Family offers $25,000 reward for information on missing Md. pregnant teacher
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) —
The family of a missing pregnant teacher from Olney is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to her coming home.
"I wanted to let Laura know that we're out there looking for her, and we're not giving up on her," said Mark Wallen, the father of Laura Wallen. "She is still alive somewhere."
Laura Wallen, 31, a teacher at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, did not show up for the first day of school last week. Police and family say that was highly unusual for Wallen, who won a "Teacher of the Year" award at the school in 2016.
"For two weeks she had been preparing...her classroom," Mark Wallen said at a Monday press conference held at Montgomery County Police headquarters in Gaithersburg. "She was extremely dedicated to Wilde Lake High School."
At the press conference, Laura Wallen's boyfriend Tyler Tessier, who police say is the father of her unborn child, spoke publicly for the first time since her disappearance.
"Laura, if you're listening, it doesn't matter what's happened, it doesn't matter what type of trouble, there's nothing we can't fix together, myself and your family," Tessier said.
At Monday's press conference, Lt. Sean Gagen with MCPD said right now Wallen's disappearance is classified as a missing persons case and not as a crime.
"Not at this time that I'm aware of," was Gagen's reply when asked if there was any reason to believe foul play was involved in her disappearance.
"As each day passes, we become increasingly concerned for Laura Wallen and for her baby," said Gagen, who said Wallen is four months pregnant.
Here is a timeline of events put together based on information from police, family, and neighbors:
- Friday, September 1st: Wallen and her family attend a football game at Sherwood High School, where Wallen went to school as a teen.
- Saturday, September 2nd: A neighbor says Wallen and Tessier arrive at Wallen's Olney condo sometime before 10 p.m. According to the neighbor, Tessier leaves and then Wallen leaves about ten minutes later. The neighbor says Wallen's black 2011 Ford Escape never returns to the neighborhood in the following days.
- Monday, September 4th: Police say Wallen's family receives a troubling text from her cell phone. They won't describe what the text said.
- Tuesday, September 5th: Wallen fails to show up to teach on the first day of school at Wilde Lake High.
- Thursday, September 7th: Wallen's Ford Escape is found in the 10600 block of Gramercy Place, which is inside a gated apartment complex in Columbia that is essentially across the street from Wilde Lake High School.
Among the questions that have yet to be answered are why Wallen's SUV was at the complex, and if she drove it to that location where she went from there. Police say they are investigating whether Wallen knows anyone who lives at the complex.
Police say detectives have gone over Wallen's vehicle and condo and are waiting for the results of forensic tests. They are also in the process of using subpoenas to get information to help them figure out the last places she visited before disappearing and who she was in contact with.
They say they have also been interviewing family, friends, and coworkers.
When asked when the last time Wallen was seen was, Lt. Gagen wouldn't say.
He says there are a lot of people that claim to have seen her, and detectives are looking at surveillance video to try to verify those claims.