Mother continues to seek justice for daughter slain in 2016 | style

Once a detective, always a detective.

When former Barrigada resident Josephine Wentzel moved to California in 1985, she left behind an eight-year career with the Guam Police Department then took a position as a federal police officer for the US Treasury Department. She later became a stay-at-home mom and took care of her ailing mother.

After moving to Vancouver, Washington, she became a court-appointed advocate helping with child placement after abuse.

Then in 2016, her world changed.

Her 30-year-old daughter, Krystal Mitchell, was killed in San Diego, California, where she and her boyfriend were visiting a friend.

Her boyfriend, Raymond Samuel “RJ” McLeod Jr., was charged in the murder and fled through Mexico to Central America, according to the US Marshals.

Unwilling to remain on the sidelines while her daughter’s killer evaded justice, Wentzel took training in private investigations and brushed up on her detective skills.

“This is not going to fly with me that some guy killed my daughter and just ran away,” she said.

In addition to providing tips to police about sightings in Guatemala and Belize, Wentzel was determined to keep the spotlight on the case as time went on.

She launched a letter writing campaign to the US Marshals and the White House, including pictures like one of her grandson lying over his mother’s grave to grab their attention.

The San Diego District Attorney’s office made the case a top priority, and he was placed on the 15 Most Wanted fugitives list with a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading up to his arrest. Once caught, McLeod faces 25 years to life in prison.

“I think the biggest thing for families is to keep their case alive until it’s solved,” Wentzel said. “Fortunately, we were getting publicity every year. Publicity is what gets your case attention.”

‘The Chase’

As the years passed, she continued to keep public interest on the case and in 2021, she wrote and published the book “The Chase: In Hot Pursuit of My Daughter’s Killer.” In it, she writes about using her detective background to work with the US Marshals Service on the case.

She also threw a book signing party, spoke to Access Hollywood, appeared on “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace,” and sought promotions through various media channels on TV, podcasts and YouTube.

She also created two websites devoted to her daughter’s story: josephine and

Helping others

While she continues the hunt for McLeod, she’s also helping others learn how to advocate for themselves if ever faced with such a situation.

She consults for the Cold Case Foundation as a crime victim advocate, and served as a liaison between police and the family of Maya Millete, a Filipina American woman in Chula Vista, California, who went missing in January 2021.

She also is creating a booklet that explains the processes of homicide for families. It will be distributed to police departments once finished.