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  3. HSI Baltimore Lends Vital Assist to Local Partner’s Investigation into Suspected Killer of Maryland Woman

HSI Baltimore Lends Vital Assist to Local Partner’s Investigation into Suspected Killer of Maryland Woman

Release Date: July 8, 2024

Joint investigation leads to arrest, extradition of murder suspect

BALTIMORE — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore provided critical assistance to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement partners during an investigation that resulted in the apprehension and extradition of a man suspected of the August 2023 murder of Rachel Morin, a 37-year-old mother of five from Bel Air.

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Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez, a 23-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran national was apprehended June 15 by officers with the Tulsa Police Department.

Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez, a 23-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran national was apprehended June 15 by officers with the Tulsa Police Department.

Detectives from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and agents from HSI Baltimore, HSI Tulsa and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations’ Jacksonville Air Branch extradited Martinez back to a regional airport in Baltimore where he was subsequently transported to the Harford County Detention Center to face charges for Morin’s murder.

“This successful result highlights the effective collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in conducting a comprehensive investigation, apprehending the suspect, and securing his extradition,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Michael McCarthy. “I am extremely proud of the work done by our special agents and our law enforcement partners in ensuring that this murder suspect is returned to face justice in Harford County, and to hopefully provide some closure for the victim's family.”

Morin’s boyfriend reported her missing when she failed to return home from a walk on the popular Ma & Pa Heritage Trail in Bel Air on Aug. 5, 2023. The next day, authorities located Morin’s body in a wooded area just off the trail.

On Aug. 17, 2023, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from HSI Baltimore with their investigation into Martinez. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office relayed information to HSI Baltimore that a person of interest in Morin’s murder investigation may be a foreign national and had recently been involved in a home invasion in Los Angles, California.

From that point, HSI Baltimore aided the Harford County Sheriff’s Office with cellular device and digital forensic data analysis and helped with social media lead development.

McCarthy highlighted the reciprocal benefits of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement.

“HSI can offer resources crucial to these investigations that may be inaccessible to our local partners, while local expertise complements capabilities at the federal level,” McCarthy explained. “These advantages underscore the value of our collaboration. HSI Baltimore maintains robust, enduring relationships with Harford County and other Maryland state and local partners.”

The Maryland State Police Crime Lab notified the Harford County Sheriff’s Office June 14 that it had positively matched DNA recovered from Martinez’s clothing to DNA recovered at the scene of Morin’s murder.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office used investigative resources and technology with HSI Baltimore assisting in the development of leads used to track the suspect to a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and immediately notified authorities there.

Officers with the Tulsa Police Department apprehended Martinez June 14 without further incident. He was booked into the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Center.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office, HSI Baltimore, HSI Tulsa and CBP’s Air and Marine Operations extradited Martinez from Oklahoma to Maryland. Martinez will remain in Harford County custody pending trial.

“I want to make it clear that this case does not get solved and we do not bring this criminal to justice without the amazing law enforcement teamwork from our local, state and federal partners,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler during a press conference following Martinez’s arrest. “I mean that in all sincerity. Rachel’s homicide does not get solved; there is no arrest without us all working together, and for that I want to thank each of them for their assistance to our agency over the past 10 months and we are profoundly grateful for their dedication and support … As I think is evident, this was truly a comprehensive law enforcement effort, and I'm exceptionally proud of the work done by the collective team and countless others who made [Martinez’s] arrest in Tulsa possible.”

This investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office with significant assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Washington, D.C., HSI NTC-I, the FBI, the Maryland State Police Forensics Division, the Tulsa Police Department, and ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Tulsa. The extradition was conducted by HSI Baltimore, HSI Tulsa and CBP Air and Marine Operations. This case is being prosecuted by the Harford County Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office.

Members of the public are encouraged to report crimes or suspicious activity by dialing the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. Callers may remain anonymous.

Learn more about HSI Baltimore’s mission to increase public safety in our Maryland communities on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIBaltimore.

Last Updated: 07/08/2024
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