Murder Suspect Arrested in Connection with Maryland Hiker’s Death and El Salvador Case

BEL AIR, Maryland – Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez, a fugitive wanted in El Salvador for the murder of a young woman, has been arrested in connection with the killing of Maryland hiker, Rachel Morin.

Morin’s body was found on the Ma and Pa Trail in Bel Air, Maryland, in August 2023. Authorities speculate that Martinez-Hernandez ambushed Morin while she was walking on the trail, attacking and killing her before fleeing the state.

Sheriff Jeff Gahler stated that Martinez-Hernandez faces charges of first-degree murder and rape in Maryland. The suspect had entered the United States without permission in February 2023 to escape authorities in El Salvador investigating him for the death of another woman.

Gahler criticized federal leadership on border security, expressing concerns about public safety due to what he described as failed immigration policies. He highlighted the case as the second instance in recent years where a woman in the county was allegedly killed by an individual with gang ties from El Salvador who was in the country illegally.

Authorities in Maryland have not disclosed details about the murder weapon or how Morin, a mother of five, was killed. The suspect, currently held without bail in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, is facing extradition to Maryland.

Investigators have indicated that DNA evidence from a separate home invasion in Los Angeles led to the arrest of Martinez-Hernandez in the Maryland case. The FBI used familial DNA to identify the suspect, linking him to the crime scene in Bel Air.

It remains unclear if there are additional crimes connected to the case in Harford County. Gahler expressed concerns that further investigations might reveal more offenses linked to Martinez-Hernandez.

During a press conference, Morin’s mother, Patricia “Patty” Morin, expressed gratitude to investigators for their work on the case. She also acknowledged the news media for their role in keeping the story visible to the public.

Authorities are confident in extraditing Martinez-Hernandez to Maryland for trial before any consideration from El Salvador or California for prosecution in related cases.