Students mourn loss of Wilde Lake High School teacher

Laura Wallen, 31, was four months pregnant

COLUMBIA, Md. (WMAR) - Family and friends had planned a Gathering of Hope Wednesday night, praying for the safe return of Wilde Lake High School social studies teacher Laura Wallen. 

Wallen was reported missing Sept. 4 by Montgomery County Police. 

Shortly before the Gathering of Hope event started, police announced Wallen had been found death and a suspect was in custody. In a press conference Wednesday night, police revealed Wallen's boyfriend, Tyler Tessier has been arrested for her murder. 

RELATED: Missing pregnant teacher found dead

Though the Gathering of Hope was cancelled, students, teachers and community members came together to mourn the loss of their beloved teacher. 

"I love Miss Wallace," said one of her former students, Saquan Maxwell. "The three of us just love Miss Wallace, and it just warms my heart that people really reacted to the unfortunate circumstances."

Wilde Lake High School Principal Rick Wilson said she loved her students and truly made a difference in their lives.

Through hugs and tears, those that loved her tried to cope. 

"We all asked ourselves in the circle: 'Why? Like what motivated you? How could you be possessed with so much hate to take a soul that means so much to people,'" said former student Ahmad Wasti. "If we were missing or God forbid anything happened to us, she would've been the first person looking out for us."

Wallen was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year. She was 31 years old. 

There will be grief counselors at Murray Hill Middle School on Thursday for students who need to talk. 

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