Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

The Snake (Krystal Mitchell)

The Snake (Krystal Mitchell)

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 07:00

A mother’s quest to locate the man charged with her daughter’s murder spans countries, and now, years.

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. I don't mind sharing it. I share it because I want people to know the real life. Is not a TV show that comes and goes. It's not something to be watching and saying, wow, look at this. I gotta go catch my show with my popcorn. This is real life. It hurts. It kills us, it breaks up. It destroys families. All kinds of things happen. I want people to know there's hope. I want other mothers who's gone through this to know you can get through this. You can get through it. You will not get over it. You'll never get over it. But I promise you, you can get through it. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Nalazi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. It's anatomy of murder. So when we launched that to be murdered in 2020, we had a few goals. First, we wanted to take a different approach. In telling these stories, it's important for us that the victim always be at the center of our storytelling, as well as the storytelling be from an insider's perspective. And when I think about the difference between then and when we started this, the difference now is really all of you, this community that has really come to life. You show us not only that you care, but that you are active when necessary. And trying to help whether it is in your insights, your ideas, or in certain cases, trying to see if you can help detectives sometimes solve a case. For this case, we spoke with Josephine Wentzel about her daughter Crystal Mitchell. There was one thing that she did that really stood out for me, that, you know, I knew her heart when she was a young girl in high school. She came home one day and she said, mom, can you take me to the store? And she went and emptied out her Piggy Bank. And she said there's a girl that comes to school and she doesn't join in gym because she doesn't have tennis shoes and I'd like to buy her one. So she found out what size she was and she went out and purchased shoes for her. And put it in her locker with a note saying this is for you. Hearing this story in particular, like, I got a lump in my throat as she was speaking. I mean, kids want to take their money and get ice cream and candy and the latest hot toy, and she took it to make sure that a girl that she saw wasn't participating in gym got shoes. Her name was Crystal, and even by the way it was spelt you can tell she was different Krystal. And in fact I wanted to know, did that have a significant meaning the way it was spelled? And a quick search on the Internet, when you look at the Greek version of that spelling, it means sparkling. We were helping a homeless family and she did the same thing with her Piggy Bank, got her money out and donated it to the family. You know, she's that kind of a person. And Crystal didn't just have a big heart for people, but for animals too. She loved animals. Oh my God. She loved animals. She loved animals. Don't let the dogs out near my daughter because I promise you, it's gonna be in my backyard. It's no like a dog park. And we keep them if they don't coming for them. And then you hear the neighbor Fido. Fido. You know, it's like, no, let him go. Safeen describes Crystal as the ultimate perfectionist, as she wasn't going to be the best at something she'd rather not do it at all, and for her, failure was not an option. She had to have a B plus or a plus, and it can't be less than a B plus. Otherwise we're world collapses. You know, hearing that description of Crystal and Assegai think about just how detail oriented you are. Well, I can't say that I wasn't made fun of. For my love of highlighters and making sure everything was ordered, let's clue everybody in sort of the highlighter on our anatomy of murder logo that yellow highlighter over the name. Guess whose idea that was? Anna Sega? She was a very smart woman, and she bought her house when she was 21 with her own money. She saved her own money. OK, cars was a big deal. I don't know what it was with her. OK, I need a a four Wheeler. I need a. OK, I'll go get a SUV. What? Down with the SB. I think I'll do a Mustang. OK, I'm done with the Mustang. Maybe I'll go with this car. I really wanted to BMW. So can I try out BMW? Yeah, we've seen a lot of cars. Just really looking at a photograph of her. And she had very long brown hair that really seemed to shine in the sun with some of the pictures that I saw. And she has these big eyes that are almost almond in shape. You know, people would think just because of her beauty, some people are intimidated by that. They think that all beautiful girls are stuck up and whatnot. But not my daughter. She was so down to Earth, you know, she gave everybody a chance, everybody to her own demise. Crystal planted her roots in Washington state, got married first to arrive, was a baby boy, and then a year later her daughter was born. And while Crystal was in love with her children and definitely a great mom, it didn't mean she didn't have challenges in her own relationship, which was her marriage. Their marriage didn't workout. He was in the war in Iraq and he was near a bomb blast and had has Shrapnels and his body and hurt his back and everything and has severe PTSD. After her divorce, she and the children moved from Washington state to Arizona, from the rainy, cold northwest to the dry desert of Arizona. That is quite the change. We were very close. And after she had her children and went through a divorce, we became even closer. She did great as far as taking care of him without him now, you know, granted, every three months or something like that, I would fly to Arizona, you know, to be with them, to help her out, to stay a week or two with her and give her a break. And, you know, that was our routine. As Crystal settled into a new town with two young children, she was open to meeting new people and would begin to date. If she thinks she's gonna date the person, she'll tell me about him. But whether your mom is in the same neighborhood or in this case, 3 states away, it doesn't mean she's going to stop acting like that lioness. And normally I'd say, well, what's his name? How old is he so I can run the tracks? One time I was like, did you know that that guy had weapons charges? He was carrying a gun illegally. And did you know he had a DUI? She's like mom, you know? Nowadays, people meet through dating apps and maybe even through friends. But two years after living in Arizona, Crystal met someone through her job, she worked as a property manager, handling all the applicants who were looking to become new residents. And like everything in life, she told her mom about him. The first time she told me, she just said, mom, there's this guy that comes in here and he's staring at me, you know, her office was behind glass windows. Well, he's got an apartment here, and he's coming here, but he keeps staring at me and I'm like, OK, well, crystal, I mean, everybody stares at you. You know that. The man who was eyeing her was Raymond McLeod, and he often went by the nickname RJ. He was 32 years old and he had grown up in Scottsdale, AZ from school. He joined the Marines, eventually got married himself, had a child, and he too ended up divorced. Oh well, you know, Mom, remember that guy told you about? Yeah, he came in, we talked and I said, yeah, you know, he's a former marine. He said he was a marine recruiter, just like my sister. You know, we talked about Crystal's physical appearance, so we definitely have to talk about Raymond or RJ's too. This guy is someone that stood out in a crowd, and that is because of his sheer size, you know, looking at him, all I can see is that I know from looking at him that this guy spent lots of time in the gym, but underneath his physical presence, Crystal noticed he also had a soft spot for children. Mom, he loves his son. Mom, he does. On his son, he abused Mom. He loves his son. And she kept emphasizing that. And that was one of the things that I always tell her when you meet somebody, you got to fight somebody that loves children because you have children. So for her, that was an indicator. Crystal was quick to agree to go on a date with RJ and just like that, the two were an item. You know that in today's dating world, people use apps, so oftentimes they're dating like 5 people are checking out possibilities. One or two or whatever's going on. This guy comes on and says to her, let's date exclusive. He already knew that she had a profile on a dating app and he was hoping that she would just see him. You know, I just said to her with a caution, but just be careful. You just never know who these people are. Just keep your eyes open. Be careful, OK? Now, there were some unanticipated perks of crystal job as a property manager. You know, normally you meet someone specifically from the Internet or dating apple. Obviously, they can lie. They can lie about their name, they can use fake photographs. They can really describe themselves however they want. However, when you're applying to move into an apartment, you have to fill out an application, and with that, you have to give a copy of your driver's license. You have to put down your Social Security number. You have to agree to those background checks. So here, based on her job, crystal. And all that at her disposal to find out more about RJ. The way apartments were is. They'll check your backgrounds. If you have a felony, then obviously they won't accept you in. Well, he didn't have a felony, so I wanted to pose this question to you. Anna sigga. Do you believe in premonitions? And I think I have heard people talk about them since I was a kid. But if we're talking specifically about. This world that I have worked in, people talk about this feeling that they had all the time and sometimes specific things. I'm thinking about mothers, you know? Unfortunately, when I hear these stories, it's because something like that ultimately resulted, and I've got to think there's something to it. Yeah, I agree. I kind of put superstition and premonition in the same ball. The reason I bring this up is that crystal would have dreams about death. She was asleep. They were asleep. I was driving at night and she woke up out of her sleep and she says, Mom, I know I'm going to die young and I know I'm going to die before you. By the way, you talking about I go. Oh, quickly, stop it. She goes. Mom, I know I go. How do you know his mom? I just know it. Mom, I just know it. I just know it. I'm just telling you, I just know it. But I said Crystal. It would be a horrible day for life for me. And everybody just says you'll be fine, mom, you'll be fine. Well, why is she having all these dreams and they are getting specific and more frequent as she goes? You know, I believe that dreams have everything to do with your subconscious, and for crystal, something must have been triggering. Another time, you know, after that dream, she called me up about 9:00 o'clock in the morning, she says. Mom, mom, something happened to me this morning. Mom, something happened to me and I said what she says. Mom, I died. I said, what do you mean you died? Crystal? She said, Mom, I died. I died. And I said, oh, you mean you had a dream last night? She said no, mom. In my office, I died. Mom. I died and I went to heaven. I said, wait, what do you mean you died? I don't know. I can't explain to you. I don't know how I died. I died. I asked Josephine, well, was there any issue with your daughter, or was she suffering from any sort of? You know, mental health issues or depression that might make this manifest that way. And she's made it very clear. She said absolutely no, like, that is not my daughter at all. Like, she was like doing just great. Heaven is so beautiful, mom. It's so beautiful. It's it's as bright as the sun. But the light doesn't hurt your eyes. It's so beautiful, mom. And then her voice changed a notch. And never before ever heard her voice changed a notch. Mom, I saw Jesus, and Jesus said, Crystal, if I send you back to Earth, would you do exactly as I tell you? She said. Yes, Lord, I will, I said. What is that? What? What do you think that is just, I don't know. But I'm sure I'll find out. And here's the thing. Those dreams she was having, they weren't just about death. They were specific about being murdered. And they started right around the time that she started dating RJ. She had a dream, and her dream was that a snake as big as the house was chasing her and tried to kill her. And so I told her, hey, you know, while I pray against it, we prayed and, you know, whatever that was to go away. The next day she called me and she goes, mom, remember that dream? I had that snake? And I said, yeah. She said, I had that dream again last night. And the snakes head was cut off, but his body was still alive, was still trying to kill me. And so we prayed again. Dreaming about snakes is very common, and according to at least one expert, it represents a person in the dreamer's life who exhibits toxic and poisonous behavior. Now, that's only one person's theory, but it's ominous. My daughter was very prophetic. She wasn't religious. She grew up in a Christian home, but she wasn't like religious. She knew God, she acknowledged God, and she loved God and she believed in prayers. It was only a few weeks after those dreams did the snake become more real. On June 9th, Crystalline RJ took a road trip a short five hours from Arizona to San Diego. She loves San Diego, she loves California. So she loved it. And her dream was to move to San Diego one day. Meanwhile, the kids remained with Josephine. The summertime came around and I told her I said send the kids to me. I can't come out there and stay the summer. Send the children to me. That way they don't have to go to daycare. We'll take care of them. For a couple of months until they're ready to go back to school and I'll bring them back out. When Crystal had been gone less than 24 hours, Josephine began to get this uneasiness within herself. I'm home with the kids the next day. I woke up. I felt weird. Something was wrong. I felt like. My spirit was halfway into my body, that something was missing. I was off kilter. My world was tilted. Something was wrong. For Josephine, was this that premonition, or just a unique bond between mother and daughter that gave her an uneasy feeling? From a distance, something just wasn't quite right. As a matter of fact, I was so bothered by that that, you know, I called up some friends of mine and said, hey, can you pray for me? I don't know what is going on with me, but I just. I was feeling like just weird. I don't know what's wrong, something's wrong with me and I don't know what it is. I've definitely heard family members, specifically mothers, that have interviewed before, like talk about just this type of feeling, and unfortunately when they have them, often it ends up not being good at all. Then later on that day, I texted her. Hey, you know what's going on, what's up, what's going, you know how you doing? No response. But you know, at the same time, Crystal's lack of response, it wasn't like it was setting off actual alarm bells. Remember, she's on vacation. There is a beach nearby. She is with a guy that she's recently started dating. So there is a number of reasons someone just might not pick up the phone when it rings or even see those missed calls. It wasn't a big deal. It was just more touching bases then. I didn't hear back from her. So later on that afternoon, I text her. Hey, girl, what's up? You know, I haven't heard from you. I mean, I hope everything's OK, you know, I mean. Call me. Nothing. Not calling back right away, being not be a warning sign, but when the hours go by, it's hard for Josephine to wrap her head around why Crystal just wouldn't call back. What if there was an emergency with the kids? Wouldn't crystal call to check in for that? And something is wrong. I don't feel right. Something's wrong with crystal. She's not responding. Oh my God. Something is wrong. And my husband's like, honey, calm down. You know, she could just be doing something. I said no, something's wrong. I just know. Calm down, honey. So my husband texted her to say, you know, crystal, call your mother. She's bad at getting here. She's having she's freaking out. Josephine is calling and texting, and that's getting to know her. She actually starts reaching out and talking to Crystal's friends, but Crystal's best friend, Diana was quick to assure Josephine that most likely Crystal was absolutely fine, probably just busy and didn't have the time to call. She probably left it, left her phone in the room. Or maybe she lost it. I'm sure she's having a great time at the beach, you know? I said no. We need to pray for her. I know something's wrong, Diana. I don't feel good about this. I really don't. She goes just calm down. She's. I'm sure she's fine. Now, all those messages that Josephine had been leaving, they didn't go unnoticed because there was someone in San Diego who was seeing every single notification that was coming through, but it wasn't crystal. Finally, Josephine got a call back about Crystal. My husband saw a missed call and it was a 6919 area code I knew. Is it? Oh my God, it's San Diego. Oh my God, I do something wrong. He called it back and. You know, I remember him standing there and he said. I'm her stepdad. And then he looked at us. And my sister and I were just standing there, just waiting. And then he just dropped his head and he said, what more is she in? And that's when I just lost it. I just lost it. I closed my ears and I just started screaming and I just remembered dropping to the floor. I just couldn't believe that she was gone. Detective told Josephine that her 30 year old daughter Crystal had been murdered and after that Josephine just didn't want to hear much else. To tell you the truth, I did not want to know anything. I just wanted to know it was quick. Was it quick? How did she die? Strangulation? OK, stop. Was it quick? We think so. OK, that's all I need. So she was talking about it. I was going to drop on the floor, but I kept singing this song in my head. It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul. I just kept singing in my head. To get through it. And if the news was too much for Josephine to bear, imagine how she was going to tell crystals two young children. My girlfriend is a therapist and so she wanted to come over and be with me when I told the children and she said, come on, you gotta tell them. She said there's just no other way to tell them but just come out and tell them and just sat them down and. And I just said your mom was killed. Just not coming home. They were in shock. They just like. Looked at me like, huh, you know? And they weren't really sure. Josephine didn't sugarcoat it, but she didn't obviously give them whatever details she knew, and in fact, she didn't even quite tell them the truth. With good reason. My grandson came up to me and he started asking me stuff like Nana, how did she die? How did she die? I said. Her heart stopped. Her heart stopped. Yes. Was anybody with her? I said yeah, the doctor was there. You know, I had to lie. It wasn't until two years later when Josephine learned the actual details of Crystal's murder. So here's what we know, Crystal and RJ. They arrived in San Diego on the afternoon of June 9th, remember, which is about a 5 hour trip. And then they spent some time with friends, the same friends that they had gone there to stay with. There was a club down just walking distance and supposedly that night they had gathered with the other couple and they were drinking and having fun. After a couple of hours and a few cocktails in, the other couple called it a night as they had to work the next morning and they wanted to put their small child to bed. But RJ and Crystal decided to keep the party going, heading to a local sports bar and so we know that they were there. And at some point they laughed and went back to the place they were staying the couple's home, and they went there at some point late that night. The next day husband gets up and he said the morning when he woke up, the door was shut so he didn't bother. By 1:00 o'clock that guest room door that now Crystal and RJ were staying and it was still shut. So ultimately the couple now one of them goes to that door, they knock and there's no answer. He went into the room and found her. The woman was her daughter. Crystal Mitchell's first officers on scene could see clear signs of struggle. There was blunt force trauma to her face and torso, and the killer used his own two hands to squeeze the life out of Crystal. Her cause of death was strangulation, and that strangulation was so vicious that it resulted in several fractures of her neck. He beat her to death. He strangled her, broke her neck in three places. So just on its face, what are the theories? I mean, obviously, yes, you know, where is the boyfriend? Whereas RJ. But again, where's RJ? Did something happen to him too? You know, did they have a problem at the bar? Was there maybe some other one that Crystal maybe had dated in the past that now knew she was with someone new and it had something to do that, you know, we've all heard, unfortunately, that story before. And so all these different theories are swirling, but ultimately police very quickly honed in on RJ as being the most likely suspect. Well, they know he was last with her and he was seen leaving the crime scene, so in my mind I imagined this roid rage cycle. Probably just. Beat her chest out, I imagine. So, you know, if this is going to be RJ, you have to ask why. Remember, they hadn't been together very long. It was a very new relationship. They're away on this, you know, romantic weekend. So you would think that this is just a great time, not that one of them is going to end up dead. We do know that when police arrived that day, McLeod was nowhere to be found. Neither was Crystal's car. Investigators quickly put out an APB or all points bulletin to find Crystal's car. They were looking for him immediately. At first he was a suspect. About a day or two after the homicide, they do locate Crystal's car. It's abandoned at the San Diego Airport. But her boyfriend, RJ McLeod, is nowhere insight. So, you know, just thinking about if he got on a plane, right? There's a USA TODAY investigation that found that in the United States alone there was over, according to this article, 180,000 fugitives that can escape justice by crossing state lines. So you know Scott, how likely is it that he would get on a plane? Well, the first instinct for me would be that RJ dumped the car at the airport and hopped on a flight to go out of town, but that is way too easy here. Here's why. Yes, it is easy to disguise a car at an airport with thousands of other cars parked there, but we are living in a post 911 world. RJ's physical presence stands out like a sore thumb just walking to an airline terminal. He would be captured on multiple security cameras before he even got inside. Cameras would be able to watch his every move throughout the terminal and even up through security and what flight he may catch. So every possible method of leaving that area must be looked at. There is this other possibility. If he's in San Diego, well, then, only 40 minutes by car, he could make his way to Mexico. By then, McLeod had taken her car, had gone to San Diego Airport. Had rented a vehicle, was sent Wired $10,000 from family and he fled. Simply based on the timeline of events of this homicide, the murder happening after they arrived back from the second bar, her body was not discovered until the next afternoon and RJ McLeod would have had a several day head start. There's no warrant out for him. There's not even like a a stop or a suspect person of interest. Yet we have no idea if this is the route that he took, how quickly he got on the road. It may have been long before Crystal's body was ever found, but let's for a second. Presume that he did make it into Mexico. Well, here's something to know. You know, when you go into another country for prosecutors, that's just a nightmare in and of itself. And obviously for law enforcement too, because many of them, we can't get someone out. You know, if they're a citizen of that country, we'll forget it. Game over. Maybe they'll be prosecuted there. Rarely are they sent back. But when you look at Mexico, what we do have a bilateral extradition treaty. And I'm sorry to get into, like, this legal lingo with you, but I do think it's kind of relevant for us all to know these basic things, and it's relevant here. That basically means that Mexico. They'll give us someone back if they are found to be at least in Mexico. Well, I kept calling San Diego. I kept talking to the Detective Sergeant Dobbs then, and every time I spoke to him, it was nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. So then I started like, what is going on? In 2010, federal estimates showed about 1000 fugitives still wanted for crimes in the US. We're still on the Lam within that country. But when it comes to chasing potential fugitives, there is no better law enforcement agency. In the world than the United States, Marshall Service, being that you worked with the Marshalls for a while, just talk about why it's such a game changer. Once they get involved, it's really the resources that they have, right? And the Intel and the assets they have on the ground all over, you know, they work with Interpol. So they have about 5 offices out there throughout Mexico and Central America. They're actually present. You can cross borders with the US Marshall Service. You can be embedded doing surveillances in specific countries with the permission of those countries. If we have extradition treaties with them to be able to hunt and find your target, this is what they do. US Marshals are fugitive hunters, and Josephine, Crystal's mom, means this woman is clamoring for answers. She is pounding law enforcement, the locals. Ultimately, up to the US Marshals and the Marshall that was working the case, he kept steering her back initially to local law enforcement, but he also told her pretty frankly, like, listen, we are trying to do what we can, but you have to know that there's no guarantee that we're going to find McLeod, the Marshall said. You know, Josephine, I don't want to tell you this, but you need to know that people can get lost. Calling her a lesson, you need to coordinate with the local law enforcement, the detectives that are in charge. Your daughter's case. You are to communicate directly to the Police Department, communicate with your detective. But there is something that you all need to know about Josephine. She was a detective. With the wrong mother. Josephine joined the Guam Police Department when she was just 18 years old and served for eight years. Six of those years she was a detective, and she was recognized for her work, specifically an incident that she captured not one, but multiple fugitives wanted for murder. Towards the end of my career, I ended up being runner up to police officer of the Year. And that was for capturing 4 escape murderers that the prison didn't know escape. And you know, I love this story, Scott, because again, it's like something you just can't make it up. You know, it is one of those nights that there was a typhoon, you know, as some of us have and some of us, most of us don't coming into Guam. And so just picture what that's like, you know, the streets are just dead quiet. Everyone is trying to make sure that they're somewhere safe. The law enforcement is still out there to make sure that they can help assist people that need to get inside, and that's when Josephine is out there when this happens next. We're in an unmarked car at a traffic light, and the car in front of us ran the red light. Nobody was under robe. The, you know, Flood was coming in, rain was happening, everything was falling. I partnered up with someone. He was driving and I told him, let's pull them over. He says, no, it's typhoon. I said, what are they doing out here? And so when we pulled him over, we walked up to the car and the driver was a lady. She got out of the car, ran towards her police car and started talking to my partner. And Josephine thought for a second, why is she? Doing that, maybe, perhaps she doesn't want us to approach the car. Maybe she's trying to just handle it with us and let the car go. The car and there were three grown men sitting in the back, all wearing fatigues, and there was one guy in the front, but he had his back to me. He wasn't showing his face. Until one of the men turned around and said something to her that would change this story for the better. And all of a sudden the guy in the front turned around and said, Josephine, please don't send us back to jail. And I realized it was this prisoner's last name was glang, and I realized he just got sentenced to life for murder. Josephine really showed her savviness here. You know, there wasn't this shootout or anything, and she kind of just. It's like a let me just head back to my car and kind of left in there. And during that time, the power was out. We only had one radio station for the whole entire island, which meant we had to compete with fire, ambulance and everybody else. And so I told him, I said, well, don't worry about it. You know, it was a really scary situation because, you know, we need to react. You know, they had guns. We've all been dead probably. But I said, OK, OK. He says please let us go. We're just going back. We're just, we just came out for a little bit. We're going back. We headed back there. OK, OK, no problem. Hang tight. You guys staying here? OK, I'll be right back. And I went to the car. I didn't want to alert my partner because, you know, like I said, I didn't know they were armed or anything. So what I did was I just slid into the car and he saw me lay down in the front seat, pick up a microphone, and I was like, go for it. Go for you know. And I started calling in. I said I need assistance. We have escaped prisoners here. So at first, her Sergeant found it hard to believe that there were four prisoners unaccounted for, and especially with everything going on with that typhoon, you can imagine that it was going to take a minute to verify. But Josephine took a chance and arrested the four men right then and there, and she did the right thing because those men were escapees. It's intuition like that that could be useful in investigating her own daughter's case. But this is not josephines case. There are multiple groups of law enforcement investigating. Between San Diego police, the US Marshals. But now Josephine wanted to step in, and rightfully so. She wanted this to move forward and she had some game. As they continue to work the case, investigators ultimately found a witness who had actually seen Crystal McLeod at a bar. There was a guy there and supposedly he witnessed something McLeod did. The way McLeod was treating Crystal, supposedly he was not treating her properly like a lady, and some guy got upset. And when McLeod went to the bathroom, set to Crystal. You don't need to put up a bat. And when McLeod came out, the two of them got the guy and McLeod got into an altercation and they had to take it outside. You know, I think this speaks to me as a potential motive. Crystal probably witnessed McLeod and federal age. So potentially he got physical with this other person and it showed a side of him that she may not have seen before and she may have been completely taken aback by that and may even thinking twice about this relationship. And again, we're just speculating here, but if that's even what happened, well, the tinderbox is lit and unfortunately that's exactly how some of these things come about. I know my daughter very well. I know her. I know her very, very well and I know what happened. She saw the way he was behaving and she knew she needed to get back, get her car and go home. She knew she had to get away from him and that's what she was going to do. That day, I guarantee you, I put my life on that guarantee. As investigators piece together what happened, they also learned more about McLeod. A past that Crystal knew nothing about. Little did she know it was all set up. Now, remember, Crystal had been a property manager, so they ran checks on applicants for the apartments. But those are most likely credit checks, not background checks for a criminal pass, and it didn't reveal that he was hiding a violent past. He been married not once, but three times. That was different than what Crystal knew, and his first wife had filed charges against him for domestic violence three months before Crystal was murdered. But Cloud was accused of attempting to strangle his third wife. But he was released on $50,000 bond for domestic violence. Charges they are not. Resolutions by a jury's verdict or a please. And we have to say innocent until proven guilty. But remember, it wasn't just for, you know, something with the wife, it was specific to strangulation. And we know that that's exactly how Crystal died. And so once investigators have kind of done this, their due diligence with their investigation, they didn't only suspect McLeod, they actually uncovered enough evidence to charge him with Crystal's murder. And that arrest warrant does give authorities on both sides of the border more of a sense of urgency. To put handcuffs on McLeod, it doesn't mean they'll find him any easier. San Diego police, working with law enforcement agents in Mexico, did locate Mcleod's rental car, and once again, that car was abandoned. I found out he dropped the car, Mazatlán, and then somebody cited him fleeing into police. I thought I'd better go in there and see what I can do to try and find him myself using social media. You know, I really have to say that I appreciate Josephine's approach here. I mean, she shows again this savviness of knowing that social media is the way of the world and that is maybe the fastest way for her to try to locate this guy and use the harness the power of the Internet. But she's certainly smarter than me because she decided to get some training and it served her well. I mean, I looked at it as a laser focused approach with just a few keystrokes. You can put a suspects photo on several social media sites like Facebook for an example. You post it into a number of forms, bars, gyms, which are obviously popular for bodybuilders, and the list goes on and on. She did post it on places that she believed were most relevant, but those weren't necessarily the places that that would get the most attention, the most eyeballs on his photograph. And then a gal said to me, hey, you know, you should post in Belize, buy and sell, because that's where everybody's at. Yeah, I was kind of shocked. And Asia about the buy and sell form would not have been my first choice, but it really does make sense. Perfect sense. It wouldn't have been my last choice. I wouldn't even have ever thought to go there. But again, it is harnessing the power of the Internet and community. And all of a sudden, phone calls started coming in left and right. I saw him here, he was at our place, he was over here, he was there. Some other people started getting involved, you know, wanting to help me, to try to track him. Josephine was pointed to check out a hostile in Guatemala. There was a Blogger that actually talks about seeing someone that fit Mcleod's description at a local hostel down there, and he described this guy they'd seen as an ex soldier, an ex bodybuilder, and that he'd said that he was an ex security consultant. But he wasn't using the name RJ, but he was using the name Matt. So one night this, quote UN quote Matt was seen apparently under the influence of something, whether that is alcohol or something else. And he was seen hitting on women at about 5:00 AM, and even though the name is different, the Blogger believes it was MacLeod. I went into the hospital and I started searching to see what I could find. But by the time Josephine was able to actually check out that tip, that man known as Matt was gone. So you may be asking, how is it possible that a hulking presence like RJ McLeod covered with tattoos, how he doesn't stick out like a sore thumb wherever he goes, and how does he just blend in? But Cloud seemed to be cunning enough to trick as many people as he could in his life, including Crystal. Perhaps he was doing the same thing abroad? the US Marshall Service did receive some Intel from sources that McLeod. Well, people he met. He was a U.S. Marine that was backpacking from town to town and when he felt like things were drawing attention to himself he would pack up and move on. And another rumor that he was looking for mercenary type work which brings a whole level of protection or intimidation for a possible witness. So Josephine decided that she was going to work towards what she hoped was an attainable goal was to keep pushing her daughter's case forward to get more and more attention on the top 15 case list. Wrote a letter to the president. I got a case number, a response, even called the Marshalls office in San Diego and told him to work with the DA and have meetings and do all the stuff. I wrote to the Pentagon, I wrote to the attorney general. I was putting more pressure on the top. And after the second congressional ladder, there were like, will you please tell the mother this is about 15 K we promise you, it's going here. It's a top 15K. It's called the top 15, but what it really means is the US Marshals Top 15 fugitive list and that does bring a lot more attention to the case. These lists are distributed worldwide through an organization called Interpol, which is International Criminal Police Organization, which is a network of 195 countries worldwide, and they all share that information. So making the list gives you a lot more attention. His son is growing up. Something has to change for him. I mean, he has any semblance of a human being or family. He's got a surface. He's got too much going. At the time we interviewed Josephine Raymond, RJ McLeod was at large and we had planned to use our platform to ask all of you for your help to get the word out. But then something remarkable happened and that's something was that on Monday, August 29th, McLeod was located and taken into custody in El Salvador. He is being returned to San Diego County to face his murder charge. Getting justice for six years and we want to give credit where credit is due. Authorities received a tip that McLeod had been teaching English out of school in El Salvador, and the tipster had read about McLeod and saw his picture on TV. This just goes to show that all of the effort from the US Marshall Service, local authorities, and an alert and informed public led to this arrest. But always at the center of this effort, this mission to bring him to justice, was her mother. Josephine, in fact, the San Diego County District Attorney said. And I quote, 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. Frankie, the Marshall was saying to me, you know, Josephine, I wish that other families had half the knowledge you did. I wish that they can fight the way you've been fighting. These people that we encountered, they just collapse and die. They don't fight, they don't know how to fight, they don't know what to do next. And that's when I said, well, I will teach them how to fight. This is just another one of our cases where a family member who has lost a loved one to homicide is turning her pain into purpose. Volunteer with Cold case foundation. As a crime victim advocate, trainer, I want people to know there's hope. I I want other mothers who's gone through this to know you can get through this. You can get through it. You will not get over it. You'll never get over it. But I promise you, you can get through it. And I always, often think about what are the best ways that survivors of homicide, the loved ones, can be helped, you know, and just hearing her talk, it really is starting to cement it within me just how extremely important is. It's just to help their mental well-being and navigating the path of all that comes after a loved one has fallen to homicide. It is how Josephine approaches every June 10th, which is the anniversary of her daughter Crystal's death, which is just so telling about the way Josephine approaches life. Another mother I met during the trauma and crisis. She called me up like that week, and she's a nurse. And she's like, oh, Josephine, you know, I'm so, I'm. I prayed for you, friend. And, you know, I'm just thinking about you so strongly. And I'm like, what? What? She goes, well, June 10th coming up, I said, Oh yeah. She goes, well, I, you know, I, I really feel for you and everything. I said just what are you going to do? I said, Rachel, I'm tired of being sad. I can't be sad every day. I can't be sad every month. I can't be sad every June 10th I can't. I don't want to be sad anymore. So I decided that June 10th was crystals. Heavenly birthday. She happy birthday in heaven. Crystal, your sixth year in heaven. That's how I celebrated. Crystal had two children, and we can only imagine how devastating the impact is of losing their mom. You know, all that they lost the time, the love that they deserve to have with her. But it's really beautiful, the way that Josephine not only keeps her daughter's memory alive with them, but I also love how, matter of fact, she makes Crystal still a part of their lives. I have pictures of her everywhere. I tell stories to them every once in a while. I remember when your mom was a little kid, man. You know, I'll never forget she did this to me. All I remember this, you know, tell stories, will laugh, I share pictures. We go on trips. I've taken them out. We've gone to the cemetery. It's kind of actually it was kind of cute the last time we went there for her birthday. She has this one grave next to her. And it's a guy born in 1928. So my grandkids were so cute. They go, hey, Nana, well, let's clean his stone. So I just started cleaning his stone up and she goes, let's share mommy's flowers. So she took some of mommy's flowers. You know, similarly how Crystal would go out of her way to buy a classmate sneakers that she knew she needed, or to share money with someone that she knew needed it or didn't have a home. Her kids are carrying on her same magnanimous spirit. Knew I had to find some balance, but I had to find peace. So, you know, I did a lot of praying. I did a lot of crying in private. I, you know, used my closet to go in there and cry, ball my eyes out in the showers and beg God for peace and peace and peace and you know. Just all the things that happened prior to her death and her saying, mom, heaven is so beautiful and mom, I saw Jesus. Those things resonate. Those stay with me. Those 3 new peace. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Farsetti Media. Ashley Flowers and Summit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve?