A US Marine veteran who is wanted for the murder of his girlfriend could be hiding out in Central America, authorities have revealed.
Raymond McLeod, 34, has been charged with killing single mother-of-two Krystal Mitchell, 30, while they were vacationing in San Diego on June 10, 2016.
McLeod disappeared without a trace after taking Mitchell’s car to the airport, where he rented a new car and drove straight to Mexico.
The Phoenix, Arizona native was a ‘person of interest’ in McLeod’s case until Tuesday, when the San Diego County District attorney announced the murder charge.
Raymond McLeod, 34, has been charged with killing single mother-of-two Krystal Mitchell, 30, while they were vacationing in San Diego on June 10, 2016
McLeod, of Phoenix, Arizona, was a ‘person of interest’ in McLeod’s case until Tuesday, when the San Diego County District attorney announced the murder charge
There is now a warrant out for McLeod and an $11,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, according to NBC San Diego.
Authorities said McLeod should be considered armed and dangerous.
Mitchell and McLeod instantly bonded over the fact that they were both divorced and had children around the same age
Mitchell and McLeod met in Phoenix and instantly bonded over the fact that they were both divorced and had children around the same age.
The protective mom ran what she thought were two background checks on McLeod and found a spotless record.
‘She told me, “I feel like I can be myself with this guy. I feel protected”‘, Mitchell’s best friend Diana Olivares told Crime Watch Daily.
Olivares got a ‘weird vibe’ from McLeod, as did Mitchell’s mother Josephine Funes Wentzel.
But Wentzel was more preoccupied with the fact that her daughter was worried about an ex who ‘was bothering her’.
Mitchell became so concerned that McLeod even loaned her a gun, according to Wentzel.
Amidst all the drama, McLeod surprised Mitchell with a trip to San Diego to visit some friends.
But those same friends would find Mitchell dead in a bedroom inside their home.
McLeod surprised Mitchell with a trip to San Diego to visit some friends. But those same friends would later find Mitchell dead in a bedroom inside their home
Police found ‘obvious signs of struggle’ in the room, and realized that McLeod had completely disappeared
Police found ‘obvious signs of struggle’ in the room, and realized that McLeod had completely disappeared.
San Diego Police have yet to publicly release Mitchell’s official cause of death, but Wentzel said she was strangled.
After months went by without a sign of the veteran, Wentzel – a former detective – decided to take matters into her own hands.
Wentzel was shocked to discover that McLeod had far from a clean record and realized Mitchell had run credit checks on him, not background checks.
McLeod had been charged twice with domestic violence, one of which occurred just three months before Mitchell was murdered.
The Marine pleaded not guilty to assaulting his second wife in Riverside, California and was released on $50,000 bond.
When Wentzel posted a ‘Wanted’ poster with McLeod’s picture on Facebook, she received a flood of messages from past girlfriends.
‘He’s a charming man from what I understand,’ she said. ‘I believe she was killed because she was trying to get away from him.’
McLeod had been charged twice with domestic violence, one of which occurred just three months before Mitchell was murdered
‘I have gotten contacted by several women who said that he’s very dangerous.’
And numerous people began contacting Wentzel with reports of seeing McLeod on the bars and beaches of Belize.
‘It was just one story after another,’ she said. ‘I was getting contacted left and right. It just didn’t stop day and night.’
Mitchell’s mother, who is now taking care of her young son and daughter, said she will not rest until McLeod has been captured
McLeod’s last reported location was in Guatemala March 2017, but he has also been spotted in Honduras along with Belize and Mexico.
The US Embassy in Belize issued a bulletin to police and media to look out for McLeod in 2016.
Wentzel believes McLeod is staying near the coast in Belize so he can easily take boats in and out of the country without being spotted.
The mother, who is now taking care of Mitchell’s seven and eight-year-old son and daughter, said she will not rest until McLeod has been captured.
‘I had to sit down and say, “Okay, I gotta tell you that a bad man killed your mom,”‘ she recalled.
‘So I feel obligated to those little kids to bring justice, because they know there’s a bad man running around out there that killed their mom.’
San Diego Police released images of McLeod on Tuesday, showing his chest, shoulder, and arm tattoos as well as what he looks like with a beard or clean shaven.
McLeod has been described as 5ft 11in and 245lb. He is also known to go by RJ, Matt, or Mateo.
Anyone with information on McLeod or his whereabouts can contact the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or SDPD dispatch at (619) 531-2000, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.