Investigators announced Thursday that the alleged killer left DNA to a Maryland mother of five attacked on a local hiking trail in August matches that of a man suspected of breaking into a home and assaulting a teenage girl in South Los Angeles in March.
Rachel Morin went missing on the night of August 5 after telling her boyfriend she was hiking the Ma & Pa Trail in Bel Air, a Harford County town northeast of Baltimore. Her body was found the following afternoon near the 2.8-mile trail that winds through a wooded area. Authorities have not yet announced her cause of death said Thursday that she was “brutally murdered” in a “violent attack.”
Col. William Davis, chief deputy Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said in one press conference On Thursday evening, DNA collected from the site where Morin was attacked was analyzed by the Maryland State Police and run through CODIS, an FBI-maintained national database of DNA profiles. It was a match for a man suspected in a home burglary and assault on a teenage girl in Los Angeles in March, Davis said.
However, the source of the DNA profile remains unknown because there is no evidence in the database of a previous arrest in which DNA was collected from a suspect, Davis said.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office released security video obtained by the Los Angeles Police Department that allegedly shows a man exiting the home where the girl was assaulted March 26 in hopes someone will recognize him. In the video, the shirtless man can be seen walking backwards out the front door, but someone inside locks it.
The sheriff’s office described the intruder as between 20 and 30 years old, about 5’7″ tall, weighing about 150 pounds and of muscular build. Authorities said he is believed to be of Hispanic descent.
“We want to clarify that we believe the suspect acted alone,” Davis said, and that it “may have been an act of indiscriminate violence.”
“We think this was a person Rachel probably didn’t know,” he added.
Morin’s friend, who had reported her missing the night she disappeared, had done so defended himself on Facebook by wannabe internet detectives who accused him of involvement in Morin’s assassination. “I love Rachel, I would never harm her if the family and I were grieving,” he said.
When the Los Angeles Police Department was asked to comment on the case, HuffPost referred to their official statement posted on Twittermerely clarifying that what the LAPD called home burglary was no different from the “home burglary” terminology used by the Maryland authorities.
Maryland investigators are working with the FBI to “further analyze the DNA found at both crime scenes,” Davis said. Meanwhile, he urged parishioners to exercise caution when walking on the trail and elsewhere.
“Be alert. Go for a walk with a friend. Don’t let your cell phone or headphones distract you. Finally, if you see something that makes you uncomfortable or that you think is suspicious, act on your instincts and call 911 .”