The family of Rachel Morin, the Bel Air woman whose body was found near a hiking trail Sunday, posted a plea for compassion as they grapple with the “sudden and tragic” loss of the mother of five.

“We are grieving. We need the time and space to grieve as a family,” Morin’s mother wrote in the statement. “I ask that as mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters, that you would please have compassion on us and allow us this.”

The family is planning a celebration of life and a 5K with a “trail of flowers” in honor of Morin, her mother wrote in the statement, which was posted on the Facebook page of Rebekah Morin, the sister of the slain woman.

“As a mom, I appreciate the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the worldwide community that grieves with me for my young daughter,” Morin’s mother wrote. Her name was not included on the post, but records indicate her name is Patty Morin.

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The statement arrived as Harford County sheriff’s deputies embarked on the fifth day of investigating the killing of Morin, 37, whose body was found Sunday afternoon in a wooded area near the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail in Bel Air.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said there were no major updates on the case Thursday. The sheriff’s office did post a plea for a group of potential witnesses — five adults and two dogs who had walked on the trail between 6 and 7:30 Saturday evening — to come forward.

A source close to Morin’s boyfriend, Richard Tobin, said the 27-year-old had provided investigators with his cell phone and a DNA sample. The source asked not to be identified because of the intense media coverage surrounding the case, which has drawn international attention.

The sheriff’s spokeswoman also said that a man whom a local TV station had interviewed about finding Morin’s body did not find the body. The interview with Michael Gabriszeski was regurgitated by many tabloid sites Thursday.

“He did not find Rachel or witness her body,” spokeswoman Cristie Hopkins wrote in an email. “He has no first-hand knowledge of the crime scene.”

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On Wednesday, Sheriff Jeff Gahler said that 10 investigators were working around the clock to solve the case. Sheriff’s deputies had received more than 100 tips in the case, but Gahler pleaded with people to send in more, even if the information seemed inconsequential.

Morin ran a cleaning business, according to a friend. She was a “fighter” who worked hard to support her family and enjoyed reading, dancing and exercising, said Becca Dill, the friend.

According to the sheriff’s office, Morin’s boyfriend reported her missing Saturday evening and found her car at a trailhead near Williams Street in Bel Air. Deputies fanned out across the trail Saturday and Sunday, but it was a resident who joined in the search who found her around 1 p.m. Sunday.

Morin’s Facebook profile, which has since been taken down, showed that she and Tobin had declared themselves as “in a relationship” just a few days before. In response to comments casting suspicion on Tobin, he posted a defense, saying he loved Morin and “would never do anything to her.”

Tobin acknowledged that he had some past criminal convictions, which he attributed to drug problems, and said that he had been clean for 15 months.

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Tobin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Rebekah Morin also posted that the family walked the trail Wednesday evening “in silent remembrance of Rachel” and posted photos of her and her siblings on trees along the trail.

She invited others to do the same, or place flowers along the trail and then post photos tagged #RememberingRachelMorin “to honor and remember the most beautiful, sweet and loving woman I have known.”

Julie Scharper is an enterprise reporter for The Baltimore Banner. Her work ranges from investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse to light-hearted features. Baltimore Magazine awarded Scharper a Best in Baltimore in 2023 for her series exposing a toxic work culture within the Maryland Park Service.

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