A Texas woman suspected in the killing of an elite cyclist was captured in Costa Rica on Wednesday and is being returned to the United States to face charges.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, is accused of fatally shooting Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas, last month, according to the US Marshals Service.
A joint task force which included the Marshals and Homeland Security Investigations found that Armstrong boarded a United Airlines flight in New Jersey, using a fraudulent passport, and arrived in Costa Rica on May 18 — a week after Wilson’s death and a day after a warrant was issued for Armstrong’s arrest.
Susan Pamerleau, Marshal for the Western District of Texas, commended the multi-agency effort in a statement announcing Armstrong’s arrest Thursday.
“The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run,” Pamerleau said.
Wilson, 25, was a mountain biking and gravel racer who won several races earlier this year and resigned her position at a bike company to pursue full-time racing. She was expected to win the May 14 Gravel Locos race in Hico shortly before her death.
Armstrong and Wilson were romantically with the same man before Wilson was found connected shot multiple times at an Austin home on May 11 and later pronounced dead.
Armstrong was in a relationship with professional cyclist Colin Strickland for about three years before the couple had been on a break, according to an arrest affidavit from May. During that time, Strickland and Wilson began seeing each other.
Strickland has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.
Strickland told the Austin-American Statesman last month that he and Wilson had a “brief romantic relationship” from late October to early November last year while Wilson was visiting Austin. They had both recently ended previous relationships, Strickland said. He and Armstrong reconciled one month later.
An unknown friend said they were with Armstrong in January when she learned of the relationship between Strickland and Wilson, according to the affidavit. The friend said Armstrong “became furious and was shaking in anger.”
Investigators announced last week that Armstrong’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee had been located in Austin, finding that she sold the vehicle to a dealership for more than $12,000 two days after Wilson’s death.
On May 14, days after being questioned by police, she flew from Austin to Houston, then took a flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the Marshals said Thursday.
She was dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on May 18, where she flew to San Jose, Costa Rica, the investigation found.
Armstrong was found and arrested Wednesday at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas.
A homicide warrant was issued for Armstrong on May 18 and then on May 25, a federal warrant was issued for a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
In a statement to NBC affiliate KXAN Thursday, Wilson’s family thanked law enforcement for their “diligence” in locating Armstrong.
“We’re relieved to know this phase of uncertainty is now behind us, and we trust that justice will prevail,” the statement said. “We’d like to ask for the media to respect our privacy at this time, as they have over the last six weeks.”
Tim Stellah contributed.