Montgomery County police Saturday confirmed they found the 2011 black Ford Escape belonging to missing Wilde Lake High School teacher Laura Wallen in a Columbia parking lot.
The car, with Maryland license plate M522473, was found Thursday night in an apartment complex on the 10600 block of Gramercy Place near the Mall in Columbia, according to a Montgomery County Police press release.
As Montgomery County police continue their search for the social studies teacher, the local community has taken to social media using the hashtag #bringwallenhome to share their thoughts and prayers for the Olney resident who’s been missing since Sept. 4.
Wallen’s family reported Wallen, 31, missing to police earlier this week after unsuccessful attempts to contact her following a text message she sent them last Sunday. Wallen was absent on the Tuesday, Sept. 6 — the first day of school for the Howard County Public School System.
She was named Wilde Lake High’s Senior Class Teacher of the Year in 2016.
On Friday, Niya Royster, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County police department, said there was no more information available regarding the investigation, but that Wallen is pregnant.
Brian Bassett, a spokesman for the school system, said Wilde Lake High School staff and administrators are “trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in the building,” despite their concerns for Wallen. Instruction is continuing, he said, while staff are covering Wallen’s classes.
“It is a very difficult situation for her family, friends, colleagues and students to handle — particularly because we still have so little information,” Bassett said. “We continue to hope for a positive outcome to this extremely upsetting situation.”
According to the high school’s Class of 2018 Twitter account, students have covered Wallen’s classroom door with notes to share their support.
The 2018 Class Council also canceled its back-to-school silent auction Wednesday.
Rick Wilson, principal of Wilde Lake High, sent a letter to parents and students Wednesday, which said school staff discussed her disappearance with students . The administrative team, student services staff and the school system’s crisis team remain available for emotional support.
Wallen is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 200 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Department's non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.