Marine veteran wanted for murder in San Diego added to US Marshals ‘Most Wanted List’

A 37-year-old man wanted in the 2016 San Diego death of a woman he was dating has been added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list, the federal law enforcement agency announced Monday.

Raymond “RJ” McLeod is the first person to debut on the list with a hefty $50,000 reward for information directly leading to his arrest. San Diego prosecutors have charged him with murder in the death of Krystal Mitchell, a 30-year-old mother of two.

The international manhunt for McLeod — he was last seen four years ago in Guatemala — had made headlines and been featured on true-crime shows. The case was also set to be featured Monday on America’s Most Wanted.

McLeod had just started seeing Mitchell — they lived in the same Phoenix-area apartment complex — when they came out to San Diego to visit one of McLeod’s friends, a married man with a new baby.

On June 10, 2016, the friend went into the guestroom of his Mission Gorge apartment and found Mitchell dead amid signs of a struggle.

McLeod was gone. So was Mitchell’s new car. Authorities believe McLeod fled to Mexico and into Central America.

Mitchell’s mother, a former police officer, is thrilled about the decision to add McLeod to the Marshals list of 15 most wanted fugitives.

“I am very hopeful. Going top 15 means that the case is not going to fall to the bottom and be buried,” Josephine Funes Wentzel said Monday.

Wentzel has doggedly dug for tips about McLeod’s whereabouts. Using social media, she was able to tracked down sightings of the heavily tattooed bodybuilder in Belize in 2016, and the following year in Guatemala.

McLeod is White and about 5 feet 11 inches tall with brown hair and hazel eyes. A bodybuilder, he weighed about 245 pounds when he went into hiding. He also has several tattoos, including skulls and symbols, on his chest and arms.

Authorities said the former Marine may be going by RJ, Matt or Mateo, and may have grown a beard.

The reward poster from the U.S. Marshals office notes that he has a history of domestic violence — he’s suspected of abusing two previous wives — and is a heavy drinker. At a 2018 news conference about the case, authorities said McLeod might be in expatriate communities on the coast, and was known to go to nightclubs.

The America’s Most Wanted episode featuring the search for McLeod is slated to air at 9 p.m. tonight on Fox 5 San Diego.

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(c) 2021 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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