AUSTIN, Texas — Police have charged someone in the murder of a rising star in the cycling world after she was shot multiple times in an East Austin home on Maple Avenue.
KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski has learned that Austin police have charged local cyclist, Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, with murder in the death of fellow cyclist, Moriah Wilson. Police uncovered information that Wilson previously had a relationship with a man with whom Armstrong was involved, authorities say.
Authorities are searching for Armstrong. Federal agents said on Saturday, May 21, they haven’t found Armstrong’s black Jeep Cherokee, plate LDZ5608, and believe it’s possible she could be still driving it or abandoned it around Austin. Call the U.S. Marshals at 800-336-0102 if you see it.
Austin professional cyclist Colin Strickland has released a statement about Wilson's murder, clarifying his relationship with her 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," he 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 in a statement 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.
The investigation started at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, police received a call from the victim's roommate. The roommate told police she found the victim, identified as Wilson, 25, at the home with a gunshot wound.
According to police, Wilson died inside the Maple Avenue home after EMS tried to save her life.
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 her off at the house on Maple Avenue 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.
Detectives also learned that Strickland purchased two guns between December 2021 and January 2022 for himself and Armstrong. The guns were found at the couple's home.
Armstrong was later arrested for an outstanding class B warrant and was questioned in connection to the incident. She said she heard about the cyclist'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.
Then, 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, which asked to remain anonymous, said Armstrong discovered Wilson's number and contacted Wilson several times. That prompted Wilson to block Armstrong's phone, per the document. The last time Armstrong called Wilson, Armstrong told her she was with Strickland and that she needed to stay away from him.
The following day, an anonymous caller said 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.
Throughout the investigation, detectives put together a video timeline of the night of the murder from various surveillance videos. A test of the guns found at the couple's home led officials to believe the use of that same firearm was "significant."
The videos, evidence and corroborating statements from interviewees led officials to believe Armstrong killed Wilson.
Detectives have not spoken with Armstrong since May 13. They also learned she deleted her social media accounts.
Police said there is no reason to suspect any threats to the public and the shooting did not appear to be a random act.
Wilson won several gravel and mountain bike races in the past two seasons and had a summer of racing planned. She was visiting from San Francisco and was in Austin ahead of a bicycle race in Hico, Texas, where she was set to compete that weekend, according to an affidavit in the case.
PHOTOS: Moriah Wilson
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."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Austin police at 512-974-TIPS or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 512-472-8477.
This is Austin's 27th homicide of 2022.
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