Brian Walshe dismembered the body of his wife, Ana Walshe, before discarding it, prosecutors alleged during Walshe's arraignment Wednesday morning as he faces a murder charge.
Walshe, who was led into the courtroom in handcuffs and had a blank stare painted on his face throughout the proceeding, was held without bail. Wednesday was his second arraignment in the case of his wife's disappearance.
Prosecutors laid out an intricate timeline of the days following Ana Walshe's New Year's Day disappearance, saying that DNA testing of items discarded in a Swampscott dumpster link back to the Walshe couple, including slippers, tissues and a Tyvek suit.
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"Rather than divorce, it is believed that Brian Walshe dismembered Ana Walshe and discarded her body," Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Lynn Beland said during the hearing. "The bags were later discarded in Swampscott, and contained Ana's property and the items used to clean up as well as the DNA that was left behind."
The state said Wednesday that a search of 10 trash bags, which were thrown away in Swampscott and ended up at a processing station in Peabody, turned up a number of items, including towels, rugs, slippers, tape, a Tyvek suit, gloves, a hacksaw, a piece of a necklace Ana had been pictured wearing, a Prada purse, Hunter boots and a COVID-19 vaccine card in her name. Many of the items had stains that appeared to be blood, the state said.
Walshe allegedly made a number of Google searches on his son's iPad that dealt with discarding a dead body in the days following the last time his wife was seen, including "How long before a body starts to smell?" and "Dismemberment and the best ways to dispose of a body."
"It might have been a crime of passion or an accident, especially given the frantic search nature after the fact," said Dr. Kellie Wallace, a professor of criminal justice at Lasell University in Newton. "These are very compelling pieces of evidence and there's a lot of them and they all point in the same direction. All of them align to tell a very clear story."
Ana Walshe Reported Missing
Cohasset police were called by Ana Walshe's workplace in Washington D.C., where she commuted to weekly, letting officers know that she had not shown up, prosecutors said. Walshe had a flight booked for Jan. 3 from Logan Airport in Boston to Washington D.C., but did not board. Officers with the Cohasset Police Department went to the couple's home to do a wellbeing check, which is when Walshe first reported his wife as missing, telling officers that she left the house at around 6 a.m. Jan. 1, the state said.
Walshe told law enforcement that his wife was supposed to be taking a rideshare to the airport, but police found that no Uber or Lyft had been called to the house that morning, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Ana's cellphone appeared to have been stationary at the home on New Year's Eve, until 3:14 a.m. on Jan. 2, when the phone was turned off, the state said. Walshe said his wife should have been wearing a dress, a black jacket, Hunter boots, watch, ring, as well as carrying a Prada purse.
Timeline of Brian Walshe's Week Amid Search for Ana
While describing Walshe's activity in the days following, prosecutors went over his alleged lies about his whereabouts, and said he bought three rugs at a HomeGoods on Jan. 2. Surveillance video allegedly showed Walshe that day at a Home Depot pushing a cart, containing cleaning products, mops, brushes, tape, tarp, a Tyvex suit with boot covers, buckets, goggles, baking soda and a hatchet. Walshe was wearing a face mask and rubber gloves while pushing the cart, Beland said.
Surveillance footage on Jan. 3 allegedly showed Walshe's Volvo and a man that appeared to be him, exiting the car near a dumpster by an Abington apartment complex, before dropping off the bag. Prosecutors noted that the bag appeared heavy, and they alleged that he made two more stops at apartments after — another in Abington, and one in Brockton.
By the time police officers tried finding the bags dropped off in Abington, they had already been picked up and destroyed at a trash processing facility, prosecutors said.
The next day, Jan. 4, Walshe is said to have purchased towels, bath mats and men's clothing at HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx, before going to Lowes and buying squeegees and a trash can, the state said.
Jan. 4 was the day of the wellbeing check by Cohasset police officers, who noticed Walshe's Volvo had its seats down and a plastic liner in the back of the car, the state said.
On Jan. 5, cell phone data showed Walshe traveled to his mother's complex in Swampscott and went to the southeast corner of the building, where there was a dumpster, the state said. That dumpster was later secured and searched.
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During this time, investigators found no activity on Ana Walshe's credit cards, according to prosecutors.
Brian and Ana Walshe's DNA Found in Trash: Prosecutors
Investigators were able to find many items that had been discarded in Swampscott, and had the state crime lab perform DNA testing after it was determined that blood was on a number of the items, the state said.
On the slippers, Tyvek suit and tissues, DNA was found that belonged to one or both of the pair, according to prosecutors.
The defense entered not guilty pleas, and Walshe was held without bail. Walshe's lawyer did not address the court. The only words uttered by Walsh himself were "I do," telling the judge he understood the charges that he is facing.
Walshe is due back in court in February.
Walshe has been in police custody for over a week, after initially being charged with misleading police in connection with the search for his missing wife, who is a mother of three from Cohasset, Massachusetts.
In a major development on Tuesday, prosecutors announced that Walshe is now facing a murder charge in the case, although they did not specify what evidence sparked the new charge. Authorities added Tuesday evening that Walshe had been charged with improper handling and transport of human remains.
Walshe's Lawyer Issues Statement
Tracy Miner, who is representing Brian Walshe, issued the following statement:
"It is easy to charge a crime and even easier to say a person committed that crime. It is a much more difficult thing to prove it, which we will see if the prosecution can do. I am not going to comment on the evidence, first because I am going to try this case in the court and not in the media. Second, because I haven't been provided with any evidence by the prosecution. In my experience, where, as here, the prosecution leaks so called evidence to the press before they provide it to me, their case isn't that strong. When they have a strong case, they give me everything as soon as possible. We shall see what they have and what evidence is admissible in court, where the case will ultimately be decided.
Although it is probably fruitless, I ask that you not inundate my office, my home or my cell phone with media requests. I will not be giving any media interviews or comments. I intend to win this case in court, not in the media, which has already tried and convicted Mr. Walshe."
Brian Walshe Murder Charge: Cohasset Reacts
Ana Walshe's case has garnered international attention, as a concerned public far and wide tracked the investigation closely.
Walshe's hometown of Cohasset held a vigil last week, coming together in prayer for the missing mom.
Now that Brian Walshe's murder charge has been public, some locals have had strong words.
“I’m sure the husband’s going to have a nice time rotting in prison just thinking, what his actions, his consequences he’s gonna be dealing with right now and for the rest of his life," Cohasset resident Anderew Giomaritin said.
Brian Walshe's attorney, Tracy Miner, declined to talk about the new charges, but said she's focused on defending him in court.
Walshe pleaded not guilty to the charge of misleading police last week.