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Student: Fugitive wanted for murder was his English teacher for 2 years

Raymond McLeod arrested in El Salvador for 2016 murder of his girlfriend in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — We are learning more about the fugitive arrested in El Salvador for the 2016 murder of his girlfriend, Krystal Mitchel, here in San Diego.

Raymond McLeod was on the run for six years and on the U.S. Marshals most wanted list.

CBS 8 spoke to a student from El Salvador, Josue Castro, who said McLeod was his English teacher for two years from 2017 to 2019.

“I remember he told me he's from Canada. Also, his name was Jack. Just Jack. He doesn't give me the last name,” said Castro.

The student took photos of McLeod teaching the English class and interacting with students at the school called Direct English in Sonsonate, El Salvador.

Little did Castro know, his teacher was a fugitive, wanted for murder.

“I am shocked because that was my teacher of English. Also, he was very friendly with me. Also, explaining a lot of lessons in English. Also, he was next to me, in front of me, and behind me!” said Castro, during a Zoom interview from his current home in Los Angeles.

One of Castro’s photos showed McLeod attending a birthday celebration with students in the classroom.

“At the end of class, sometimes we would go out to take one snack and one coffee. Also, when we go out, he would always light one cigarette. Always smoking. He told me, ‘I smoke because I have stress right now,’” recalled Castro.

McLeod was arrested Monday afternoon, still teaching at the same school in El Salvador. U.S. Marshals officers transported back to San Diego.

The 38-year-old was on the U.S. Marshals most wanted list, accused of murdering his girlfriend, Krystal Mitchel, age 30. She was found beaten and strangled in 2016 in an apartment off  Mission Gorge Road.

The couple was visiting San Diego from their home in Phoenix at the time of the murder.

Mcleod was described as a former U.S. Marine, an avid body builder with tattoos, and a heavy drinker.

“I couldn't see [his] tattoos because he always wore the long sleeve T-shirts,” said Castro. “He told me he drinks some beers but I never go out to drink with him.”

Looking back, Castro said, McLeod had him totally fooled.

“He never looked nervous. Normal life. I never thought he was a criminal person,” said Castro.

The fugitive did not drive a vehicle, and claimed to be living in a rented apartment in Sonsonate, according to Castro.

McLeod is being held without bail at the downtown San Diego jail.  He's expected to be arraigned in court on Friday morning.

WATCH RELATED: US Marshals capture wanted murder suspect Raymond 'RJ' McLeod (August 2022)

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