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SAN DIEGO – A man wanted in a 2016 murder in San Diego was arrested Monday in El Salvador, authorities announced.

Raymond McLeod, a fugitive on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list was sought by the San Diego Police Department in the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell, The 37-year-old man confirmed his identity to U.S. Marshals at the U.S. Embassy after El Salvadorian officials had received a tip that the fugitive was teaching at a school in Sosonate.

“I am extremely gratified to hear the news of Raymond McLeod’s arrest without incident,” said U.S. Marshals Director Ronald Davis. “It is our sincere hope that his capture brings some sense of relief to Krystal Mitchell’s family, especially her mother, Josephine Wentzel, who has worked so diligently with law enforcement these past years to see this day of justice arrive.”

On June 10, 2016, police officers were dispatched to the 7600 block of Mission Gorge Road for reports of a woman who was not breathing. Upon arrival, officers located Mitchell who had been beaten and strangled. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS officials.

McLeod was quickly identified following the murder after detectives with the San Diego Police Department confirmed that the man was the last person to see Mitchell alive. The 37-year-old was charged with murder and in December 2016, the manhunt to find him began.

Officials initially believed that the man had fled to Central America through Mexico and his last reported whereabouts prior to his arrest Monday were in Belize in 2018 and Guatemala in 2017. In 2021, the U.S. Marshals offered a reward of up to 50,000 for information leading to his capture.

“This defendant’s brazen attempt to evade justice is over and the work to hold him accountable in a court of law for the murder of Krystal Mitchell can now begin,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Huge credit goes to the victim’s mother who never gave up searching for her daughter’s killer and worked closely with our office and other law enforcement to make this arrest possible.”

McLeod will be deported from El Salvador to San Diego in the coming days.