Police in Maryland have released a new sketch of a man suspected of killing Rachel Morin, a mother of five who was found slain on a hiking trail about six months ago.
Morin’s killer is believed to have been in the area for weeks leading up to her killing in August on the Ma and Pa Trail in Bel Air, the Hartford County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
“We believe there are still people who can provide information,” the agency said.
“While he was here, where did he stay? Who did he speak to? Where did he work?
The agency released two images of the sketches of the suspect – one of him wearing a red cap and the other showing his close-cropped hair.
Morin, 37, was reported missing about 11:20 p.m. Aug. 5 by her boyfriend, Richard Tobin, after she failed to return home from running along the Ma and Pa Trail.
A volunteer who joined a search party discovered her body the following day. DNA from the murder scene later matched a man tied to a sex assault during a home invasion in Los Angeles.
“Over the last six months detectives have conducted more than 100 interviews and followed up on more than 1,000 tips,” the sheriff’s office said.
“Their investigation has led them to seven different states with ten federal, state, and local agencies assisting. Thousands of bi-lingual flyers have been distributed in Maryland and California. This investigation has not slowed or stalled,” it added.
Capt. Andy Lane, who is leading the probe, and Sheriff Jeff Gahler discussed the case in the agency’s podcast, titled “Into the Sheriff’s Spotlight.
“We have interviewed many witnesses here in Harford County,” Lane said.
“[Interviewees] felt like they saw someone who looked very similar to the video on the trail in the weeks leading up to Rachel’s death, and the volume of people that we have spoken to who told us that they saw someone on the trail who looks similar to our suspect in the week leading up to the crime makes me believe that this individual was here in our county for weeks prior to this event,” he said.
Lane said the sketches are “the closest rendition that we’re going to be able to have,” adding that investigators believe the attack took place on the trail, and that the man pulled her into a wooded area before killing her in a drainage culvert.
Gahler said his “gut” told him Morin had been stalked, but cautioned that a motive remains unclear, according to the Baltimore Sun.
He previously said he was concerned the suspect could be a serial killer and could kill again.
“We know the suspect was here in Harford County prior to this incident. He didn’t arrive that day and leave that day,” Lane said.
“There are people who live in this community or were in this community at the time of the event that certainly would have interacted with and seen the suspect,” he added.
The captain said on the roughly 40-minute podcast that interviews of people who were on the trail mentioned an “individual who was standing within the woodline in an area that was slightly elevated” before Morin was killed.
The two men also said that the DNA link to the LA crime scene came from genetic material on a hat that police in California had recovered.
Authorities have described the suspect as a 5-foot, 9-inch man in his mid-20s to 30s who weighs about 160 pounds and has dark hair.
Tobin, whose lengthy rap sheet includes second-degree assault, violating restraining orders, and resisting arrest, has denied that he was involved in Morin’s death.
The mom of five was killed just over a week after her 4-month-old niece, Lily Beth Morin, died of SIDS.
Morin’s mother, meanwhile, pleaded for the public’s help to track down the suspect.
“I can’t live with pain for the rest of my life, like, I can’t do that. There has to be something to help us to move forward,” Patty Morin told 11 News. “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.”
She continued: “We need we need to find this person. We need to be able to have some kind of resolution so we can have just some kind of process for healing. He’s just going to continue to do it because he thinks he can get away with it, and someone else is going to feel this pain that we’re feeling — and it shouldn’t be that way.
“Catching this person is not going to make my sorrow go away. It’s not going to make my grief go away. I’ve lost the daughter. I can’t bring her back. Nobody can bring her back. But it will prevent him from hurting somebody else,” the grieving mom added.