Pregnant teacher found dead; boyfriend charged with murder

BALTIMORE (AP) — A pregnant Maryland teacher who was missing for more than a week has been found dead in a shallow grave, and her boyfriend is charged with her slaying, police said Wednesday.

Montgomery County police Chief Thomas Manger said at a news conference that investigators found the body of Laura Wallen in a shallow grave in Damascus, about 38 miles west of Washington on Wednesday. She was four months pregnant.

Wallen’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with murder in her death. Police are waiting for autopsy results on the cause of death, and Manger said they don’t know about a motive.

Wallen’s parents spoke at a news conference Monday and announced a $25,000 reward for information that led to her. Tessier sat with the parents, holding their hands, and cried through a brief statement.

“It was a calculated decision made by detectives to have Tessier attend the event and speak,” Manger said. “It was done with the approval and knowledge of the victim’s family.”

Wallen, 31, was a teacher at a high school in neighboring Howard County. She didn’t show up for the first day of school on Sept. 5.

Police had said early in the investigation that the last communications from Wallen were text messages to her family Monday. Those text messages were sent by Tessier from Wallen’s phone, Manger said.

While Wallen was missing, Tessier was seen several times at the site where her body was found, police said. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the property, Manger said, and officers with cadaver dogs found the shallow grave.

Tessier will have a bail review hearing Thursday, Manger said. It could not be immediately determined if he has a lawyer.

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