Police: Missing pregnant teacher found dead, boyfriend charged with murder
DAMASCUS, Md. (ABC7) - Missing pregnant teacher, Laura Wallen, of Olney, who had been reported missing last Tuesday, has been found deceased, according to the Montgomery County Police Department. Wallen's body was discovered in a shallow grave on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus on Wednesday afternoon. A suspect, later identified as Wallen's boyfriend Tyler Tessier, was arrested in connection to her murder at around 5:30 p.m., police say. On Monday, Tessier spoke at a press conference with Wallen's family claiming that "all he cared about was that she come back," according to ABC7's Tom Roussey. Police say Tessier's presence at that press conference was "calculated." During the same press conference, Tessier sat with Wallen's parents as they offered a $25,000 reward to anyone for information on Wallen's whereabouts. On Wednesday night, police held a press conference at their headquarters detailing more information into Wallen's murder. Police said Tessier allegedly texted Wallen's sister from her phone saying: "the baby isn't Tyler's." According to authorities, Tessier may have had at least two other girlfriends while dating Wallen. In a parking lot across the street from Wilde Lake High School, where Wallen was named Teacher of the Year in 2016, students, parents, and school employees gathered Wednesday night to comfort each other and mourn Wallen's death. They had planned an event called a "gathering of hope" for Wallen's safe return. But the sad news began hitting the Wilde Lake High community a little over an hour before the event was scheduled to start. "She influenced us to be better in life. Not just in school - in life," said Hamad Wasti, who graduated from Wilde Lake this past spring. He and two friends said Wallen is the reason they were able to graduate high school. "She just turned it around," Jawan Taylor said of his time at Wilde Lake. "She made sure that I did what I had to do. As a student, as a person, as a man." While the students were together in Columbia, in Gaithersburg, Montgomery County Police were announcing Wallen's boyfriend had been arrested. The news gave students another shock on what had already been a very tough night. "How could you be possessed with so much hate to take a soul that means so much to people?" said an emotional Saquan Maxwell, who says Wallen was his mentor. Maxwell and others vow to never forget what Wallen did for them. "It doesn't stop here," Maxwell said. "It doesn't stop at a funeral. It doesn't stop at a wake. Forever we will love Miss Wallen." A mobile crisis team has been established at Wilde Lake High School to support the community following Wallen's murder.