More than four years after his girlfriend was found dead in a San Diego apartment, a Marine veteran is now one of the most-sought fugitives from justice in the U.S.
Police say Raymond McLeod Jr., 37, strangled Krystal Mitchell, 30, on June 10, 2016 while they were visiting a friend of McLeod’s in San Diego. He is now one of the U.S. Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” fugitives, the agency announced on a Monday episode of “America’s Most Wanted” and in a press release. The USMS also announced an unprecedented reward for information leading to McLeod’s arrest.
“Raymond McLeod will be the first fugitive in history on our 15 Most Wanted list with an initial reward of up to $50,000,” said U.S. Marshal Service Director Donald Washington. “We want McLeod’s new status as a 15 Most Wanted fugitive and the $50,000 reward amount to be broadcasted far and wide. McLeod poses a significant threat to the public and must be brought to justice.”
McLeod’s friend found Mitchell dead in his apartment’s guest bedroom, according to America’s Most Wanted, but McLeod was nowhere to be found. San Diego prosecutors quickly charged McLeod with murder, but authorities could not find him, and he has evaded capture since.
“We’re not going to let this defendant run from justice and get away with murder,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan in a press release.
U.S. Marshals believe McLeod fled to Central America and likely remains there in expatriate communities today.
Soon after allegedly murdering Mitchell, McLeod rented a car at San Diego International Airport. The rental was found abandoned in Mazatlan, Mexico on June 13, 2016, according to authorities.
Deputy Inspector Frankie Sanchez told “America’s Most Wanted” that McLeod was spotted at a Guatemala hostel in 2017. The former Marine also surfaced in Belize in 2018, according to the USMS press release.
Krystal Mitchell’s mother, former police detective Josephine Wentzel, told America’s Most Wanted that she had successfully solicited the 2017 and 2018 tips on McLeod’s whereabouts by placing social media advertisements with photographs of the Marine veteran. McLeod has a distinctive muscular physique and unique tattoos covering his lower arms.
“Catching McLeod will not bring my daughter back, but would prevent this monster from killing someone else’s mother, daughter or sister,” Wentzel said in the San Diego DA’s press release. “It would also mean that Krystal’s children can sleep at night, knowing he’s been stopped. McLeod has a history of extreme violence against women and even a small child. His tendency is to stalk his victims and strike when they least expect it. He is a ticking time bomb that could go off at any moment and I hope the public will take action and help us bring him to justice.”
“Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office, the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-877-WANTED-2, or online via the web or an app at www.usmarshals.gov/tips,” said the release.
Marine Corps service records show McLeod joined the Marines in July of 2003 and was a combat veteran, having earned the Combat Action Ribbon as his only personal decoration during a four-year enlistment as a light armored vehicle crewman. He deployed to Haiti in 2004 and to Iraq in 2005 before leaving the Corps in 2007 as a Lance Corporal.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army. He focuses on investigations, personnel concerns and military justice. Davis, also a Guard veteran, was a finalist in the 2023 Livingston Awards for his work with The Texas Tribune investigating the National Guard's border missions. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill.