BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the second time, the parents of a murdered teacher are asking state legislators to change laws aimed at protecting pregnant women and their unborn children.
They want prosecutors to be able to charge for the murder of a child at any stage of development.
“What we’re trying to do is be sure there are tools at the prosecutors’ disposal to have justice for both victims and their families,” said district 5 senator Justin Ready.
For the Wallen family, that kind of justice never came. Their daughter, Laura Wallen, vanished in Sept. 2017.
Investigators would later find her body buried in a field in Clarksburg in a grave so shallow, her purple clothing showed through the dirt.
At the time of death, Wallen was pregnant with a 14-week-old baby boy who she’d told family members she planned to name Reid.
The father of the child, accused of killing them both, committed suicide on the morning he was scheduled to begin trial.
But even if the case had gone forward, Tyler Tessier would not have faced charges tied to the death of his unborn son because Maryland law states that the unborn baby would not have been able to survive outside of the womb.
“There are two heart-beats,” said Mark Wallen. “There are two lives and the idea that both are not protected is a problem. And it’s a problem that hopefully, the legislature will address.
For the second time, Wallen’s father, together with senator Justin Ready is asking state lawmakers to pass “Laura and Reid’s Law.”
The bill would allow prosecutors to charge for the murder of an unborn child at any stage of development.
“It’s not for our family or about our daughter,” Mark Wallen said. “It’s about women who are pregnant now or will be pregnant, to protect them.”
He said that the bill would close a legal loophole that leaves mothers and unborn children at risk.