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Illegal immigrant linked to Morin rape, murder by earlier assault of 9-year-old girl: cops

New distressing details emerged in the murder case of Rachel Morin, including that the Maryland mother of five was “badly beaten” before being raped.

A Maryland court heard Friday that Victor Antonio Martinez Hernandez, a 23-year-old illegal El Salvadorian migrant accused of raping and killing Morin, brutally beat, strangled and raped his victim before leaving her behind partially naked, according to a report from the New York Post.

Randolph Rice, an attorney for the Morin family, told the New York Post the mother of five had “10-15 head wounds and the manner of death was strangulation and blunt force injuries.”

Police say the fatal assault of Morin was brutal enough that the family believed she looked like “her head had been smashed with a rock.”


Rachel Morin, left, and her alleged killer Victor Martinez Hernandez, right

“She was attacked on the trail during her workout and dragged through the woods to the tunnel where she was located,” he said, echoing the argument made by the State Attorney’s office and Hernandez’s bail hearing.

The El Salvadorian migrant was not granted bail by Judge Kerwin A. Miller, who determined that Martinez Hernandez was a flight risk and potential danger to society. The judge also noted that Martinez Hernandez, who had entered the country illegally four times, had an ICE detainer and an Interpol warrant.

The Morin family attorney told the New York Post that it was an “emotionally challenging experience for them to see the Defendant on the video screen.”

The attorney added that the judge’s decision to “deny bail in such a serious case is not unexpected.”

Victor Martinez Hernandez in purple t-shirt


“Given the gravity of the accusations in this case – rape and murder – it’s clear that the court found significant reasons to keep the defendant in custody,” Rice said. “This decision underscores the court’s priority to ensure public safety and the integrity of the judicial process.”

Martinez Hernandez is charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, and second-degree assault in the case. He did not take the opportunity to make a statement at the hearing.

Friday’s hearing revealed that DNA evidence played a crucial role in tracking down Martinez Hernandez as the suspect. DNA at the scene of Morin’s murder was linked to DNA found on a water bottle and cap at a March home burglary in Los Angeles that resulted in the assault of a 9-year-old girl.

Los Angeles authorities had surveillance video of the March burglary, but were at the time unable to identify Martinez Hernandez as a suspect. He was finally tracked down to a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was arrested earlier this month.

Murder suspect in handcuffs escorted by sheriff's deputies

The hearing also revealed that relatives of Martinez Hernandez turned over two bags of clothes and a pair of shoes he left behind in Maryland after fleeing the state, according to the report.

Authorities say Martinez Hernandez initially fled El Salvador for the U.S. after allegedly killing a woman there in January 2023. He made two attempts to cross the U.S. border that month, one in Texas and once in New Mexico, but was caught and deported both times.

Martinez Hernandez made another attempt to cross a month later, again in New Mexico, but was caught and deported. His fourth and finally successful attempt to cross the border illegally happened that same month or a month later.

Get the latest updates on the ongoing border crisis from the Fox News Digital immigration hub.

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