Body of missing woman found and homicide investigation opened

Law enforcement authorities in Maryland have reportedly found the body of a woman who vanished after embarking on a nature walk in Bel Air on Saturday. Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler announced during a Sunday press briefing that a female body was discovered off the Ma and Pa Trail in Bel Air around 1 p.m. The missing woman, 37-year-old Rachel Morin, was reported missing by her boyfriend late Saturday night after she failed to return from her walk on the trail.

Morin’s boyfriend informed the police that she left her home around 6 p.m. for a walk, and when she didn’t return as anticipated, he reported her missing. He also told the police that her car was parked at the trailhead in Bel Air, but she was nowhere to be found. The police were able to locate her vehicle at the Williams Street entrance to the trail, which has since been transported to the criminal investigations division building for further examination.

The investigation took a grim turn on Sunday afternoon when a local resident dialed 911 to report the discovery of a female body off the trail. Sheriff Gahler stated that the investigation had shifted from a missing person case to a potential homicide. However, he refrained from confirming the identity as Morin until the medical examiner’s report was released.

Sheriff Gahler acknowledged the community’s concern over such incidents, particularly in areas like the Ma and Pa Trail, which is generally considered safe. He urged community members to vary their routines, be aware of their surroundings, and carry alert devices such as whistles when using the trails.

In a separate incident, another woman, 58-year-old Karen Elliot, also went missing within the same 24-hour period. Elliot was last seen at her home in Bel Air on Saturday afternoon. A robocall was sent out to the community on Sunday, stating that the search for Elliot had ended for the day and assuring residents that there was no perceived threat to the community.

Sheriff Gahler clarified that the two cases were unrelated. He did not provide any information on whether a suspect had been apprehended in Morin’s case or if it was a targeted incident. He also refrained from commenting on whether there was a threat to the community in relation to Morin’s case. The sheriff’s office has requested anyone with information about Morin’s disappearance to contact Detective Golden at 410-836-5430.