UPDATED 9/13/2017 AT 8:55 P.M. — Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, of Olney, has been found dead, and her boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her murder.
Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger held a press conference at Police Headquarters to announce that Wallen’s body was found by police in a shallow grave on a plot of land on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus. Today at 5:30 p.m., police arrested Wallen’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, on the charge of first-degree murder and other related charges.
Police had information from local witnesses that Tessier had been frequenting the area where Wallen’s body was found in Damascus.
The last text communication that came in from Wallen's cellphone was to family members on Monday, Sept. 4 around 9:00 a.m.
"It was troubling enough for family to call police," County Police Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said.
Police now believe that text on Monday morning was from Tessier, using Wallen’s cellphone and attempting to impersonate her. Police believe she was killed on Sunday, Sept. 3, according to Chief Manger.
Wallen had exchanged texts with her sister on the evening Saturday, Sept. 2, saying she was with Tessier and expressed confusion as to why he brought her to an unfamiliar location. Wallen even sent a photo of her surroundings to her sister via text.
Wallen, a teacher at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, went missing over Labor Day weekend. She was four months pregnant.
"She did not show up on the first day of school, which is very unlike her," Innocenti said.
Neighbors who live in the same condominium complex as Wallen, say they last saw her on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 2, between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in the parking lot of her condominium complex.
Wallen had just returned home with Tessier, who helped her carry a load of groceries into her home. The couple then took Wallen's dog outside for a few minutes to run around, and then Tessier left, a neighbor said. The neighbor asked not to be identified.
A few minutes later, Wallen got into her black 2011 Ford Escape SUV and drove off, leaving her dog behind.
Wallen's parents called police when they said they couldn't reach their daughter Saturday or Sunday.
Police filed a missing persons report Monday, but visited Wallen's home "multiple times" beforehand to investigate, police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said.
Police located Wallen’s SUV on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 7 less than a mile from Wilde Lake High School where she is a teacher. The vehicle was unoccupied and parked in an apartment complex in the 10600 block of Gramercy Place near Columbia Mall, according to police.
Police conducted forensic testing at Wallen's residence in the early morning hours on Friday, Sept. 8, according to the neighbor, who spoke directly to investigators around 2:30 a.m.
On Monday, Sept. 11, Wallen's family held a press conference at Police Headquarters and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to Wallen's whereabouts.
"I wanted to let Laura know, that we are out there looking for her and we're not giving up on her," Mark Wallen, Laura Wallen's father, said. "We love her and we miss her."
Tyler Tessier, also spoke at the press conference.
"Laura, if you're listening, it doesn't matter what's happened, it doesn't matter what type of trouble." Tessier said. "There's nothing we can't fix together – myself and your family. There's so many people that miss you. We haven't slept. We haven't eaten. We're just looking and praying that you're safe."