An illegal alien from El Salvador has been arrested on charges of raping and murdering a Maryland mother of five. 

Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez, 23, crossed the U.S. southern border illegally in February 2023, according to Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler. Six months later, in August 2023, Hernandez is suspected of attacking, raping, and killing Rachel Morin while she exercised on the MA & PA Heritage Trail in Bel Air, Maryland, about 30 miles northeast of Baltimore. 

“We are 1,800 miles away from the southern border and the American citizens are not safe because of failed immigration policies,” Gahler said during a press conference Saturday, directing this remark specifically to “1600 Pennsylvania Ave and to every member of both chambers of Congress.” 

“This is the second time, in just two years, that an innocent Harford County woman has lost her life to a criminal in our country illegally,” the sheriff said. 

On Aug. 5 last year, Morin’s boyfriend reported her missing after she did not return home from a walk. Her body was found off the trail in a culvert on Aug. 6. 

(Photo: Harford County Sheriff’s Office)

An investigation was launched, which gained national attention, and involved local, state, and federal authorities. A breakthrough came in the case about three weeks ago, on what would have been Morin’s 38th birthday, when DNA evidence led to the identification of Hernandez in the case. 

In March of last year, Hernandez is also suspected of attacking a “9-year-old girl and her mother during a home invasion … in Los Angeles,” Gahler said during the press conference. The El Salvadorian has ties to “known gangs,” according to the sheriff, and is also wanted in his home county for a woman’s murder.

“Victor Hernandez did not come here to make a better life for himself, or for his family, he came here to escape a crime he committed in El Salvador. He came here and murdered Rachel, and God willing, no one else.” 

Authorities arrested Hernandez in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday night. 

(Photo: Tulsa Police Department)

“Rachel’s murderer is no longer a free man and, hopefully, he will never have the opportunity to walk free again,” Gahler said, later noting that the extradition process from Tulsa to Harford County is underway but could take several weeks. 

Morin’s five children are “without their mother because [President] Joe Biden refuses to secure the border and keep this murderer the hell out of our country,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said in a post on X Saturday.

“The Biden Administration owes justice to Rachel Morin’s family and to so many families across our country for allowing violent migrant crime to run rampant in our communities,” Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said on X Saturday night.

Patricia Morin, Morin’s mother, delivered brief remarks during the press conference, thanking the authorities who tracked down and arrested the suspect in her daughter’s murder. 

“I am so grateful that they have brought us to this place,” Patricia Morin said, “because at some of the points during this, I didn’t think that we were ever going to have an end,” she said, before turning and applauding the officers.

Gahler said Hernandez will not be deported before answering for his suspected crimes in the U.S., adding, “he’s going to spend, God willing, the rest of his days behind bars.”