Mom Gets Revenge On Man Wanted For Murdering Her Daughter

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A retired police detective was devastated to learn her daughter had been viciously murdered, allegedly by her boyfriend who had fled the country. He even made the US Marshall’s “most wanted” list. That’s when the former cop’s “mama bear” instincts kicked in, and she vowed to exact revenge and get justice for her daughter.

Josephine Wentzel
Josephine Wentzel and her daughter Krystal Mitchell (Credit: Facebook)

It was in June 2016 that 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell was found dead inside an apartment in San Diego. The Phoenix mother of two had been strangled and beaten to death, and her boyfriend, Raymond McLeod Jr, was the prime suspect, but the former Marine and bodybuilder was nowhere in sight.

According to reports, authorities spent years trying to find McLeod, who was also listed on the U.S. Marshalls 15 Most Wanted List with a $50,000 reward. At the time he went on the lam, he already had a history of domestic violence, according to the Marshals. However, what the fugitive didn’t count on was Krystal’s mother, Josephine Wentzel, who was determined to go the distance to bring him to justice.

U.S. Marshall’s Most Wanted poster for Raymond McLeod (Credit: San Diego County DA)

According to Fox 10 News, Krystal Mitchell’s mother, the former Detective Josephine Wentzel, came out of retirement to help track down her daughter’s alleged killer — a hulking former Marine who at the time of his disappearance stood at 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed around 230 pounds.

“The retired detective started a website dedicated to finding McLeod, posted wanted fliers on social media channels in Mexico and Central America, and reached out to hostels and newspapers in those regions. Wentzel diligently pursued information about McLeod’s whereabouts,” Yahoo News reported. It all paid off when the U.S. Marshalls Service received a tip indicating that someone resembling McLeod may be working as an English instructor at a school in El Salvador. Luckily, it was him.

Raymond McLeod was put under arrest by U.S. Marshalls (Credit: Screenshot)

McLeod was found hiding in plain sight in El Salvador and was extradited back to the United States. Wentzel told ABC News it was being a mother — not being a former detective — that drove her to spend those long years helping investigators and pursuing various leads. “It’s not about being a former detective. It’s about being a mom,” Wentzel said. “It’s that mama bear. It’s that mom determination that I gave birth to this child and, so help me God, I’m going to take care of this child until I die.”

The mother and former detective also spoke out at the press conference to announce McLeod had been caught. “The number one thing for this (news) conference is, yes, I got him, and he’s not getting away again,” said Wentzel. “He’s never going to be released from jail…if I can have something to do with that.”

Josephine Wentzel
Josephine Wentzel at the press conference announcing Raymond McLeod was captured (Credit: Screenshot)

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit also spoke about Wentzel’s “mama bear” instincts and drive. “She never let Krystal’s murder be forgotten,” he said. “She was the driving force, staying involved, chasing down tips, making certain the case never went stale, making certain talking with the district attorney and U.S. Attorney’s office, to make sure we could find McLeod.”

At the time of her murder, Mitchell and her then-boyfriend McLeod, with whom she lived in Arizona, were visiting San Diego and staying with friends. McLeod was the last person seen with Mitchell before she was found by a friend strangled to death in a bedroom, according to investigators.

“He really laid low and didn’t pop his head up a whole lot,” Joseph O’Callaghan, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service, said in a press conference announcing McLeod’s arrest. “He obviously had some training in clandestine operations and things like that that I’m sure he referred to.”

Josephine Wentzel was asked how she felt after McLeod’s arrest has been made. “I will be satisfied when he is convicted for brutally murdering my daughter, and that he’s sentenced to life in prison,” she said. “I will be just as much involved as I was in the search to see this happen.” Wentzel’s sorrow and pain fueled this mother’s unique quest to bring her daughter justice, and we have no doubt she will see this through to ensure her beloved Krystal’s killer will never see the light of day again.