Boyfriend charged in teacher’s murder
Her unborn child wasn’t his, he says
BALTIMORE | The boyfriend of a missing, pregnant suburban Maryland teacher was engaged to another woman and sent text messages using the teacher’s identity claiming he wasn’t the father of her unborn baby, according to court documents that charge him with murdering her.
The grim turn of events has received widespread attention after it was learned the boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, 32, was at an emotional press conference Monday seeking any information on the fate of the missing teacher.
One of Mr. Tessier’s texts to Laura Wallen’s sister claimed the missing woman’s previous boyfriend was the father of her child, an arrest warrant released Thursday alleged. The text misspelled the former boyfriend’s first name, which police said added to doubts that the texts were really from Wallen.
The suspect “was not honest with either woman,” Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy said outside the courthouse Thursday.
Mr. Tessier was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with first-degree murder in Wallen’s death. The high school teacher was four months pregnant, investigators said.
Police found Wallen’s remains in a shallow grave in Damascus, Maryland, about 38 miles west of Washington. Police say they are awaiting autopsy results to determine how she was killed.
Wallen’s family reported her missing Sept. 5, when she didn’t show up for the first day of school. Her car was found Sept. 7 at an apartment complex in Howard County, not far from the high school where she taught.
Mr. Tessier gave numerous conflicting statements to detectives over the days after Wallen, 31, was reported missing, authorities said.
Wallen’s parents spoke at a news conference Monday and announced a $25,000 reward for information on her whereabouts. Mr. Tessier sat with the parents, holding their hands, and cried through a brief statement. Montgomery Police Chief Tom Manger said Wednesday that Mr. Tessier’s participation in the news conference had been part of a police plan.
“It was a calculated decision made by detectives to have Tessier attend the event and speak,” Chief Manger said. “It was done with the approval and knowledge of the victim’s family.”