Arrest made nearly a year after Rachel Morin was dragged from a Maryland running trail and murdered

Police revealed that Hernandez had been living illegally in the US since February 2023, months before he allegedly killed Rachel Morin

Alex Lang
Sunday 16 June 2024 18:50 BST
Rachel Morin was murdered in August 2023 along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Maryland. Police have now arrested Victor Hernandez in connection to the killing
Rachel Morin was murdered in August 2023 along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Maryland. Police have now arrested Victor Hernandez in connection to the killing (Tulsa police/Harford County Sheriff’s Office)

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Nearly a year after a mom-of-five was killed on a Maryland hiking trail, police said they have made an arrest in the case.

On Saturday, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Victor Martinez Hernandez, 23, in connection with the death of Rachel Morin. The suspect is from El Salvador and was arrested Friday at a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the Baltimore Banner.

“Rachel’s murderer is no longer a free man,” Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said during a news conference streamed online. “Hopefully he’ll never have the opportunity to walk free again.”

Morin, 37, was found dead in August 2023 along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Bel Air, Maryland.

Police said Morin was taken from the path and dragged into the woods. Her remains we found in a culvert the next day.

Rachel Morin was murdered in August 2023 along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Maryland. Police have now arrested Victor Hernandez in connection to the killing.
Rachel Morin was murdered in August 2023 along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Maryland. Police have now arrested Victor Hernandez in connection to the killing. (Harford County Sheriff’s Office)

An investigation found DNA at the scene of Morin’s killing. That same DNA profile was linked to an assault and home invasion in California. However, police were not able to catch the suspect and the case lingered, until Friday.

"I’m here to tell you Rachel’s murderer is no longer a free man. Hopefully, he will never have the opportunity to walk free again," Gahler said. "The lead we received was related to DNA evidence and allowed investigators to finally put a name to the image of the suspect in the video from Los Angeles, which we released two weeks after Rachel’s death."

Police revealed that Hernandez had been living illegally in the US since February 2023, according to WBAL-TV.

He is believed to have killed a woman in El Salvador before crossing into the US, according to WBAL-TV. A month later, he attacked a nine-year-old girl and her mother during a home invasion in Los Angeles, police said.

Police revealed that Hernandez had been living illegally in the US since February 2023, months before he allegedly killed Morin
Police revealed that Hernandez had been living illegally in the US since February 2023, months before he allegedly killed Morin (Tulsa police)

Gahler revealed that three weeks ago, on the day that would have been Morin’s 38th birthday, police got a lead in the case. They then used that lead and genetic genealogy to identify the suspect.

He was found sitting in a bar in Tulsa last week.

"We are 1,800 miles from the Southern border here in Harford County. This is the second woman in our county to be killed by illegal suspects. In both cases, they are suspects from El Salvador with ties to criminal gangs," said Gahler.

"(This) should not be happening. Victor Hernandez did not come here to make a better life for himself, or for his family, he came here to escape a crime he committed in El Salvador."

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