Husband accused of Andy Warhol swindle arrested over wife’s disappearance

The husband of a missing woman in Massachusetts has been taken into custody for misleading investigators a week after the mother of three vanished on New Years Day.

On Sunday, 46-year-old Brian Walshe was arrested and charged with misleading investigators seven days after his wife Ana Walshe failed to board her plane to Washington DC.

In 2018, a US District Court had charged Mr Walshe with fraud for selling two fake Andy Warhol paintings. He pleaded guilty to several charges in 2021 and had been on home confinement pending his sentencing.

Ms Walshe, a 39-year-old real estate agent, had vanished without a trace after taking an Uber for Logan International airport in Boston where she was scheduled to fly to Washington DC. She never made it to the plane, police said.

The husband reported her missing three days later.

A statement from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office said police “developed probable cause to believe that [Ana Walshe’s] husband, Brian Walshe, had committed the crime of misleading police investigators.”

Police said Mr Walshe’s grey Volvo minivan was also taken as evidence.

Ms Walshe had ordered an Uber ride last Sunday at 4am but didn’t make it to the plane. Her Washington DC-based real estate employer, Tishman Speyer, reported her missing the same day as her husband did, which was three days after she vanished.

She was last seen by a family member in her Cohasset home around 4-5am on 1 January, according to Cohasset police Chief William Quigley.

Mr Quigley said the missing mother’s cellphone, as well as her credit and debit cards, were inactive since New Year’s Day.

The Walshes have three sons aged between two and six years.

Mr Walshe had initially told police that he was asleep when his wife ordered a rideshare from their home in Cohasset to Logan International Airport in Boston.

He is expected to be arraigned on Monday morning in Quincy District Court. Police said that “additional facts may or may not be entered into the record at that time”.

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NBC Boston reported that crews were out searching wooded areas near the Walshe home.

Police said there were 20 troopers from a specialised unit trained in search and rescue operations, three police K9 teams and a police helicopter involved in the search on Saturday.

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It was also reported by local media that the state police divers searched a small stream and drained the pool at the Walshe home, but nothing turned up.

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Meanwhile, a friend of Ms Walshe, Alissa Kirby, was quoted as saying by the New York Post that Ms Walshe is a “loving and loyal wife and mother of three beautiful boys. I know in my heart, that of her choice, she would not go a day without speaking to her husband and her kids”.