ROCKVILLE, Md. - The father of Laura Wallen, a pregnant teacher whose body was found in a shallow grave in a Montgomery County field on Wednesday, delivered a heartfelt statement as he addressed the media for the first time since the Wallen family learned of her death.
Mark Wallen stood outside the Montgomery County Court House after prosecutors attended a bond hearing for his daughter's boyfriend and alleged murderer Tyler Tessier.
"I ask you to each hug your kids every day because nothing is guaranteed and we are all loaned to each other for just a brief period in time," he said.
Laura Wallen was first reported missing on Sept. 4 by her sister and it wasn't until Wednesday that her body was discovered. On Monday, Tessier fought back tears as he spoke at a news conference about Laura Wallen with her family by his side.
"Laura, if you are listening, it doesn't matter what's happened, it doesn't matter what type of trouble, there is nothing we can't fix together - myself and your family," Tessier said to reporters at Monday's news conference. "There are so many people, so many people that miss you, so many people who were out, who haven't slept. We haven't eaten. We are just looking or praying that you are safe."
But police said having Tessier address the media was part of their strategy, hoping that he would catch himself in a lie about the death of the Wilde Lake High School teacher who was four months pregnant with his child.
Detectives said Tessier was interviewed multiple times and made conflicting statements in each one. On Wednesday he was charged with murder. A reporter at Thursday's press conference asked the victim's father how his family stood next to Tessier during Monday's press conference knowing that he was the lead suspect.
"He is a monster and he is a liar and it was absolutely the hardest thing that my wife could do, would be to sit there next to him and hold his hand and she had to hold his hand with two hands because she was shaking so badly," Mark Wallen described. "We were pretty sure it was Tyler but we didn't know where she was and you can't put somebody away on a missing person. Someone doesn't go to prison for life on a missing person and it defies description the awfulness and the horror that we have been put through during this."
Tessier was denied bond during his hearing and Laura Wallen's remains have been sent to the Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine an exact cause of death.