SAN DIEGO — The mother of a murder victim is preparing to see her daughter’s suspected killer in court after six years.
U.S. Marshals say Krystal Mitchell’s boyfriend was on the run in Central America. They captured Ray McLeod, a former Marine, in El Salvador after receiving a tip that he was teaching English at a school there.
Mitchell’s mother, Josephine Wentzel, says her family is breathing a sigh of relief as U.S. Marshals were expected to bring her daughter’s killer to San Diego Wednesday.
“When the Marshals called me up, we just cried,” Wentzel said.
Wentzel says the last six years have been an emotional rollercoaster since her 30-year-old daughter’s death in 2016, and that it may finally be coming to an end.
“That also brought a lot of tears to me. Because I know that I—to know that I put all those hours, all that time away from life itself, from my own family, searching for him, that it was such a tremendous accomplishment,” Wentzel said.
Officers found signs of foul play in Mitchell’s death.
“I had to go through a mother’s nightmare,” Wentzel said.
The San Diego County District Attorney charged McLeod for murder and issued a warrant out for his arrest. Authorities say McLeod has a history of domestic violence and was the last person to see Mitchell alive.
“She was a bright and shining light on this Earth. She was funny, friendly, caring,” Wentzel said.
Since her death, Wentzel, who is also former law enforcement, worked closely with the Marshals to hunt McLeod down.
“I just prayed that that would never happen to me. That I would see him in prison so that my kids would know and that her children would know that I did everything possible to bring justice for their mom,” Wentzel said.
McLeod will be arraigned Friday in San Diego. The District Attorney’s Office will hold a news conference on the capture following the arraignment.