AP

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.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

5 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

5 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

5 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

9 days ago

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