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Rachel Morin's murder suspect was still in Maryland during nationwide manhunt, documents say

Rachel Morin murder suspect was living in Maryland during manhunt
Rachel Morin murder suspect was living in Maryland during manhunt 01:07

BALTIMORE - Victor Martinez Hernandez, the 23-year-old undocumented migrant accused of murdering Rachel Morin, was staying with family members in Maryland during the nationwide manhunt, according to court documents obtained by WJZ.

He is facing charges in the murder and rape of Morin in August 2023 off Harford County's Ma & Pa Trail.

Martinez Hernandez's family members told detectives he had been staying with them from December 2023 until May 2024.

He was arrested on June 14 at a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was extradited to Maryland on Thursday.

Suspect accused in murder of Rachel Morin extradited to Maryland 02:51

DNA match

Martinez Hernandez left his family's home early May and didn't return, only leaving behind two bags of clothing and a pair of shoes, according to documents.

Morin, a mother of five, was reported missing on August 5, 2023, after she had gone for a walk on the trail and didn't return home. Her car was found at the trail parking lot and she was found dead, seemingly beaten to death and sexually assaulted, according to court documents.

DNA swabs were recovered from the items that Martinez Hernandez left behind and were processed at the Maryland State Police Forensics lab, documents show, and they matched the DNA recovered from the crime scene. 

Investigators have not said how long they believe Martinez Hernandez had been in Maryland.

Illegally crossing the U.S. Border

Law enforcement officers said Martinez Hernandez fled his native country El Salvador in February 2023 after an arrest warrant was issued for the murder of a young woman.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Martinez Hernandez attempted to illegally cross into the United States three times before successfully making it through on the fourth attempt on February 13, 2023.  

Officials say attacked a 9-year-old girl during a home invasion in Los Angeles in March 2023, and DNA recovered matched what was found at Morin's crime scene five months later.

"Our investigative genetic genealogy team in Baltimore worked countless hours to identify the suspect by using crime scene DNA and tracing that DNA to potential family members," said Special Agent in Charge Bill DelBagno, from the FBI's Baltimore field office. 

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