The man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend over the Labor Day Weekend in 2017 has been found dead in his jail cell of an apparent suicide, on the morning his trial was scheduled to begin.
Tyler Tessier, was in court in Rockville yesterday as jury selection wrapped up, this morning he was found hanging in his cell at the Montgomery County Correctional facility in Boyds hours before the jury was to hear opening statements in his trial.
“This morning inmate Tyler Tessier was woken up at 4:00 am to prepare for court,” read a statement from the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. “He took a shower until approximately 4:15 am. He returned to his cell to dress and was observed there during the 4:36 am round. Breakfast was then served at 4:45 am. During the next round at 4:55 am he was discovered hanging in his cell. He had tied a bedsheet around the edge of the top bunk and the other end around his neck. The officer untied the end around the inmate’s neck and immediately began life-saving measures. A medical emergency was called, and medical staff responded to assist. Medical assistance was provided until EMS arrived and took over life-saving measures at 5:13 am. Inmate Tessier could not be revived and at 5:32 am EMS terminated resuscitation.”
Montgomery County Police announced this morning that the department’s Major Crimes division is conducting an investigation of the death of Tessier.
According to reports, Tessier was fidgety in his seat in court earlier this week as jury selection proceeded.
Tessier, 34, of Damascus, was indicted last October for the death of his girlfriend, 31-year-old Lauren Wallen. He was accused of shooting Wallen in the back of the head and burying her in a field off Prices Distillery Road in Damascus.
Wallen had been missing for nine days in September 2017 until her body was found in the field in Damascus and Tessier was arrested and charged with her murder on Sept. 14. Prior to the body being found, Tessier appeared at a press conference tearfully pleading for the public’s help in finding his missing girlfriend. Wallen, 31, of Olney, was four months pregnant. She was a teacher at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia.
The case began back on September 3, 2017, when Wallen’s sister reported her missing. Police became concerned when Wallen, who had been named Teacher of the Year in Howard County did not report for work on the first day of school on September 5 at Wilde Lake High School and did not arrange for a substitute.
Nine days later, after her vehicle was found in Columbia, and her identification was also found near the vehicle, and police held a press conference on Sept. 11 with Wallen’s parents and then boyfriend and now accused killer Tyler Tessier. At that time, Tessier spoke to the press saying, “If somebody has her, please understand that you have taken away a huge person in so many people’s lives. Her friends and family, and the students that she has. I know what she means to me, and I know what she means to everybody else. I just want her back.”
“The break, in this case, came when it was determined that Tessier made several trips to an acquaintance’s property on Price’s Distillery Road in Damascus,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas J. Manger at a press conference in September of 2017. “Investigators showed up there with a search warrant for the property which was a dwelling along with open fields and woods. During the search, the team observed tire tracks on a nearby property. They observed freshly dug ground on the (nearby) property, which was some distance from the property they were originally searching. Detectives spoke to the owner of the property where the ground had been disturbed, and we were able to recover the victim’s body.”
It was later announced by Chief Manger that Tessier had been the major suspect in the case all along and the press conference was a “calculated decision made by the detectives in this case with the express purpose of hearing what he had to say. It was done with the approval and knowledge of his family.”
According to court documents, Tessier had told investigators that he had taken Wallen to a property in the area of Clarksburg near the Frederick County line to show it to her as a property he was attempting to purchase and build a house on for them and the baby, said police. During one interview with investigators, Tessier admitted that he had “been back to that field at least ten times” during the time police were investigating Wallen’s disappearance and that he had looked for her there.
If he had been convicted, Tessier was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Lauren Wallen.
Next: Tyler Tessier, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, Laura Wallen, was found hanging in his jail cell on the morning that his trial was scheduled to start. Photo courtesy MCPD.
Next: The Montgomery County Correctional Facility on Whelan Lane in Boyds, where Tessier was found dead in his cell.
Next: The victim, Laura Wallen, was 31-years-old and worked as a high school teacher at Wilde Lake High School in Howard County. Photo courtesy MCPD.
Next: Murder suspect Tyler Tessier addresses the media at a September 2017 press conference regarding the disappearance of Laura Wallen.
Next: The fields behind the address on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus where they body of Laura Wallen was discovered on Wednesday by Montgomery County Police detectives.
Photos by Germantown Pulse, unless otherwise noted.