Brian Walshe was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the case of his missing wife, Ana, on Thursday (March 30), Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey's office said in a news release obtained by NBC News Friday (March 31) morning.
Walshe, 47, was indicted for the murder of his wife, misleading a police investigation/obstruction of justice and improper conveyance of a human body in relation to Ana's disappearance and suspected death, the news release stated. A first-degree murder conviction includes a mandatory life sentence without parole in the state of Massachusetts.
“This is only a step in a long process, during which Brian Walshe enjoys the Constitutional presumption of innocence and all of the protections afforded him under the Constitution,” Morrissey said via NBC News. “We are thankful to the detectives who have put so many hours into assembling the evidence in this matter and the witnesses who have assisted us in coming to this step.”
Brian Walshe had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and disinterment of a body in a Quincy, Massachusetts court on January 19. Prosecutors listed a series of suspicious online searches made by Walshe on his son's iPad during the first three days of 2023, which include the following, per CNN:
- "How long before a body starts to smell?"
- "How to stop a body from decomposing."
- "Ten ways to dispose of a dead body if you really need to"
- "How long for someone to be missing to inherit."
- "Can you throw away body parts?"
- "What does formaldehyde do?"
- "How long does DNA last?"
- "Can identification be made on partial remains?"
- "Dismemberment and the best ways to dispose of a body."
- "How to clean blood from wooden floor.
- "Luminol to detect blood."
- "What happens when you put body parts in ammonia?"
- "Hacksaw best tool to dismember."
- "Can you be charged with murder without a body?"
- "Can you identify a body with broken teeth?"
- "What happens to hair on a dead body?"
- "What is the rate of decomposition of a body found in a plastic bag compared to on a surface in the woods?"
- "Can baking soda mask or make a body smell good?"
Prosecutors also listed items purchased by Brian Walshe believed to be connected to Ana Walshe's murder, which included mops, brushes, tape, tarp, a Tyvek suit with boot covers, buckets, baking soda and a hatchet from a Rockland, Massachusetts Home Depot on January 2; towels, bath mats and men's clothing from Home Goods and TJ Maxx on January 4; and squeegees and a trash can from Lowe's on January 4.
Walshe had previously pleaded not guilty to misleading investigators in relation to the search for his wife, who was reported missing by her coworkers on January 4.
On January 10, law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that a hacksaw, torn-up cloth material and what appears to be bloodstains were reportedly found during a police search linked to Ana Walshe's disappearance.
Investigators were searching through the trash of a Peabody transfer station on January 9, which a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN was in relation to the potential remains of the missing woman.
Norfolk County District Attorney's Office said evidence collected at the Peabody transfer station -- which District Attorney Michael Morrissey had previously described as "a number of items" -- would be sent for testing.
The law enforcement sources told CNN that investigators will plan to collect blood samples from Walshe's sons to see if the stains found have a "direct bloodline" sample to any blood found in relation to the case, which also includes blood and a bloodied knife found at Walshe's home.
Norfolk District Attorney's office prosecutor Lynn Beland revealed that the bloody knife was found at the Walshes' home on January 9.
Beland also said Brian Walshe claimed he took his child to get ice cream on January 2, however, surveillance video instead shows he purchased $450 worth of cleaning supplies at Home Depot that day, which included mops, a bucket and tarps.
Crime scene tape was also placed around dumpsters at a Swampscott apartment complex where Brian Walshe's mother lives.
Brian Walshe reportedly told police he visited his mother on January 1, which was the last day he claimed to have seen his wife, according to an affidavit obtained by CNN.
A search warrant obtained by police led to blood and a damaged, bloody knife being found in the basement of the couple's home, according to Beland.
“These various statements caused a delay in the investigation to the point that during the time frame when he didn’t report his wife and gave various statements, that allowed him time to either clean up evidence, dispose of evidence, and causing a delay,” Beland said via CNN.
Brian Walshe's defense attorney said his wife's employer initially reported her disappearance because Walshe had first called them to ask about her whereabouts and claimed he was "incredibly cooperative" with police during multiple interviews and consented to search of his properties.
Brian Walshe was previously arrested in 2018 for selling pieces he falsely claimed were part of Andy Warhol's 1978 Shadows series.