After six years on the run, a former Marine convict has finally been captured. Thirty-six-year-old Raymond “RJ” McLeod has been deemed such a threat that US Marshals put the highest possible bounty on his head. McLeod was discovered working as an English teacher in Sonsonate, a community of 71,000 20 miles off the Pacific coast.
In April 2021, law enforcement authorities placed him on their list of the 15 Most Wanted. They also doubled the standard bounty to $50,000 for any tip that might lead to his capture. McLeod was wanted for the June 2016 murder of his 30-year-old girlfriend, Krystal Mitchell. McLeod apparently killed Mitchell in the apartment they were renting while on their way to visit his buddies in San Diego.
When the couple visited a club, McLeod got into an argument with another man who was also an ex-Marine. All three were expelled from the bar after that incident. The next day, Mitchell’s body was discovered in the rented house with obvious signs of a fight.
McLeod fled via Mexico to Central America, according to investigators, who claimed he had a violent past. He was seen in Guatemala in 2017 and Belize in 2018. Police asked for the public’s help but pointed out that he was extremely violent and was also an avid bodybuilder and regular drinker.
Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California vowed to never give up on finding McLeod after his name was penned down on the Top 15 list in 2021. “The passage of time will never deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod. If anything, it fuels our determination. We will leave no stone unturned until he is brought to justice,” said the Marshal.
In order to assist in the search for McLeod, Mitchell’s mom, a veteran investigator named Josephine Wentzel, stepped out of retirement. She congratulated Frankie Sanchez, the head of the local US Marshals Task Force, and his partner, Francisco Barajas, for doing a great job of finding her daughter’s accused murderer. “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. I told him, ‘You are my hero. We are bonded for life,'” said Detective Wentzel.