The body found near a Bel Air nature trail Sunday has been “positively identified” as Rachel Morin, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Sheriff’s deputies had been working under the assumption that the body was that of the 37-year-old mother of five, who went missing after going for a walk on the Ma and Pa Heritage Trail Saturday.
The sheriff’s office pleaded Tuesday for people who were on or near the trail that day to share photos or videos.
“There could be something helpful in one of your photos that might bring us one more piece of the puzzle,” the sheriff’s office stated on social media, noting that the office had received 90 tips so far about Morin, whose body was discovered in a wooded area near the trail Sunday.
Morin was a good mother to her five children and a “spiritual person, said a friend, Becca Dil.
Rachel Morin was “a fighter,” working hard to raise her children as a single mom, Dill said. She was “looking for someone to love her in her raw form.”
Morin ran a house cleaning business and loved to listen to music, read, dance and exercise in her free time, Dill said. She found strength in her faith and often recited scripture on “days she felt defeated or abandoned by the world,” Dill said, adding that they had been friends for about five years.
Morin’s body was discovered Sunday afternoon near a section of the trail, a wooded path that meanders through Bel Air, said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler on Monday. Deputies were investigating her death as a homicide, he added.
“We don’t have one solid suspect in this case,” Gahler said in an interview. While the sheriff advised residents to be cautious and pay attention to their surroundings, he stressed that he did not think there was a threat to the broader Bel Air community.
The sheriff’s office asked that people email photos or videos taken Saturday near the trail or trailheads to email@example.com.
Gahler said Morin’s boyfriend reported her missing Saturday evening and told sheriff’s deputies he had found her car at a trail parking lot off of Williams Street in central Bel Air. Deputies searched for Morin throughout the evening and Sunday morning. A resident who had volunteered to join the search later found Morin’s body in a wooded area near the trail, Gahler said.
The sheriff declined to say exactly where Morin’s body was found or what type of injuries she had sustained. “Investigators are confident, based on what they observed at the scene, that this was not an accident and this was not self-inflicted,” Gahler said.
On social media, a man who identified himself as Morin’s partner said he was not involved in her death. Morin and Richard Tobin had set their status as “in a relationship” as of Aug. 1.
Tobin wrote that he loved Morin and “would never do anything to her.”
“Let the family and I grieve,” he wrote.
Tobin acknowledged that he had a criminal record, which he attributed to a past drug problem. “I also have 15 months clean and have changed as a person,” he wrote.
Online court records show a Richard Tobin, 27, with multiple convictions for drug possession, malicious destruction of property and resisting arrest. Court records list Tobin’s address as Williams Street in Bel Air, near the spot where Morin’s car was found.
Tobin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
An online fundraiser created by Morin’s sister had raised more than $38,000 by Tuesday afternoon.
“This was not an accidentally [sic] death, and she did not go willingly and she deserves a funeral worthy of her her beauty,” Morin’s sister, Rebekah Morin, wrote in text accompanying the fundraising campaign. She noted that the family had recently been rocked by another tragedy: her brother’s baby died of sudden infant death syndrome.
“We had no idea the amount of people she touched, even in just her everyday life. We want all those who loved her to grieve with us and celebrate her life,” Rebekah Morin wrote.
Along the Ma and Pa Trail, residents pointed out the contrast between the serene surroundings and the horrific events that had recently taken place there.
“It’s shocking that something like that could happen here,” said Tom Vollmer of Bel Air, as he strolled along the path.
Vollmer, who frequently walks the Ma and Pa, said he recognized Morin from a photo and had occasionally passed her on the trail. She was quiet and appeared focused on exercising, he said.
Gahler noted that the case had drawn widespread attention. The original post about Morin’s disappearance has been shared more than 12,000 times. There have only been three other homicides in Harford County this year— and all took place this summer, he said.
Gahler asked anyone with information about Morin to contact the sheriff’s office at 410-836-5430.
He warned people not to share rumors or idly speculate about the case.
“There’s also a family at the heart of this,” said Gahler. “We have five kids who have lost their mom. Parents who have lost a daughter. Siblings who have lost their sister.”