. Prosecutors allege he didn’t pay the friend for the art.
He was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2018 on four counts of wire fraud, interstate transportation for a fraudulent scheme, possession of altered property and illegal money transactions.
Documents show that last year, he pleaded guilty to three of the four charges in exchange for a sentence recommended by prosecutors of prison terms, probation, fines, restitution and forfeiture.
He also agreed to return the artwork or pay for it.
According to the online summary, the case remains open because the judge has not imposed a formal sentence against him while the US Attorney’s Office is investigating Brian Walshe’s finances.
In a letter to the court dated June 1, 2022, Anna Walshe said she was grateful that her husband was able to stay home while their fraud case was settled in federal court.
He wrote, “Brian continues to work to break his family’s past habits and we all look forward to the new chapter in his life.”
–Carolyn Sung, Eric Levenson, Keeley Westhoff and Isa Kaufmann-Gabel contributed reporting.