Police arrest man in murder of Maryland mother Rachel Morin

BALTIMORE — In the case of the sensational murder of Rachel Morinthe mother of five who was killed last year on a popular hiking trail in Harford County, Maryland.

Victor Antonio Martinez Hernandez, a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was arrested Friday, Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said during a news conference Saturday. He is accused of First degree murder and first degree rapeand Harford County District Attorney Alison Healy will prosecute the case, Gahler said.

Rachel Morin was found murdered on the Ma & Pa Trail last August. She disappeared after taking a walk along a popular hiking trail in Harford County. Police believe the suspect hid in a sewer and attacked Morin during the walk. Authorities were able to link her murder to to an attack and a home invasion in Los Angeles, California, that occurred on March 26.

your family released a commercial appeal for justice in the investigation in April. They finally have some closure.

“At one point, when things seemed really grim and hopeless, the lead investigator said to me, 'In the end, patience will prevail,'” said Rachel's mother, Patty Morin.

Rachel Morin, a mother of five from Maryland, was murdered on a popular hiking trail.

CBS Baltimore

Martinez Hernandez is a citizen of El Salvador.

Hernandez had illegally crossed the border into the U.S. in February 2023 after murdering another young woman in El Salvador a month earlier in January 2023, Gahler said. Interpol, the international law enforcement agency, had issued an arrest warrant for him for the woman's murder, which had taken place there. Then, in March 2023, investigators said, he attacked a 9-year-old girl and her mother in a Los Angeles home.

Investigators are checking whether he is involved in other crimes.

The suspect has connections in the Washington, D.C. area, both in Virginia and Prince George's County, and contacts with known gangs, Gahler said.

“Victor Hernandez did not come here to make a better life for himself or his family,” said Sheriff Gahler. “He came here to escape the crime he committed in El Salvador. He came here and murdered Rachel and, God willing, no one else.”

The sheriff said a lead in the field of genetic genealogy led them to their suspect.

“On May 20, which would have been Rachel's 38th birthday, our investigators, by a poetic coincidence or perhaps by Rachel's divine help, came across a lead that led us to this day,” said Sheriff Jeff Gahler.

Detectives tracked down Martinez Hernandez in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and arrested him at a bar on Friday night. Officers say when they approached him, he tried to lie about his identity and the crimes he is accused of.

“Hopefully he will never have the opportunity to walk free again,” said Sheriff Gahler.

Meanwhile, members of the Harford County community, particularly those who use the Ma and Pa trail, told WJZ they felt safer in custody.

“It's just a relief and God bless this family,” said Pat Balducci of Bel Air. “So, I'm happy for them.”

Harford County officials are working to extradite Martinez Hernandez here to Maryland, which could take 30 to 60 days.

Emily Hung contributed to this report.