U.S. Marshals with fugitive Raymond McLeod. Courtesyof the Marshals Service
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Tuesday that defendant Raymond McLeod, 37, wanted for the 2016 murder of 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell in San Diego, was taken into custody Monday afternoon by El Salvadoran law enforcement authorities without incident.
McLeod will be returned to San Diego County to face a charge of murder.
“This defendant’s brazen attempt to evade justice is over and the work to hold him accountable in a court of law for the murder of Krystal Mitchell can now begin,” said DA Stephan. “Huge credit goes to the victim’s mother who never gave up searching for her daughter’s killer and worked closely with our office and other law enforcement to make this arrest possible.”
McLeod confirmed his identity to members of the U.S. Marshals team and members of the U.S. Embassy. They were on the ground with the El Salvadoran local and national police when they took him into custody around 4:30 p.m. Pacific time. Authorities had received a tip that McLeod had been teaching English at a school in Sonsonate.
Beginning in 2018, the DA’s Office coordinated with the U.S. Marshals Service to lead a targeted social media campaign in Spanish and English to encourage tips on McLeod’s whereabouts through Crime Stoppers. The DA placed Facebook and Instagram ads focused on users in Central America and Mexico. McLeod had been spotted in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize.
The victim’s mother, Josephine Funes Wentzel, is a former police detective who has been instrumental in helping authorities search for McLeod. Wentzel has generated leads for law enforcement and helped spread the word about the international manhunt on social media.
On June 10, 2016, San Diego police officers responded to a 911 call of a woman not breathing inside an apartment in the 7600 block of Mission Gorge Road in San Diego. The woman, later identified as Krystal Mitchell from Phoenix, was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
Detectives from the San Diego Police Department’s Homicide Unit responded to the scene and determined that Mitchell was last seen alive with McLeod, her boyfriend. Mitchell and McLeod, also from Phoenix, had been in San Diego visiting friends.
McLeod fled to Mexico after Mitchell’s death. The District Attorney’s Office charged McLeod with murder in June of 2016 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.