BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Days after a pregnant Maryland teacher’s boyfriend was arrested and charged in her murder, prosecutors will decide whether to charge him with killing the unborn child.
The extra charge depends on how far along the pregnancy was at the time of Laura Wallen’s murder.
It’s one of many questions lingering in the chilling investigation into her death.
Police say they’re still searching for the weapon used to murder Wallen.
Last week, they found her body in a shallow grave in Damascus, and charged her boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, with shooting her point blank in the back of the head, before burying her.
Her father, Mark Wallen, spoke with WJZ after the arrest.
“It defies description, the awfulness and the horror we have been put through on this,” Wallen said.
Now, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy will have to decide if the 33-year-old suspect should be charged with killing the unborn child.
“We are waiting on information from the autopsy about the precise age of the child at the time of the homicide,” McCarthy said. “To the best of our knowledge, we are talking about 14 to 15 weeks.”
The legal requirement for fetal homicide charges depend on whether the fetus would survive outside the womb.
Prosecutors also have to prove that Tessier intended to kill or injure the fetus.
But in the court of public opinion,those who knew Laura Wallen, and some who never met the Howard County teacher, want justice for her and the baby.
“She was pregnant. He probably didn’t want the baby, so he got rid of her,” one person said.
Charging documents reveal a possible motive for the cold blooded crime.
Police say Tessier had a fiance and Wallen tried to contact that woman, and planned on telling her about the baby.
Prosecutors say Tessier pretended to be Wallen after killing her, and texting her sister, “I am like 95% sure Tyler is not the father.”
During the search, Tessier was at Wallen’s parents side, pleading for her safe return.
“It’s just a complete shock,” he said during a press conference.
Wallen was believed to be about four months pregnant.
Prosecutors say if that’s the case, charges for the fetus are unlikely.
The autopsy is expected this week.
Tessier is being held without bond. He’s facing several charges, including first-degree murder. A preliminary hearing is set for next month.