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Illegal immigrant from El Salvador charged in rape, killing of Maryland mom of 5

An immigrant from El Salvador has been arrested on suspicion of raping and murdering Rachel Morin, a mother of five, on a hiking trail in Maryland in 2023, police said.

Suspect Victor Martinez Hernandez, 23, was tracked down in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday after police matched his DNA to the horrific crime scene, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told reporters on Saturday.

“Rachel’s killer is no longer a free man, and hopefully he will never have the opportunity to be free again,” Gahler said.

Police say the murder of Rachel Morin, a Maryland mother of five, was the work of an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. Harford County Sheriff’s Office

Police said Martinez-Hernandez had ties to Salvadoran street gangs and a violent criminal record that included at least one other murder.

“Victor Hernandez didn’t come to this country to better his life or his family’s, he came to escape the crimes he committed in El Salvador. He came to kill Rachel, and, God willing, no one else,” Gahler said.

“But that should never have been allowed to happen.”

At a press conference Saturday, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said Victor Martinez-Hernandez was arrested late Friday night and an arrest warrant was issued Saturday morning. Harford County Sheriff’s Office

The suspect illegally entered the United States in February 2023 after brutally murdering another young woman.

Martinez-Hernandez had allegedly been in the United States for six months before targeting Morin, who was walking alone along the Mama & Papa Heritage Trail in Bel Air.

Her naked body was found with such trauma that her family said it looked as if her head had been smashed with a stone.

About a month after the murder, police matched Martinez-Hernandez’s DNA to a sample recovered at the scene of the home invasion and assault of a girl in Los Angeles.

“Five hours after we met [Morin’s] “Just before midnight, our family’s time, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the assistance of our federal partners, located and arrested Rachel’s killer, Victor Antonio Martinez Hernandez,” Gahler said. Mega

Gahler said despite DNA evidence and video footage of the break-in, the suspect’s identity wasn’t known until May.

Authorities tracked down a serial attack suspect in Tulsa two weeks ago and executed an arrest warrant just before midnight Friday.

Maureen, 37, was reported missing in August by her boyfriend, who said she never returned after going for a run on Mama & Pa Trail, a pedestrian-only trail in Bel Air, about 18 miles northeast of Baltimore, on Aug. 5, 2023. Mega

He was taken into custody Saturday morning and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape. The motive for the murder remains a mystery.

The victim’s mother, Patricia Morin, fought back tears at a news conference as she thanked investigators for tracking down the suspect.

“At some points during this time, we thought we’d never get any answers and it would be an unsolved case,” Morin said.

“At one point, when things were looking really bleak and hopeless, the lead detective told me, ‘In the end, perseverance wins,'” he said.