‘She thought it was her safe haven’ – US Marshal Service
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, was arrested in Costa Rica on Thursday after 43 days on the run
She is wanted for the May 11 murder of pro cyclist Anna Morah ‘Mo’ Wilson in Austin, Texas
Three days after the murder a informant told cops: ‘Armstrong became furious and was shaking with anger after hearing Wilson was dating her boyfriend Robert Strickland
Caller told cops Armstrong was so angry she wanted to kill Wilson.’
Within days Armstrong sold her SUV and fled
Leaving Texas on May 14 then traveled to Costa Rica on May 18, under an assumed name with a fake passport and
Police found her in a beach hostel and she had also been attending yoga surf classes
She cut and dyed her long, strawberry blonde hair and was living off of $12,200 she made from selling her Jeep
Cops say they received tips of her whereabouts which led local police to questioning her in the town
She first gave a fake name which did not match any immigration records
Armstrong later confessed her real identity and was taken into custody
On the run murder suspect Kaitlin Armstrong was trying to set up a life for herself in Costa Rica when she was arrested for the murder of her love rival, attending yoga classes and staying in a hostel in an effort to stretch out her savings.
The fugitive yoga teacher was arrested in Costa Rica on June 30 after 43 days on the run.
She is accused of murdering Morah Mo Wilson, who police say was having an affair with Armstrong’s boyfriend Colin Strickland. Wilson was found dead in an apartment in Austin, Texas, on May 11.
US Marshals failed to stop Armstrong from fleeing the state, traveling first to New York and then onto Costa Rica using a fake passport.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, was finally arrested by the authorities in Costa Rica after local police ran a background check on a name she gave them during a stop in the town, and found no record of her entering the country.
She then confessed that her real name was Armstrong, which led them to the high priority arrest warrant which had been issued for her.
US Marshals say they received dozens of tips which led them to track Armstrong down in Costa Rica.
‘She thought it was some kind of safe haven for her,’ Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla said in an appearance on Good Morning America on Friday.
‘We knew she had some type of money, she had a check for $12,200. That would be valuable to fund her disappearance.
‘She shortened her hair, dyed it dark brown. She was trying to set up another type of lifestyle,’ he added.
When she was arrested, Armstrong had a band-aid on her nose which was police say was covering an injury she sustained while surfing.
Cycling news website Velo News however cites anonymous sources who said she underwent plastic surgery.
Fugitive yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong found in Costa Rica
The type of yoga she was studying had some sort of connection to surfing, they added, and it seemed as though she wanted to start teaching.
Armstrong was stopped by agents assigned to the Santa Teresa de Cóbano Tourist Police division and provided the cops with a fake name. However, no record of her entry into the country came up when the name she gave was cross referenced with the country’s immigration registry.
She then told the agents her real last name, which was checked with a data base that revealed she was wanted on an international arrest warrant.
They added that a joint investigation by the Marshals and Homeland Security Investigations found that Armstrong fled the country on May 18 using a fraudulent passport.
She boarded a United Airlines flight to San Jose at Newark, and arrived there that evening. Armstrong is now set to be deported to the US.
Video of her perp walk to a holding cell with a police officer after her arrest has also been released. The footage shows Armstrong wearing shorts and an orange t-shirt with dramatically shorter hair which she dyed from red to brown.
As Armstrong was fleeing from authorities, any family or friends of hers that had been in contact with her during that time may face charges.
‘The US 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,’ said U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerleau.
Armstrong is wanted in connection to the death of Wilson after authorities found Wilson ‘bleeding and unconscious’ after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds on May 11 at her friend’s apartment in Austin. Police performed CPR on Wilson before pronouncing her dead at the scene. Wilson, a Vermont native and ‘world-class’ cyclist, was staying in Austin for a race.
Armstrong’s car was seen in the area around the time of the shooting, leading authorities to believe she had killed Wilson out of jealousy.
They later found out that earlier that night, Wilson had gone to dinner with Armstrong’s boyfriend Colin Strickland, who told police that the two of them had been swimming at Deep Eddy Pool before getting burgers at Pool Burger.
Kaitlin Armstrong is seen ‘fleeing’ to New York from Austin, TX
Strickland said he picked her up from the apartment of her friend Caitlin Cash on his BMW motorbike at 5.45pm and dropped her off again at 8.36pm – stopping shortly after to text Armstrong to tell her he had been dropping off flowers to another friend and that his phone had run out of battery.
But unknown to Strickland, Armstrong had allegedly been tracking both him and Mo using cycling app Strava which shows the routes runners and cyclists take.
A neighbor said her home security camera caught Armstrong’s black Jeep Cherokee driving up to the property, which sits above a garage at the back of a larger home, at 8.35pm, adding that Armstrong had also been caught on camera the previous day, riding a bike in the same spot.
Armstrong was questioned by Austin police officers on May 14 after they discovered that the yoga instructor had an open misdemeanor warrant on a theft of services charge, the Daily Beast reports.
The cops then used the opportunity to briefly question her about Wilson’s death several days earlier – after they received an anonymous tip that Armstrong flew into a rage when she discovered that Strickland had previously been romantically involved with Wilson.
During the interview, cops showed Armstrong video surveillance of her SUV apparently coming to a stop outside the apartment where Wilson was found dead on May 11.
The footage was time stamped just one minute after Wilson, 25, entered the building following a swim and dinner with Strickland. That was shortly before Caitlin Cash got home and found her gueston the floor with multiple gunshot wounds.
During her police interview, Armstrong reportedly admitted it ‘doesn’t look good,’ and a probable cause document for her arrest says she ‘had no explanation as to why it was in the area, and did not make any denials surrounding the statements presented to her.’
On May 13, five days before she fled the country, it was discovered that Armstrong had sold her black Jeep Grand Cherokee to a car dealership in Austin for $12,2000.
A police tipster told investigators that Armstrong flew into a rage on discovering cyclist Strickland’s romance with fellow cyclist Wilson in January 2022. That informant alleges that: ‘Armstrong became furious and was shaking with anger. Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.’
Cops got the tip on May 14, three days after Wilson was murdered. Armstrong was subsequently questioned by cops, and freed due to a technicality.
Realizing Armstrong was on the run, the US Marshals Service ‘elevated the investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run.’
Veteran private investigator Bill Warner has said anyone that had contact with Armstrong while she was on the run could be charged by police.
‘Because everyone knew she was on the run, anyone who talked to her during that time should have expected to be charged by the police,’ Warner said.
‘She looked to have a really tight network of individuals and friends, and her family seemed to be standing by her, saying that she was innocent. She appeared to have a lot of support behind her.’ Strickland has claimed that his relationship with Wilson formed after his relationship with Armstrong got rocky: ‘I had ended the relationship with Kaitlin and it was just interesting timing because Mo had come to Austin to visit a friend that exact week,’ he told The Sun.
‘It was completely unplanned and yeah, we started spending some time together.’
‘That was clearly expressed to Kaitlin at that time, and Kaitlin dated other men directly after that.’
He added: ‘We were clearly going our separate ways but we just didn’t get enough inertia to separate.’ The professional cyclist also argued that he was in ‘minimal communication’ with Wilson after their romance ended last year, alleging the affidavit implied something deeper.
‘Mo and I communicated about twice a month (after that) and I think it was skewed in a very misleading way in the affidavit,’ Strickland said.
He also told the newspaper he got back with his ex because ‘Kaitlin and I were involved in several businesses together.’
Additionally, Strickland denied having any intimate interactions with Wilson the day of her death,
Strickland said, was no indication that ‘anything was off’ with Armstrong.
Santa Teresa Beach, where Armstrong was found, is a remote town located on Costa Rica’s northern Nicoya peninsula. The town is located over five hours from San Jose, the city that Armstrong flew into.
‘This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to apprehend a violent fugitive, bring an end to that run and hopefully a sense of closure to the victim’s family,’ read the statement from the US Marshals.
The area is home to many hostels and hotels that have comparatively low prices to other remote vacation spots, with some as low as $50 a night.
The town is known for beautiful beaches and surfing, and has recently seen an uptick in tourists and expats.