The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office offered an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of 34-year-old Raymond McLeod, a U.S. Marine veteran wanted in the killing of Arizona resident, Krystal Mitchell, in a San Diego condo, in June 2016.
Meanwhile Mitchell’s mother Josephine Wentzel, on Tuesday issued a public plea for help Tuesday to find her daughter’s fugitive boyfriend, former Marine McLeod, who has been charged with murder in the case.
Wentzel, a former police detective who has been helping in the hunt for Raymond McLeod, said she’s seeking justice for her daughter and her two grandchildren, who were just 5 and 6 years old when their mother was killed.
“I have to bring peace to my grandchildren,” Wentzel said through tears. “I want them to know that Nana did everything possible to bring justice to the man responsible for the death of their mother.”
Single mom Mitchell [left], met McLeod in her job as a property manager
McLeod is charged with killing his girlfriend of just three weeks, 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell, a single mother who lived in Phoenix with her children.
Mitchell, 30, was found in an apartment on Mission Gorge Road. The Arizona woman and McLeod were visiting friends when she died, police said.
Mitchell’s battered and strangled body was found in a San Diego condominium on June 10, 2016. She had been staying at the condo on vacation with McLeod, who fled before police arrived and has eluded them since.
McLeod went to Mexico but later was spotted in Belize, said Steve Jurman, commander of the US Marshals Service’s fugitive task force in San Diego.
The suspect was last seen March 2017, in Guatemala, Jurman said.
Arizona mom-of-two Krystal Mitchell [photo], was killed in June 2016 in San Diego, Cal., allegedly by a man she’d been dating for only three weeks
Wentzel, a Vancouver, Washington, resident who used to investigate robberies, thefts and sometimes murders for the Guam Police Department, said she began her own inquiries into her daughter’s death about six months after her killing when she didn’t see enough progress in the police investigation.
Wentzel started a website dedicated to finding McLeod, posted wanted fliers on social media channels in Mexico and Central America and has reached out to hostels and newspapers in those regions.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said at a news conference that Wentzel, who is now raising her grandchildren, has been “extremely helpful” generating tips in the case.
“This is not a mother you want to mess with,” she said.
In her work on the case, Wentzel said she learned of McLeod’s disturbing past and warned other women to be on the lookout for him.
Ex-Marine Raymond McLeod, 34, is known to use cocaine and marijuana and enjoys strip clubs, according to a previous Marshals Service news release.
Investigations revealed that the suspect had a habit of strangling women in his life.
At the time of Mitchell’s killing, Raymond McLeod had a pending case in Riverside County, California, in which he was accused of strangling his wife. In the Riverside County case, According to San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, the victim survived only because a roommate interrupted the strangling, Stephan said.
McLeod also had a prior conviction in Phoenix, Arizona for domestic violence against another wife, according to San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.
His failure in the Riverside County case, according to Stephan, “set the scene for what would be a deadly trip to San Diego,” she said.
Mitchell’s family held a candlelight vigil for her in San Diego on Tuesday night.
Krystal who came to San Diego frequently from Phoenix, met McLeod in her job as a property manager, her mother Josephine Wentzel said Tuesday.
Wentzel, a former police detective, spoke at the vigil and called McLeod a “ticking time bomb” that needs to be brought to justice.
“The only reason why would have been with someone like this, or this person, is because he is charming, he is deceiving, he is a liar and he is a viper. His whole purpose is to destroy and hurt women and harm women for his own pleasure.”
An international manhunt is underway for Raymond McLeod [right], suspected of killing his girlfriend Krystal Mitchell [left], in San Diego’s Allied Gardens on June 10, 2016
The DA’s Office said Tuesday that McLeod may be traveling in Central America or Mexico and has been seen in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. He has been charged by the office with murder and there is a warrant issued for his arrest.
Jurman said that the Marshals Service believes that McLeod likely is hanging out among other Americans in a coastal area of Central America, adding that McLeod enjoys spending time at nightclubs.McLeod who is from the Phoenix area and uses the names “RJ”, “Matt” or “Mateo” is described as 5-foot-11 and 245 pounds may have access to weapons, police said.
The fugitive is known to use cocaine and marijuana and enjoys strip clubs, according to a previous Marshals Service news release. He also has a number of distinguishing tattoos on his chest and arms, including a Marine Corps logo, skulls and guns.
His last reported location was in Guatemala in March of 2017.
Law enforcement officials, friends and family at the vigil called for anyone with information regarding McLeod’s whereabouts to come forward.