The Coast News Group
Raymond “RJ” McLeod, 34, is wanted in the 2016 slaying of Krystal Mitchell. Courtesy photo

Authorities ask for public’s help in locating ex-Marine fugitive

REGION — District Attorney Summer Stephan and the mother of a woman allegedly killed by her boyfriend nearly two years ago in San Diego asked today for the public’s help in tracking down the former Marine from Arizona, who’s believed to be on the run in Mexico or Central America.

A reward totaling $11,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Raymond “RJ” McLeod, 34, who should be considered armed and dangerous, according to authorities.

McLeod was initially characterized as a “person of interest” in the June 10, 2016, death of 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell, but authorities later charged him with murder and issued an arrest warrant.

“We’re not going to let the defendant run from justice and get away with murder,” Stephan said. “We’re asking anyone with information to come forward so McLeod can be captured, returned to San Diego and held accountable for his brutal crime. Let us not forget the innocent victim who lost her life.”

Mitchell, a divorced mother of two from Phoenix, was found dead at the Allied Gardens apartment of an acquaintance in the 7600 block of Mission Gorge Road. Police said she was last seen with McLeod, also of Phoenix, who left the area in a white four-door car that was later found abandoned near the border.

Mitchell’s mother, former Detective Josephine Funes Wentzel, has been at the forefront of the search for her daughter’s alleged killed.

“Catching McLeod will not bring my daughter back, but would prevent this monster from killing someone else’s mother, daughter or sister,” she said at a news conference at the D.A.’s downtown office.

McLeod typically goes by the names “RJ” but could be using the aliases “Matt” or “Mateo,” authorities said. He’s described as 5-feet-11 inches tall and weighing 215 to 245 pounds with a body-builder’s physique. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and tattoos covering both arms and his collar bone.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Frankie Sanchez said last year that McLeod frequents gyms, and “is also known to use cocaine and marijuana, and seek entertainment in strip clubs.”

A television station in Belize reported last September that McLeod had been spotted there and in neighboring Central American countries, including Honduras and Guatemala.

Wentzel told the Belize news outlet that her personal investigation had led to contacts in the small English-speaking country on the Caribbean Sea who had seen McLeod “all over Belize.” She said it’s believed he stays in areas near the coast, like Punta Gorda, where he can take boats in and out of the country without attracting attention.

“He’s a charming man from what I understand,”Wentzel told News 5 in Belize last year. “I believe she was killed because she was trying to get away from him. I (have) gotten contacted by several women who said that he’s very dangerous… so if he approaches you, he would approach you with charm but he’s very dangerous.”

In late 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Belize issued a bulletin to law enforcement officials and media outlets there to be on the lookout for McLeod.

— City News Service