Former US service man listed as US Marshals’ Most Wanted Man was finally caught in Central america on Monday
Police in El Salvador on Monday arrested ex-Marine, Raymond ‘RJ’ McLeod ending his fugitive status after going on the run six years ago
The ‘armed and dangerous’ avid body builder from Phoenix, Arizona is wanted for the murder of his girlfriend Krystal Mitchell, 30, in June 2016
McLeod, 36, was found teaching English in the city of Sonsonate, El Salvador after six years of evading the law for strangling his girlfriend to death on trip to San Diego
McLeod was arrested by police in El Salvador on Monday and handed over to US Marshals
The suspect fled through Mexico to Central America after Mitchell’s death, but was spotted in Guatemala in 2017 and Belize in 2018
The former Marine was added to the US Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list in April 2021 – the first person to have an initial reward of up to $50,000
A former Marine considered so dangerous he was set the highest-ever bounty by U.S. Marshals has been captured in El Salvador after six years on the run.
Raymond ‘RJ’ McLeod, 36, was found teaching English in Sonsonate. The city which has a population ofb71,000 lies 20 miles inland from the Pacific coast.
Last year, the US Marshals Service added McLeod to their list of 15 ‘Most Wanted’, and offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to his arrest. The bounty is double the usual amount.
The US Marine veteran was wanted for the June 2016 murder of his new girlfriend Krystal Mitchell.
The 30-year-old former Vancouver resident was killed in an apartment the pair were staying in while visiting his friends in San Diego.
Single mother-of-two Krystal Mitchell was an apartment manager in Phoenix. That’s how she met McLeod.
A few weeks into dating McLeod, she was found strangled, after they had visited a bar and McLeod got into an argument with another man, also an ex-Marine. All three were kicked out of the bar. McLeod and Mitchell returned to the rental apartment, and Mitchell was found dead the next day, with obvious signs of a struggle.
McLeod, who investigators said had a history of violence, went on the run.
Mitchell came from a law enforcement background. Her mother Josephine Wentzel, a former detective in Vancouver came out of retirement to help track down her daughter’s alleged killer.
Despite McLeod’s “clean’’ background check while apartment hunting, Wentzel said, it was later revealed that he did have a misdemeanor charge in Arizona by a former wife who obtained a restraining order against him.
There was another incident of violence against a woman in California just three months prior to Mitchell’s death.
‘He shouldn’t have been on the streets,’’ Wentzel said at the time, adding “This guy is violent. He’s killed in the past. If you’ve gone down that road and you think you’re getting away with murder, you’re going to kill again.’’
McLeod’s flight path was traced through Mexico into Central America. A year later he was spotted in Guatemala. He surfaced again in Belize in 2018.
The US Marshals Service appealed for help, but warned that the fugitive who was described him as ‘an avid body builder and a heavy drinker,’ was considered ‘armed and dangerous’.
When he was added to the Top 15 list, in April 2021, Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California said they would never give up.
‘The passage of time will never deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod,’ he said.
‘If anything, it fuels our determination. We will leave no stone unturned until he is brought to justice.’ Mitchell came from a law enforcement background. Her mother Josephine Wentzel, a former detective, came out of retirement to help track down her daughter’s alleged killer
Wentzel thanked Frankie Sanchez, the regional U.S. Marshals Task Force Chief, and his colleague Francisco Barajas for their ‘excellent work’.
‘I have had faith and trust in them, and ever since meeting Francisca Barajas, I had full confidence that this day would come, and he would be the one to catch him,’ Wentzel said, adding ‘I told him, ‘You are my hero. We are bonded for life.’