A typically safe Maryland town northeast of Baltimore is desperate for answers after a mom of five was found dead off a popular walking trail on Sunday.
Rachel Morin, 37, went for a run along the Ma & Pa trail in Bel Air the day prior – Aug. 5 – around 6:30 p.m. and vanished. Morin’s boyfriend reported her missing to authorities around 11:20 that evening, and a search discovered her body near the trail the next day, though the sheriff’s office is not saying where exactly.
“It was more than obviously apparent to police officers and our detectives who came up that this was not an accidental injury – somebody out exercising who’s fallen down and sustained a fatal injury,” Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler told Fox News Digital. “This was not something that was self-inflicted.… This was the actions of one or more persons who took her life in a criminal homicide – an egregious, horrific act in what is very otherwise… a very, very safe area.”
Gahler believes that’s why Morin’s death, which has been labeled a homicide, has garnered so much attention from people across the country. Her killing was “out of the norm,” not just for Harford County but for Bel Air and the community surrounding the Ma & Pa trail, which the sheriff said is “very popular” and used frequently by many locals.
Morin herself frequently jogged along the Ma & Pa trail, which begins behind some businesses with decent foot traffic, including a brewery, a Domino’s, and condominiums. It then leads into a wooded area and through a neighborhood before it descends into more woods underneath the state highway, Gahler explained.
And on a Saturday evening, the trail is still active with pedestrians and bikers. Morin passed by residents who saw her on the trail that evening before she disappeared, the sheriff said.
“We’re asking people who saw anything or maybe cameras captured something,” he said. “If someone has something that they think could be evidence… something that would advance the criminal investigation… we certainly want to know. We want to talk to those people.”
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office currently has 10 detectives, in addition to supporting personnel from other agencies, assigned to an investigation into Morin’s shocking death.
As of Wednesday morning, authorities have not named any suspects or persons of interest. Gahler is also shooting down “rumors” that are circulating on social media regarding the nature of Morin’s killing and speculation about suspects.
“There’s a lot of talk online about Rachel’s boyfriend, of course, the individual who reported her missing to us.… Conspiracy theories with people quoting his criminal history,” Gahler said. “I can tell you that our investigators have spoken to him, as they have spoken to many other people.”
The sheriff added that investigators are starting by looking into the victim’s “inner circle” and working their way out, keeping in mind that Morin’s killing could have been a “random” act.
“As sheriff, if I could alleviate some of the concerns here in our community by saying, ‘Hey, we have a solid suspect’… that would be good reassurance that this was not some random thing but a targeted event,” Gahler said. “We do not have that confidence, and I keep saying that over and over again. We are looking at every possibility and to focus on this one individual may come at the expense of… not looking at someone else.”
Authorities are awaiting autopsy results. Morin’s boyfriend, Richard Tobin, broke his silence Sunday in a Facebook post after online sleuths speculated that he might have played a role in her demise.
“I love Rachel, I would never do anything to her, let the family and I grieve. Yes I have a past but I also have 15 months clean and have changed as a person. Please,” the 27-year-old wrote.
Tobin has prior arrests for malicious destruction of property, assault, violating restraining orders and other charges, according to Maryland court records, but has not been named as a suspect in his girlfriend’s death or accused of any wrongdoing.
The sheriff’s office is encouraging anyone with a tip that may be helpful for authorities to call 410-836-5430 or send the Harford County Sheriff’s Office a message through their Facebook page.
Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.