Josephine Wentzel and Krystal Mitchell | Josephine Wentzel | Source: Youtube.com/Good Morning America | Youtube.com/Inside Edition
Josephine Wentzel and Krystal Mitchell | Josephine Wentzel | Source: Youtube.com/Good Morning America | Youtube.com/Inside Edition

Mom Spends 6 Years to Find Her Daughter's Murderer, Says 'Mama Bear' Instinct Led Her to Him

Salwa Nadeem
Sep 12, 2022
12:30 P.M.
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When a 30-year-old mother-of-two started dating a man she met during a business meeting, she had no idea he would make it to the U.S. Marshals' 15 most wanted list. Her worst nightmare began when she went on a vacation with him.


Learning about your child's death is something no parent wants. The mother in today's story was devastated to find out about her daughter's murder. After the police couldn't trace the murderer, she used her motherly instincts to catch him.

As an ex-detective, she knew how to trace criminals. The devastated mother left no stone unturned to catch her daughter's killer but couldn't find him. Six years later, she got the big break she had been waiting for.


The First Meeting

Krystal Mitchell, a mother of two, worked as a property manager in her hometown, Phoenix, Arizona. Every day, she would interact with different people, but no one probably caught her attention like Raymond McLeod.

McLeod, a former U.S. Marine, got in touch with Mitchell while hunting for an apartment. However, McLeod was not just another one of Mitchell's clients. Their meeting was the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Soon, McLeod and Mitchell started dating. Mitchell might not have seen any red flags in their relationship. She probably felt he was the right person and was, perhaps, ready to spend the rest of her life with him. But fate had other plans.


The Vacation

A few weeks after they started dating, McLeod and Mitchell planned a vacation to San Diego, California, to meet their friends. What was supposed to be a fun time turned into a nightmare when the authorities found Mitchell lying dead in a San Diego apartment.

Six years after Mitchell's death, Wentzel finally got a tip through social media.

Mitchell took her last breath in San Diego on June 10, 2016, leaving behind her two children and mother, Josephine Wentzel, a former police detective. That day, Wentzel decided to devote her life to finding McLeod ― her daughter's murderer.


The Investigation

While digging through the evidence and McLeod's record, Wentzel talked to multiple people and acted on tips, but McLeod was nowhere to be found. It seemed like he had disappeared into thin air, but Wentzel didn't give up. She said:

"I know finding him is not going to bring my daughter back, but it's going to save the life of your daughter, your granddaughter."

What shocked Wentzel was that her daughter was dating a man with multiple charges. During her investigation, the former detective discovered that the authorities had charged McLeod with aggravated assault in 2009. Also, in 2016, he attacked his spouse in California.


Not Giving Up

Soon, McLeod made it to the U.S. Marshals' Top 15 most wanted list. His photo circulated on social media with an attractive reward of $50,000 for the person who would find him.

Meanwhile, Wentzel took classes to learn how to use social media. Aiming to leave no stone unturned, she spent hours on the internet every day trying to find McLeod. Little did she know it would take her years before she would find him. She said:

"It's not about being a former detective. It's about being a mom."


The Big Break

At several periods during the investigation, Wentzel thought she would never find McLeod. She often felt hopeless but continued her search for her deceased daughter. Her unexpected death motivated her to catch McLeod.

Six years after Mitchell's death, Wentzel finally got a tip through social media. She had posted her daughter's story in Spanish with McLeod's picture, and a woman from El Salvador said she recognized him.

Wentzel felt her heart race as she talked to the woman. By following the tip, the authorities arrived at a location 40 miles away from San Salvador, where they finally found the man they had been looking for. McLeod was arrested on August 29, 2022.


Changing Lives

According to the investigators, McLeod went to Mexico soon after the murder and had been changing locations to keep his head low. He worked as an English teacher in San Salvador and had changed his name.

At the time of his arrest, McLeod was wearing a shirt that said, "Coach, Changing Lives." When Wentzel saw his photo, she immediately recognized him and said he did negatively change her family's life.

After successfully finding McLeod, Wentzel's next challenge was getting justice for her daughter. In his first court hearing, McLeod pleaded not guilty to Mitchell's murder, but he remained in custody.


The Justice System

Meanwhile, Wentzel assured the prosecutors she would help them with the case. She had worked hard to find her daughter's boyfriend-cum-murderer, so giving up was not an option. She 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."

While hoping justice was served, Wentzel raised her daughter's children and prayed that McLeod would go behind bars. Not a day went by when she didn't think about Mitchell, who had her whole life ahead of her.


Our thoughts and prayers are with Mitchell's family, friends, and everyone dealing with the pain of her murder. We hope justice is served to Wentzel and her granddaughters.

Click here to read another story about a woman who married the man convicted for her brother's murder.

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