AUSTIN, Texas — On June 29, law enforcement officials captured Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, a local cyclist charged with murder in the death of professional cyclist Moriah Wilson, after searching for her for more than a month.
Police previously uncovered information that Wilson had a relationship with a man with whom Armstrong was involved. Evidence revealed that man to be Austin professional cyclist Colin Strickland.
Information continues to be released in the ongoing investigation into Wilson's death at an East Austin home in May. KVUE answered several major questions based on what we know so far.
Austin police began the investigation into Wilson's death at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, when they received a call from Wilson's roommate. The roommate told police she found Wilson at their home on Maple Avenue with a gunshot wound. EMS medics who arrived at the home tried to save Wilson's life, but she was pronounced dead that night.
According to an affidavit in the case, Wilson and Strickland went swimming at Deep Eddy Pool the day she was killed. They then went to eat and Strickland dropped Wilson off at the house at around 8:30 p.m.
Surveillance footage from a neighboring home shows an SUV stopping near the home Wilson was staying at. Officials later concluded the SUV belonged to Armstrong.
The affidavit stated Strickland had lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts that evening to hide that he was with Wilson.
Strickland made it back to his home, where he was living with Armstrong, at about 8:45 p.m. that night. Armstrong arrived at the home in the SUV described in the affidavit sometime after 9:20 p.m.
Armstrong was later arrested for an outstanding Class B warrant and was questioned in connection to Wilson's murder. She said she heard about Wilson's death from Strickland, but was not able to explain why her vehicle was in the area when confronted with the video evidence. The affidavit states she did not make any denials surrounding the statements presented to her.
Armstrong soon requested to leave, so the interview ended. Police said she was released when first taken into custody because her birthday was wrong on the warrant and in the department's system, causing a legal discrepancy. The warrant stated her birthday was in April instead of in November, which is the correct date.
On May 13, a detective contacted Wilson's friend who described Wilson and Strickland as having an "on again, off again" relationship that started in the fall of 2021. The friend said Armstrong discovered Wilson's number and contacted Wilson several times. That prompted Wilson to block Armstrong's phone.
The last time Armstrong called Wilson, Armstrong reportedly told her she was with Strickland and that she needed to stay away from him.
RELATED: Austin-area cyclist on the run, charged with murder in fellow cycling star's death in East Austin
The following day, an anonymous caller said to police that they were with Armstrong in January 2022 when she had just discovered Strickland was having a romantic relationship with Wilson. The caller said Armstrong was "furious and shaking with anger," per the affidavit. Armstrong told the person she was so angry that she wanted to kill Wilson. Armstrong then told the anonymous caller she had just bought a gun or was about to.
Detectives put together a video timeline of the night of the murder from various surveillance videos. A test of guns found at the home of Strickland and Armstrong led officials to believe the use of that same firearm was "significant."
A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas showed that Armstrong reportedly owned a pistol that was seized from her residence. Laboratory tests showed that it fired spent shell casings that Austin police found at the scene of the crime.
The videos, evidence and corroborating statements from interviewees led officials to believe Armstrong killed Wilson. Detectives had not spoken with her since May 13.
Authorities continued to search for Armstrong. As of May 21, federal agents said they had not found her black Jeep Cherokee, plate LDZ5608, and they believed it was possible she could still be driving it or that she had abandoned it around Austin.
On May 25, investigators said they had learned that Armstrong may have fled to New York. Investigators believed she was at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on May 14, at approximately 12:30 p.m. She boarded a flight from Austin to Houston Hobby Airport and then boarded a connecting flight to New York LaGuardia Airport.
Investigators later learned that Armstrong was dropped off at the Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18, one day after the Austin Police Department obtained a warrant for her arrest.
On June 23, investigators revealed that they had located Armstrong's Jeep Grand Cherokee. They said she sold the car to a CarMax dealership in South Austin on May 13 for $12,200. She was provided with a check from the dealership the day after she was questioned by police.
On June 30, the U.S. Marshals confirmed that Armstrong had been captured at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The Marshals' Office of International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service worked with authorities in Costa Rica to locate and arrest Armstrong on June 29.
Armstrong, 34, was returned to the U.S. She was booked in Travis County on July 5.
Prior to her capture, investigators had discovered that Armstrong, using a fake passport, had boarded a flight from Newark International Airport at 5:09 p.m. EST on May 18, and arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, at 8:27 p.m. EST.
According to a report from Inside Edition, a passport for Armstrong and her sister were left behind in a locker at Don Jon's Surf and Yoga Lodge in Santa Teresa, along with a $6,350 receipt for cosmetic surgery under another name.
In a July 7 press conference, authorities said there was an active investigation into the fraudulent use of the passport but did not say who it belonged to, saying it belonged to someone "closely associated with her."
Armstrong used three aliases while on the run: Beth Martin, Ari Martin and Liz. She reportedly used the names at different lodging and yoga establishments.
Who was Moriah Wilson?
Wilson, 25, was a rising professional cyclist who won several gravel and mountain bike races in the past two seasons and had a summer of racing planned. At the time of her death, she was visiting from San Francisco. An affidavit in the case states that she was in Austin ahead of a bicycle race in Hico, Texas, where she was set to compete the upcoming weekend.
According to an obituary for Wilson, she was also an accomplished alpine skier. She rose to the level of a nationally ranked junior skier, placing third in the 2013 U.S. Junior National Championship Downhill event, and she was a member of the Alpine Ski Team during her time at Dartmouth College.
After graduating from Dartmouth, Wilson shifted gears and became an elite bike racer. According to the obituary, a few weeks before her death, she had chosen to leave her job to become a full-time professional bike racer.
Wilson's family has set up a GoFundMe. They also provided the following statement to ABC News:
"We are absolutely devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter and sister, Anna Moriah Wilson. There are no words that can express the pain and suffering we are experiencing due to this senseless, tragic loss. Moriah was a talented, kind and caring young woman. Her life was taken from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of. Our family, and all those who loved her, will forever miss her.
"While we will not elaborate about the ongoing investigation, we do feel it’s important to clarify that at the time of her death, those closest to her clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone.
"Recently, Moriah had become incredibly passionate about building stronger communities. With her visibility and presence in the cycling world, she wanted to empower young women athletes, encourage people of all walks of life to find joy and meaning through sport and community, and inspire all to chase their dreams.
Our family has created a Gofundme page to serve as a starting point for establishing a foundation in her memory. We have endless ideas for how we can share Moriah’s life story and legacy to inspire and enrich the lives of others, and to do what we can to build a better world. This will allow Moriah’s spirit to live on in all of our lives."
PHOTOS: Moriah Wilson
Who are Kaitlin Armstrong and Colin Strickland?
Armstrong, the primary suspect in Wilson's murder, is a yoga instructor and an independent real estate contractor.
Her real estate license has been sponsored by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty since the beginning of 2022. However, in a statement, the company said that she had not yet started her career selling real estate and she is no longer affiliated with the brokerage.
"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Moriah Wilson. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and fellow cyclists. We are heartbroken to learn of the senseless violence that claimed Moriah's life and sincerely believe that justice will prevail," the company said in part.
Kaitlin Armstrong's father, Michael Armstrong, told Good Morning America (GMA) that she is not capable of committing the crime she is accused of.
"I know her. I know how she thinks and I know what she believes, and I know that she just would not do something like this," Michael Armstrong said.
Michael Armstrong said there are "a lot of unanswered questions" around the crime. Meanwhile, authorities believe Kaitlin Armstrong may still be in the Austin area.
"She was a Realtor, she was a yoga teacher, so she had personal relationships here in the Austin area," Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla told GMA. "We hope that, eventually, if she had some type of plan, that maybe she would reach out to those associates and we would receive a tip based upon that."
Kaitlin Armstrong also appears to have helped operate a Lockhart-based travel trailer renovation company called Wheelhouse, co-founded by professional cyclist Colin Strickland, the man whom officials believe serves as the link between Armstrong and Moriah Wilson.
Strickland and Armstrong have been romantically involved and live together. On May 20, Strickland released a statement about Wilson's murder, clarifying his relationship with Wilson and expressing “torture about my proximity to this horrible crime.”
"As a point of clarification to facts previously reported, Moriah Wilson and I had a brief romantic relationship from late October-early November 2021 that spanned a week or so while Wilson was visiting Austin," Strickland said in a statement. "At the time, she and I had both recently ended relationships. She returned to her home in California and, about a month later, Katlin Armstrong and I reconciled and resumed our relationship."
He said that, since then, he and Wilson maintained a platonic relationship, and "it was not my intention to pursue along an auxiliary romantic relationship that would mislead anyone." He said he is grieving the loss and has been cooperating with the police.
Cycling magazine VeloNews reported on May 24 that in the wake of the investigation into Wilson's murder, Strickland has lost major sponsorship ties.
Specialized – Strickland’s helmet, shoe, tire and mountain bike sponsor – told VeloNews that it had terminated the contract agreement with Strickland and he "will no longer be a sponsored athlete for the brand." Allied Cycle Works told VeloNews that "given the circumstances, Colin Strickland is not expected to represent Allied at future races."
Below is a photo of Strickland and Armstrong together, taken from Strickland's Instagram page. Officials say that Armstrong has deleted her social media accounts.
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