Ex-Marine wanted for Phoenix woman’s murder captured in El Salvador

A former Marine from Phoenix is finally in custody for murder after the death of his girlfriend Krystal Mitchell in 2016.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 12:40 PM PDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:27 PM PDT
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — An ex-U.S. Marine who was wanted for the murder of a Phoenix woman six years ago has been captured in El Salvador. Raymond Samuel “RJ” McLeod, Jr., 37, was arrested Monday afternoon in the city of Sansonate, about 40 miles west of San Salvador.

McLeod was wanted for the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell, on June 10, 2016 in San Diego. Mitchell was found dead inside an apartment and investigators say she had been beaten and strangled. She was a mother of two. According to U.S. Marshals, both McLeod and Mitchell were from Phoenix and had been in San Diego visiting friends.

Police were unable to find McLeod after the murder, he was soon charged with murder by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. A warrant was issued for his arrest and a few months later, the U.S. Marshals Service was asked to lead the investigation into McLeod’s whereabouts.

Described as “an avid body builder and a heavy drinker,” it’s believed McLeod crossed into Mexico from California and then Central America. He was reportedly seen in Guatemala in 2017 and Belize in 2018.

In April of 2021, the U.S. Marshal’s Service intensified the manhunt, adding McLeod to the 15 Most Wanted fugitive list and offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to his arrest. It was the first time in the agency’s history that a reward that high was offered for a fugitive on its Most Wanted list. The case was also featured that year on “America’s Most Wanted.”

Recently, authorities received a tip that he was teaching English in Sansonate, a city in El Salvador with a population of roughly 73,000. He was arrested by El Salvadoran local and national police and according to a press release, McLeod confirmed his identity to deputy U.S. Marshals and members of the U.S. Embassy.

“I am extremely gratified to hear the news of Raymond McLeod’s arrest without incident,” said U.S. Marshals Director Ronald Davis. “It is our sincere hope that his capture brings some sense of relief to Krystal Mitchell’s family, especially her mother, Josephine Wentzel, who has worked so diligently with law enforcement these past years to see this day of justice arrive.”

McLeod is expected to be brought back to the U.S. as soon as Tuesday.

See his original Most Wanted poster below:

Raymond McLeod was arrested in El Salvador after six years on the run.
Raymond McLeod was arrested in El Salvador after six years on the run.(Courtesy: U.S. Marshals Service)