US official: Tip, mom tracked murder suspect in El Salvador

Sep 2, 2022, 4:32 AM | Updated: 4:33 pm

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)

(U.S. Marshals Service via AP)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A tip along with the perseverance of the mother of a woman killed in San Diego in 2016 led to the arrest of her boyfriend, a U.S. Marine veteran who fled to El Salvador and was teaching English there, prosecutors said Friday at the arraignment of Raymond McLeod.

McLeod 37, who was on the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in San Diego Superior Court. He is accused of strangling his girlfriend, Krystal Mitchell, 30, a mother of two.

His attorney could comment not be reached for comment.

McLeod was captured last month in the Central American country after the U.S. Marshals Service received a tip that he was teaching English at at school in the city of Sonsonate.

“If nothing else, this case represents what it means when the public responds and they tell law enforcement what they’ve seen in order to bring justice to grieving families,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan at a news conference held after the Friday morning arraignment.

The person will receive some or all of a $50,000 reward the service had offered for information leading to McLeod’s arrest.

McLeod was taken into custody Monday afternoon by local law enforcement and confirmed his identity to accompanying U.S. authorities.

Both McLeod and Mitchell lived in Phoenix but at the time were visiting a friend in San Diego.

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

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison, according to court records.

U.S. Marshals learned from authorities in El Salvador that McLeod likely entered the country illegally. He did not have any identification on him when he was captured.

Josephine Funes Wentzel, Mitchell’s mother and a retired police detective, diligently pursued information about McLeod’s whereabouts, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“She was a driving force in this arrest,” Deputy Marshal Joseph O’Callaghan said.

According to court documents, the night before Mitchell’s death, the couple went to a bar where a person saw McLeod slap Mitchell in the face. When the person tried to intervene, they got into a fight with McLeod and the couple was kicked out of the bar, the newspaper reported.

Surveillance video showed McLeod grabbing Mitchell by her neck and shoving her into an elevator after they returned late to the apartment, the newspaper reported. The next day after McLeod had left the apartment, their friend found Mitchell’s body in the guest room.

Investigators said he had rented a car, bought Mexican insurance for it, and fled the country alone, according to court documents.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

14 hours ago

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

2 days ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

3 days ago

Seattle lawyer...

Associated Press

Lawsuit alleging ex-deputy falsified arrest report settled for $250K

A lawsuit filed by a Washington oyster farmer accusing a former county deputy of falsifying an arrest report

3 days ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Washington man climbing Mount Rainier dies near summit

A Washington state man who was trying to summit Mount Rainier this week collapsed and died near the top of the mountain.

5 days ago

biden crisis averted...

Zeke Miller and Chris Megerian

Biden celebrates a ‘crisis averted’ in Oval Office address on bipartisan debt ceiling deal

President Joe Biden celebrated a “crisis averted” in his first speech to the nation from the Oval Office Friday evening.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

US official: Tip, mom tracked murder suspect in El Salvador