Sketch of Suspect Released in Hunt for Rachel Morin’s Nature Trail Killer

Harford County Sheriff’s Office
Harford County Sheriff’s Office

Authorities on Monday released new sketches of the suspect they believe murdered Rachel Morin, the mother-of-five whose body was found in a woodland drain six months ago.

The 37-year-old victim was reported missing by her boyfriend on Aug. 5, saying that she had not returned home from an evening trip to the Ma and Pa Heritage Trail in Bel Air, Maryland. Her body was found the following day.

Boyfriend Speaks After Nature Trail Homicide: ‘I Would Never Do Anything to Her’

Detectives have conducted over 100 interviews and have followed up on more than 1,000 tips since Morin’s death, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Despite the efforts, Morin’s killer has not been caught, with authorities now offering a $35,000 reward for any information that leads to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.

Speaking on the sheriff’s office “Into the Sheriff’s Spotlight” podcast, Captain Andy Lane, who is overseeing the investigation, said that it was concluded from the scene that Rachel was “attacked on the trail” before she was dragged into a “drainage culvert, where she ultimately lost her life.” Lane added that the killer likely chose the location to “commit this crime and not be seen by members of the public.”

He added that the suspect was likely familiar with the area where the crime took place and “potentially familiar with Rachel, who had a time of day she liked to run.”

“My gut tells me she was stalked,” Sheriff Jeff Gahler said on the podcast, though he said the possibility remained that the killing could have been a “crime of opportunity.” “He could have laid in wait on that trail for Rachel, or whichever female decided to come down that trail at a time when there were no other people in sight.”

Lane said that while no information has come to light suggesting that Morin was specifically targeted, witnesses told law enforcement there was “an individual who was standing within the woodline in an area that’s slightly elevated immediately around the time of this assault.”

Using DNA recovered from the scene, investigators were able to link Morin’s death to another unsolved crime—a home invasion—in Los Angeles in March. In the California crime, the suspect left behind a hat, Lane said, from which LAPD officers were able to collect DNA which was entered into a national database. “When we entered our sample in from our crime scene, those two matched,” Lane explained.

From there, Maryland authorities were able to recover video images of the suspect captured in Los Angeles. Victims from the California incident and witnesses in Maryland gave their impressions of the suspect which, coupled with the video, were used to create the sketches which have now been released, Lane said. “We believe that we have a sketch now that is the closest rendition we’re going to be able to have, and we want the public to be able to see that as well,” he added.

“I can’t live with pain for the rest of my life, like, I can’t do that,” Morin’s mother, Patty Morin, told WBAL-TV in a plea for the public to share any information they might have about the case. “There has to be something to help us to move forward. We just really need to find this guy. Like, I’m so tired of crying. I’m so tired of feeling sad, and I’m so tired.”

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