BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Laura Wallen’s parents say she already had a boy’s name picked out for her unborn baby before she was killed, even though she didn’t yet know the gender.
Wallen was about 14 weeks pregnant with a son who would have been named Reid when, according to police, her longtime boyfriend Tyler Tessier shot her point blank in the back of her head, and buried her on a friend’s property in Montgomery County.
Family members, friends and colleagues became concerned when Wallen didn’t show up for the first day of classes at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, where she taught.
She was reported missing Sept. 4, and her body was found Sept. 13. Tessier was charged with her murder shortly thereafter. But he didn’t face a second count for the baby Wallen was carrying because, under Maryland law, a fetus is only viable apart from its mother at 23 weeks or more.
Four months later, Wallen’s parents are planning to introduce legislation in Annapolis that would make the consequences more severe for defendants like Tessier in similar cases of deadly violence against pregnant women.
Maryland is among a dozens states where there are no, or limited laws for prosecution of an unborn child. Wallen’s family hopes this bill can bring justice to others that they won’t get.
Not enough time has passed to heal Gwen Wallen’s wounds.
“Each day, I miss her more, not less,” she said.
Maryland State Senator Justin Ready is ready to change Maryland law regarding the prosecution of murdering unborn children.
“From my perpsective, this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to have justice for the victims,” Ready said. “Justice done for the victims, and justice for the survivors.
He’s introduced Laura and Reid’s Law, named after Laura and her unborn son.
The bill would allow prosecutors to charge for the murder of an unborn child at any stage of development.
“When we received the autopsy report, which is not the way you want to hear about your grandson, that’s when we knew it was a healthy baby boy between 13-14 weeks,” Wallen said.
While the bill won’t completely heal their wounds, the Wallen’s say it will help another family seek justice, while closing a loophole that puts women and unborn children at risk.
“For more than a decade, Maryland has known pregnant women are at risk for intimate partner violence, particularly in the first trimester,” Wallen added.
A similar version of the bill is also being proposed in the House.