Raymond “RJ” McLeod, one of many U.S. Marshals High 15 Most Needed for his alleged position within the 2016 slaying of Krystal Mitchell in San Diego, has been arrested after spending years on the run in Central America.
Mitchell’s mom, the previous Detective Josephine Wentzel, got here out of retirement to assist observe down her daughter’s alleged killer — a hulking former Marine who on the time of his disappearance stood at 5 ft, 11 inches tall and weighed round 230 kilos. Marshals and Salvadoran authorities arrested him round 4:30 p.m. Monday after receiving a tip that he was educating English in a college in Sonsonate, about 40 miles west of San Salvador close to the Pacific Ocean.
Fox Nation host Nancy Grace highlighted the hunt for McLeod early this yr on “WANTED: A Nancy Grace Investigation.”
“Lastly, justice!” Grace instructed Fox Information Digital. “After a worldwide search, the brute who murdered an harmless younger girl has been captured, and his sufferer, Krystal Mitchell, and her grieving household could have their day in courtroom.”
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Marshals described him as armed and harmful, “an avid bodybuilder and a heavy drinker.”
“RJ McLeod doesn’t should be known as a U.S. Marine,” Grace added. “He savagely murdered Krystal, after which, like a coward, went on the run.”
RJ McLeod was the primary fugitive ever added to the US Marshals High 15 Most Needed Record with a beginning bounty of $50,000. (US Marshals)
McLeod was the primary suspect to ever enter the U.S. Marshals’ High 15 Most Needed Record with a whopping $50,000 reward. On the time he went on the lam, he already had a history of domestic violence, in line with the Marshals.
“He enjoys hurting ladies for its personal sake,” psychologist Dr. Michael Bourke instructed Grace whereas filming the particular. “He is not somebody that is doing it for another function. He merely enjoys it.”
Deputy Marshals Francisco Barajas and Luis Ramirez flew right down to El Salvador to help native and nationwide police in his seize at round 4:30 PT Monday and had been escorting him again to the U.S.
Wentzel, Mitchell’s mom, praised the regional U.S. Marshals Job Drive Chief Frankie Sanchez and Barajas for his or her “glorious work” Monday night.
“I’ve had religion and belief in them, and ever since assembly Francisco Barajas, I had full confidence that this present day would come, and he could be the one to catch him,” she mentioned. “I instructed him, ‘You might be my hero. We’re bonded for all times.’”
Josephine Wentzel and her daughter Krystal Mitchell in an undated picture. (Courtesy of Josephine Wentzel)
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San Diego police discovered Mitchell, 30 on the time of her homicide, lifeless on June 10, 2016, in line with authorities. She had been relationship McLeod for only a few weeks.
Detectives mentioned the scene confirmed “indicators of a battle.”
Each McLeod and Mitchell had been from Phoenix, Arizona, visiting California to see buddies, in line with authorities.
San Diego prosecutors quickly obtained a murder warrant, however by December 2016, McLeod had nonetheless eluded seize. Native investigators requested for the Marshals’ help, kicking off a search that got here to an finish Monday in Sonsonate.
Marshals flank RJ McLeod after his arrest in Sonsonate, El Salvador, on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (US Marshals)
Authorities early on mentioned they believed McLeod had fled south, first by Mexico, then into hiding someplace in Central America, utilizing aliases that will have included “Matt” and “Mateo.”
He was noticed in Guatemala in 2017 and in Belize a yr later however continued to evade seize.
“The passage of time won’t ever deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod,” Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California mentioned in April 2021, when McLeod was named among the many Most Needed. “If something, it fuels our willpower. We’ll go away no stone unturned till he is delivered to justice.”
The willpower paid off.
“I thank the U.S. Marshals who by no means gave up,” mentioned Grace, who had been the case carefully. “And now, lastly, Krystal’s mom, my pal Josephine Wentzel, who has spent these previous years monitoring down her daughter’s killer, could have a peaceable night time’s sleep. We at Fox Nation welcome the chance to help our U.S. Marshals of their seek for justice.”
Fox Information’ Kelly Skehen and Jenna Miller contributed to this report.
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