A former Marine wanted for the homicide of his girlfriend spent six years on the run in Latin America and was residing in El Salvador underneath the alias ‘Jack Donovan’, it emerged on Tuesday.
Raymond ‘RJ’ McLeod, 36, was discovered on Monday instructing English within the 71,000-inhabitant metropolis of Sonsonate, 20 miles inland from the Pacific coast.
Considered so harmful he was set the highest-ever bounty by U.S. Marshals, he was tracked down after a girl noticed a Univision Spanish-language particular about his case, and acknowledged him as instructing within the city.
McLeod instructed folks he was Canadian, and used the pretend identify, Univision reported. He was arrested on Monday in entrance of his class full of scholars at Direct English faculty in Sonsonate.
An administrator at one other close by faculty said it was frequent that the identities of workers had been unverified.
‘The hire academics and do not ask for identification,’ the administrator instructed DailyMail.com.
‘They do not even confirm if they’re licensed to show. Loads of the academics there have tattoos.’
Raymond ‘RJ’ McLeod is pictured on Monday in El Salvador, after he was arrested following six years on the run
McLeod is seen on Monday being led away by police in El Salvador
Krystal Mitchell, 30, was killed in a San Diego residence in June 2016
Univision reported that he was paid $1,000 a month.
The Marshals in April 2021 added him to their list of 15 ‘Most Wanted’, and provided a reward of $50,000 for data resulting in his arrest – double the same old quantity.
McLeod was described as armed, harmful and a heavy drinker
He was hunted for the June 2016 homicide of his new girlfriend Krystal Mitchell, 30, in an residence they had been staying in whereas visiting his associates in San Diego.
Mitchell’s mom, Josephine Funes Wentzel, a retired police detective, was instrumental in monitoring down McLeod said the San Diego district legal professional, Summer Stephan.
‘This defendant’s brazen try to evade justice is over and the work to carry him accountable in a court docket of regulation for the homicide of Krystal Mitchell can now start,’ said Stephan.
‘Huge credit score goes to the sufferer’s mom who by no means gave up trying to find her daughter’s killer and labored intently with our office and different regulation enforcement to make this arrest doable.’
Wentzel, who traveled throughout Latin America – at one level being threatened by a knife on the Guatemalan border, at one other level being savagely attacked by a wild canine – said McLeod was noticed by a girl in El Salvador.
‘Obviously my daughter can’t be introduced again, however I’m relieved that this man is not a menace to the ladies of Mexico and Central America,’ she instructed Univision.
She said she spent lengthy stretches of time in Guatemala – he was seen in a video clip in Christmas 2016, dancing with a girl at a bar contained in the Almost Famous hostel within the coastal city of Livingston – however said she didn’t significantly focus on El Salvador.
‘I did look in El Salvador, however I was by no means significantly targeted on that nation,’ she said.
‘A Hispanic pal instructed me: “He won’t go to El Salvador – they’ll kill him.”
‘But that is the place he was – in the identical group of the one who instructed me that.’
Mitchell is pictured along with her mom, Josephine Wentzel, a retired detective, who labored on the case
Wentzel said that the native authorities had been tipped off by an area girl.
‘There was an official grievance. A girl in El Salvador remembered having learn an article on Univision’s website, and noticed the person.
‘She rang to report him.’
Wentzel said she too shared the Univision article broadly, within the hope of monitoring him down.
‘I shared that article as a result of it was in Spanish and defined all the pieces.
‘I despatched it out to a number of folks on social media.
‘He was hiding in a small city in El Salvador, pretending to be Canadian. They may go proper to his classroom and arrest him.’
McLeod was described as armed, harmful, an ‘avid bodybuilder’ and ‘heavy drinker’
Krystal Mitchell, 30, from Phoenix, had solely been courting McLeod for a couple of weeks when he killed her
Mitchell was discovered strangled, after that they had visited a bar and McLeod acquired into an argument with one other man, additionally an ex-Marine. All three had been kicked out of the bar. McLeod and Mitchell returned to the rental residence, and Mitchell was discovered lifeless the following day, with apparent indicators of a battle.
McLeod, who investigators said had a historical past of violence, went on the run – touring by means of Mexico into Central America.
He was noticed in Guatemala in 2017, and in Belize the next year.
Marshals appealed for assist, however warned he was thought-about ‘armed and harmful’ – and described him as ‘an avid physique builder and a heavy drinker’.
When he was added to the Top 15 list, in 2021, Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California said they’d by no means quit.
McLeod is seen on Monday after he was arrested by Salvadoran police
Marshals said that McLeod was recognizable from his distinctive cranium tattoos
The former Marine was residing in Phoenix, Arizona on the time he went on the run
‘The passage of time won’t ever deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod,’ he said.
‘If something, it fuels our dedication. We will go away no stone unturned till he is dropped at justice.’
Wentzel thanked Frankie Sanchez, the regional U.S. Marshals Task Force Chief, and his colleague Francisco Barajas for his or her ‘wonderful work’.
‘I’ve had religion and belief in them, and ever since meeting Francisca Barajas, I had full confidence that today would come, and he could be the one to catch him,’ she said.
‘I instructed him, ‘You are my hero. We are bonded for all times.’