Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) – Major Crimes Division have arrested and charged Tyler Tessier, age 32 of Holsey Road in Damascus, with the first-degree murder of 31-year-old Laura Wallen of Rolling Meadow Way in Olney.
On the evening of Monday, September 4, Wallen’s sister reported Wallen as a missing person to the Montgomery County Police Department. Wallen’s sister stated that she last saw Laura on the evening of Friday, September 1, and despite numerous attempts, she and her parents had been unable to contact her since having a brief text conversation on Saturday, September 2. Wallen’s sister also informed detectives that Laura had a boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, and that Wallen was four-months pregnant with his child.
Investigators confirmed that Wallen, a teacher at a high school in Columbia, Maryland, did not arrive for the first day of school on September 5. They determined that the last known transaction on Wallen’s financial accounts was a debit card purchase at the Safeway store in Olney on September 2 between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. A review of store surveillance by detectives showed Wallen and Tessier making a purchase together. This was the last known sighting of Wallen. The last known message from Wallen’s phone was to her sister on the morning of Monday, September 4; detectives have determined that Tessier sent that text (a fact Tessier admitted during police questioning).
On Thursday, September 7, the Howard County Police Department informed MCPD that an employee of the Gramercy Place apartment complex in Columbia had located Wallen’s license in front of an apartment dumpster on September 4. After viewing a Facebook post regarding Wallen’s missing status, the employee realized he had located her license and called police. MCPD officers responded to the apartment complex, where they located Wallen’s vehicle, a 2011, black Ford Escape. The SUV was backed into a space and the front license plate had been removed. MCPD investigators seized the vehicle for forensic testing.
Between September 5 and 11, detectives interviewed Tessier multiple times. In each interview, he provided conflicting statements regarding Wallen’s disappearance. Tessier did make some admissions. He admitted that he is engaged to another woman. He also admitted that he drove Wallen’s vehicle to the apartment complex in Columbia, that he disposed of her phone and driver’s license in a dumpster, and that he had removed her license plate from her vehicle. Detectives located an acquaintance of Tessier who stated that Tessier had called her to give him a ride from the apartment complex where Wallen’s vehicle was located. Tessier asked the friend to lie if the police ever asked her about picking him up in Columbia.
On September 13, MCPD officers executed a search warrant on property located in the 12400 block of Prices Distillery Road in Damascus. The property, belonging to Tessier’s friend, includes a farm surrounded by acres of open fields and woods. Investigation had revealed that Tessier had been spending a great amount of time at the property after Wallen’s disappearance. During this search, the MCPD Search and Rescue team, assisted by cadaver dogs, located a freshly dug area of the ground in a field adjacent to the friend’s property; Wallen’s body was located buried in the ground. Her remains were recovered and sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore for an autopsy. Investigators noted that a text conversation between Wallen and her sister on Saturday, September 2, included mention that Tessier was currently taking Wallen on an “adventure” in the country. Wallen texted a photo of a field that appears to be the same field where Wallen’s body was located.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, Tessier was arrested by MCPD officers in Hyattstown on the strength of a warrant charging him with first-degree murder. He was transported to Police Headquarters for questioning and transported to the Central Processing Unit. Tessier is currently being held without bond.