A Texas woman accused of fatally shooting an up-and-coming professional cyclist after becoming enraged over the woman’s relationship with her live-in boyfriend has been arrested in Costa Rica after 43 days on the run.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrongthe amateur cyclist and yoga teacher, is charged with the murder of a 25-year-old on May 11 Anna Moriah Wilson, a Vermont native who was in Austin for an upcoming race. On Wednesday, after more than a month on the run, Armstrong was captured at the Santa Teresa Beach hostel in Provincia de Puntarenas, officials said.
Her arrest marks the end of a coordinated multi-agency effort to track down the 34-year-old, who authorities say has carefully orchestrated a plan to disappear from the network. When she was caught, Armstrong had changed her appearance. Her uneven shoulder-length hair was dyed dark brown, and she had bandages on her nose and bruises under her eyes after an apparent surfing accident, Deputy US Marshal Brandon Filla said. KXAN†
“That physical appearance has changed somewhat,” Filla said. “Would it have changed more when she started creating that, you know, kind of foundation for herself over there in Costa Rica? Possibly.”
Armstrong will now be deported and returned to the United States to face charges in Wilson’s death. Authorities say two days after Wilson found shot dead Armstrong sold her black Jeep Grand Cherokee in an Austin apartment to a South Austin CarMax dealer for $12,200.
“Armstrong received a check from the dealer a day after being questioned by Austin authorities,” the US Marshalls said in a statement. “She took off from the Austin airport on May 14.”
Investigators believe Armstrong took a flight from Austin International Bergstrom Airport to Houston that afternoon, before boarding a connecting Southwest flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Armstrong was last dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18 — a day after Austin police issued a manslaughter warrant for her arrest in connection with Wilson’s murder.
Authorities say Armstrong “with a fraudulent passport” boarded a United Airlines flight from Newark to San Jose, Costa Rica. Filla added on Thursday that while the passport itself was authentic, it belonged to someone else who looked “very much like Armstrong.”
In Costa Rica, Armstrong “visited yoga studios to make herself better at the profession” and researchers believe she planned “to settle that next part of her career on the island,” Filla said.
“The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to the status of a high-profile case early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her arrest after a 43-day run,” said Susan Pamerleau, U.S. Marshal for the western district of Texas, Susan Pamerleau. “This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to arrest a violent fugitive, end that run and hopefully create a sense of closure with the victim’s family.”
Debra Cronin, who was married to Wilson’s grandfather, told The Daily Beast that she was “so glad that bitch got caught”. Cronin previously said Wilson was a part of her life for 15 years and was shocked at the thought that Armstrong could get away with murder.
Dave Allen, who went to high school with Armstrong in her hometown of Livonia, Michigan, previously told The Daily Beast that she was “calm” and “friendly” and “mainly hung out with the jocks.” He was surprised that she had decided to run away.
“I’m not sure why her father didn’t convince her to do the right thing,” Allen said.
Authorities say the grim saga began on May 11, when police received a call around 10 p.m. from one of Wilson’s friends who discovered her with multiple gunshot wounds. Officers pronounced Wilson dead shortly after.
Before her death, Wilson had reportedly gone swimming and dining with Colin Strickland, whom she had briefly dated. Wilson is believed to have returned home around 8:36 PM after meeting Strickland
Footage from a neighbor’s security camera, obtained by Fox 7, showed a “dark-colored SUV” driving past the friend’s house at 8:37 p.m.
“The dark-colored SUV then braked and appeared to come to a stop, right next to… [the friend’s] whereabouts,” said an affidavit before Armstrong’s arrest. “The SUV turned out to have a large bike rack mounted on the vehicle’s tow bar, a luggage rack on the roof and what appeared to be chrome around the windows. No other vehicles were seen on video surveillance passing until marked emergency vehicles arrived.”
The next day, authorities went to Strickland’s home and found a 2012 Jeep Cherokee “with a large bike rack on the vehicle’s tow bar, a roof rack, and chrome around the windows that appeared to be the same vehicle. observed on surveillance images.”
During a police interrogation, Strickland said he and Armstrong had been together for about three months. He also admitted to having a brief relationship with Wilson in October 2021. Armstrong was briefly interviewed by police after they discovered she had an outright warrant for theft of services.
Armstrong was confronted with video evidence of her vehicle, [and] she had no explanation as to why it was in the area and made no denials about the statements presented to her,” the affidavit said about the interview, noting that she was eventually released after detectives determined the warrant was “not valid.” ‘.
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