A Maryland man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend apparently hanged himself inside a jail on Thursday, officials confirm.
WTOP reports that Tyler Tessier, who stood accused of the 2017 murder of pregnant high school teacher Lauren Wallen, hanged himself with a bedsheet inside a jail cell at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.
According to authorities, Tessier started his morning as usual by showering and eating breakfast. He reportedly showed no indications that he planned to harm himself. Opening statements for his murder trial were scheduled to begin later that mornning.
Warden Susan Malagari stated Tesslier was found at around 5 a.m. on Thursday morning.
“This morning inmate Tyler Tessier was woken up at 4:00 a.m. to prepare for court. He took a shower until approximately 4:15 a.m. He returned to his cell to dress and was observed there during the 4:36 round. Breakfast was then served at 4:45 a.m. During the next round at 4:55 a.m. he was discovered hanging in his cell.”
Malagari said that medical staff attempted to assist Tesslier before EMS took over. Despite strenuous efforts to revive him, Tesslier was pronounced dead at 5:32 a.m.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Laura, a beloved Wilde Lake High School high school in Columbia, was found buried in a shallow grave in Damascus, off of Prices Distillery Road, in September 2017.
After authorities arrested Tessier last year, he initially denied any involvement in the murder. He allegedly said four black men kidnapped Laura, who was four months pregnant with Tessler’s child. Tessler later recanted and reportedly said Laura tried to attack him with scissors, but he got away while she “ran into a wooden post on the porch and collapsed,” court documents state.
“The defendant stated he did not call for help and that he believed she had died from striking her head on the porch post,” prosecutors stated. “When he grew concerned perhaps she was not deceased and that he had buried her alive, he stated he shot her once in the back of the head, to ensure she wasn’t suffering.”
According to the victim’s sister, Laura sent her a text message on the day she passed away, indicating that Tessier had taken her to an open field and she wasn’t sure what for. Her sister asked her to take a photo of the area. Laura sent back a picture of an open field with a tree line that looked similar to the area authorities later found Laura’s deceased body at.
Police found Laura’s body four days after her sister received the text. They located a patch in a secluded, wooded area of “freshly dug ground” after cadaver dogs hit on human remains scents.
Tessier had apparently been to the field on several recent occasions prior to the incident, located close to the property where an acquaintance of his lived. He also was the last known person to have seen Laura.
Surveillance footage from a grocery store near Laura’s home captured the pair together on September 2. Investigators believe that Tessier took Laura to Damascus and killed her the following day.
The day after Laura’s death, Tessier reportedly texted an acquaintance and asked for a ride to Baltimore. He claimed he had to “clean up a mess.” The acquaintance refused to assist him. Tessier later admitted to disposing of the victim’s iPhone and driver’s license.
On September 4, Laura’s sister received text messages from the victim’s phone. According to authorities, the text stated that Laura was almost sure Tyler wasn’t the father of her unborn child. A following text stated that she hoped Tyler would forgive her. Detectives discovered the texts were actually sent by Tessier himself.
The suspect is also accused of driving Laura’s car to Columbia and abandoning it at an apartment complex close to the high school she taught at.
Additionally, Tessier was living with another woman. Detectives indicated that the woman, whose name is currently unknown, was interviewed and cleared.
“This is just one of those tragic cases where you have an absolutely innocent victim, and it’s just a senseless, senseless killing,” Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said during the press conference. “These are the kind of cases that so often have a significant impact on the community where they occur, and that was certainly the case with this investigation.”
[Feature Photo: Tyler Tessier, Laura Wallen/Police Handout]