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Apprehended: Cops Arrest Suspect in Case of Maryland Mother of Five Murdered on Hiking Trail

Cross-Country Manhunt Ends in Arrest for Rachel Morin’s Murder
Source: Harford County Sheriff's Office

Rachel Morin (left) was found in a drainage ditch in August 2023. Now, police announced Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez (right) has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Jun. 17 2024, Published 2:03 p.m. ET

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Authorities have announced an arrest of a 23-year-old El Salvadoran man in connection with the murder of Rachel Morin in Maryland last August.

On June 14, Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez was taken into custody in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after a 10-month investigation that included use of investigative genetic genealogy, according to a news conference for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

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Patricia Morin, Rachel’s mother, also spoke at the news conference, thanking law enforcement for working tirelessly to find her daughter’s killer.

On August 6, 2023, the 37-year-old mother of five was found dead in a drainage ditch along Bel Air’s Ma and Pa hiking trail, one day after her boyfriend reported her missing, Front Page Detectives previously reported.

Investigators then linked the murder to a home invasion and assault in Los Angeles in March 2023. The suspect allegedly was seen on video leaving the residence where the crime took place, but they didn’t know his name.

Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said the breakthrough in the case came three weeks earlier when DNA evidence uncovered the suspect’s identity.

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At the time, Gahler said: “Now we knew who he was, but we still didn’t know where he was.”

Authorities, however, were able to track him to Oklahoma over the past two weeks and obtained an arrest warrant on the afternoon of June 14.

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Officials said Martinez-Hernandez illegally crossed into the United States in February 2023, a month after he allegedly killed a woman in his home country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had placed a detainer on him, but officials said he will face charges in Maryland and California before he is deported.

The extradition process to bring the suspect back to Maryland has been initiated and Harford County State’s Attorney Alison Healey said she would “personally be leading the prosecution of this case.”

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According to Bill DelBogno, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, said his team provided investigative genetic genealogy to identify family members of the suspect. Then the agency’s legal attaches in El Salvador worked with Salvadoran authorities on the identification of the suspect.

Gahler said the suspect is believed to have some connection with Salvadoran gangs who helped him travel around the country. He added that investigators have seen “nothing to indicate anyone other than him was involved” in Morin’s murder.

When Martinez-Hernandez is extradited back to Maryland, he will face charges of first degree murder and first degree rape, officials said.

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