Arrest Made in Maryland Hiking Trail Murder Case – Sheriff Confirms Suspect in Custody

Bel Air, Maryland – After nearly a year since the tragic death of a mother of five on a hiking trail in Maryland, authorities have finally made an arrest in the case. Victor Martinez Hernandez, a 23-year-old suspect from El Salvador, was apprehended in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in connection with the killing of Rachel Morin. Morin’s body was discovered along the Ma and Pa walking trail in Bel Air, Maryland, in August 2023.

During a streamed news conference, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office expressed relief at the arrest, stating, “Rachel’s murderer is no longer a free man. Hopefully, he’ll never have the opportunity to walk free again.” The investigation revealed that Morin’s DNA found at the crime scene matched DNA from an assault and home invasion in California.

Hernandez, who had been living illegally in the United States since February 2023, is also suspected of a murder in El Salvador before crossing the border. Authorities disclosed that he had been involved in a violent home invasion in Los Angeles, where a nine-year-old girl and her mother were attacked. Using a lead obtained three weeks ago, investigators employed genetic genealogy to positively identify Hernandez as the suspect.

Sheriff Gahler expressed concern over Hernandez’s criminal background and illegal status in the U.S., emphasizing that such incidents involving individuals with ties to criminal gangs should not occur. He emphasized, “Victor Hernandez did not come here to make a better life for himself or his family. He came here to escape a crime he committed in El Salvador.” The arrest offers a sense of closure to Morin’s family and the community, following months of uncertainty surrounding her tragic death.