Suspect in 2016 California killing captured in El Salvador

West

SAN DIEGO (NewsNation) — An Arizona man wanted for the killing of his girlfriend in San Diego in 2016 has been captured in El Salvador, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Raymond McLeod, 37, who was on the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list, was taken into custody Monday afternoon by local law enforcement and confirmed his identity to accompanying U.S. authorities, the service said in a statement Tuesday.

Authorities were tipped off that McLeod had been teaching English at a school in the city of Sonsonate.

McLeod was booked into a San Diego jail early Wednesday after being transported from El Salvador, and he will be arraigned Friday, the San Diego County District Attorney’s office said. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

McLeod, a former U.S. Marine, is accused of killing Krystal Mitchell, 30. Both McLeod and Mitchell lived in Phoenix but at the time were visiting a friend in San Diego.

In this image released by the U.S. Marshals Service is the wanted poster for Raymond McLeod, who has been apprehended. The U.S. Marshals Service says the Arizona man wanted for the killing of his girlfriend in San Diego in 2016 has been captured in El Salvador. The service says 37-year-old Raymond McLeod was taken into custody Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, by local law enforcement and confirmed his identity to accompanying U.S. authorities. (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)

On June 10, 2016, the friend found Mitchell not breathing and paramedics pronounced her dead. Homicide detectives found signs of a struggle.

“They determined Mitchell was last seen alive with her boyfriend McLeod,” the statement said.

San Diego County prosecutors charged McLeod with murder, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The U.S. Marshals Service subsequently led the manhunt for McLeod, who they believed fled through Mexico to Central America. He was reported to have been in Guatemala in 2017 and Belize in 2018.

A $50,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture, and he was added to the 15 Most Wanted list.

Mitchell’s mother, Josephine Wentzel, told NewsNation affiliate KSWB her family is breathing a sigh of relief after the arrest.

“When the marshals called me up, we just cried,” she said.

For Wentzel, the last six years have been a mother’s nightmare.

“She was a bright and shining light on this Earth. She was funny, friendly, caring,” she said.

Wentzel, who is also former law enforcement, worked closely with the marshals to hunt McLeod down.

“I just prayed that that … I would see him in prison so that my kids would know and that her children would know that I did everything possible to bring justice for their mom,” she said.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KSWB in San Diego contributed to this report.

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