The body of a woman who vanished after a walk on a nature trail in Bel Air, Maryland, is believed to have been found. Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler made the announcement during a press briefing on Sunday evening, stating that a woman’s body was discovered off the Ma and Pa Trail in Bel Air shortly after 1 p.m.
Rachel Morin, 37, was reported missing by her boyfriend late on Saturday night. He told police that Morin had left their home around 6 p.m. for a walk on the Ma and Pa Trail. When she didn’t return home as expected, her boyfriend reported her missing, noting that her car was still parked at the trailhead in Bel Air.
Deputies were able to locate Morin’s vehicle at the Williams Street entrance to the trail during their search. The vehicle was then transported to the criminal investigations’ division building for further examination. A local resident called 911 on Sunday afternoon to report the discovery of a woman’s body off the trail, which led to the investigation shifting from a missing person case to a potential homicide.
Sheriff Gahler expressed his belief that the body found was Morin’s, but he stated that confirmation would have to wait until the medical examiner could verify the identity and cause of death. He acknowledged the concern such incidents cause within the community, especially in areas like the Ma and Pa Trail, which is typically considered a safe space.
In a separate incident within the same 24-hour period, another woman, 58-year-old Karen Elliot, also went missing. Elliot was last seen at her home in Bel Air around 2:20 p.m. on Saturday. A robo call was issued on Sunday afternoon to the local community, stating that the second day of searching for Elliot had concluded without any perceived threat to the community. However, the sheriff’s office urged anyone with information about Elliot’s whereabouts to contact them.
Gahler stated that the two cases were unrelated. He could not confirm whether a suspect had been apprehended in the Morin investigation, or if it was a targeted incident. He advised community members to vary their routines when hiking along the trails and to remain vigilant of their surroundings. He also suggested carrying a whistle or similar alert device for safety.
The sheriff’s office requested anyone with information about Morin’s disappearance to contact Detective Golden at 410-836-5430. While the investigation is still ongoing, the sheriff’s office asked the community to refrain from posting any known details or speculations on its Facebook page, as it could interfere with the investigation or spread false information.