Thirty-one year old Laura Wallen had been missing for several days in early September 2017, when her body was discovered buried in a remote field in Damascus, Washington County, Virginia. She was pregnant at the time of her death and almost half-way to term when she was killed.
Wallen, a Howard County teacher of social studies at the nearby Wild Lake High School, went missing September 3, 2017. She was quickly reported missing after she neglected to show up for work and the following day her worried family made an appeal for her return on local news stations. Holding their hand and delivering a tearful speech was the missing woman’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, who fought back tears as he pleaded down the camera lens for Lauren’s swift and safe return.
“If somebody has her, please know that you’ve taken away a huge person in so many people’s lives.”
“There’s nothing we can’t fix together, myself and your family. We are just praying that you are safe” he said.
Although he played the role of a worried boyfriend well in the eyes of the public, Tessier allegedly knew much more about his girlfriend’s disappearance than he was willing to let on, in fact, he was responsible for it. “The decision to allow him to participate in that news conference was a calculated decision made by the detectives in this case for the purpose of hearing what he had to say. It was done with the approval and knowledge of the victim’s parents” police said at a conference.
Tyler Tessier had been living a double life and Wallen’s recent pregnancy had sent him into panic mode. The 33-year-old man had a fiancée and he was so terrified that Wallen was about to expose his secret affair that he took drastic measures to ensure she could not.
On the night of her murder, Laura Wallen sent a text message to a friend that read:
“Tyler has taken me to an open field in Damascus. I’m not sure why we’re here but it’s in the middle of nowhere.”
Wallen was never seen alive again.
The last recorded image of the teacher was captured on a surveillance tape from a local grocery store, the day before Lauren went missing. It showed Wallen and Tessier shopping for groceries.
Police were already suspicious of Laura Wallen’s off-again, on-again boyfriend at the time he made his appeals for her to come home on local news stations but told Wallen’s parents to bite their tongues while they investigated the case.
Several days after the 31-year-old teacher went missing, her body was found in a shallow grave in a field in Damascus. She had a gunshot wound to the back of her head.
Police soon began interviewing Tessier who changed his story multiple times.
Initially he told investigators that Laura Wallen was not pregnant with his child, but the child of another man. He claimed that the other man was an ex-student of Wallen’s and that if news were to get out, she’d lose her job. He claimed that he had “helped her disappear” at her request.
Tessier also admitted that he had posed as the missing woman by sending messages from Wallen’s I-phone to her friends. The content of the messages was, conveniently for him, Wallen expressing doubt over the father of her unborn child. The victim’s family would go on to contest Tessiers claims, stating the pair had a tumultuous relationship and that Tyler Tessier never once showed up to any family functions or holidays and now they knew why.
Following the discovery of Laura’s body on September 13, 2017, Tessier concocted another bizarre story where he alleged the couple were kidnapped from Laura’s residence in Maryland by a gang of African American men and driven to a remote field in Damascus where Laura was executed by gunshot.
He then went on to change the story once again, stating that he and Wallen had gotten into a verbal altercation that quickly turned physical and saw her brandishing a pair of scissors and trying to stab him. Tessier claimed that Warren slipped over and hit her head on the porch and died as a result of her injury. He then said he drove her out to the field in order to bury her and neglected to contact the authorities. When asked, if that was the case, why Miss Wallen had a gunshot wound to the back of her head, Tessier was recorded as stating he shot her because he had doubts if she was completely dead and did not want her to have been buried prematurely and suffer, so he delivered a shot to her skull to make sure.
Reports also state that Tessier disposed of Wallen’s identification and iPhone and drove her vehicle to Columbus where he discarded it.He also allegedly destroyed the plates.
Around the same time, he sent a suspicious text message to a friend speaking of a “mess” he needed to “clean up”. He asked the friend for a lift to Baltimore, but his request was declined.
It was later discovered that he had made several trips to and from the scene of the crime.
Tessier was arrested for his involvement in the death of his pregnant girlfriend and charged with 1st degree murder. If sentenced he could have faced life in prison without the chance of parole, however, he dodged both the trial and sentence after committing suicide in his cell at Montgomery County Correctional Facility on September 6, 2018. His death was ruled as suicide by hanging and he had left several notes behind.
The case has recently received attention in anticipation of an episode of "Killer affair" set to air about the case.