A woman who had been named as a suspect in the murder of a rising off-road cycling star in Texas last month has been arrested in Costa Rica, the authorities said on Thursday, ending a 43-day search.
The U.S. Marshals Service said that the suspect, Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, had been found at a hostel in Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas on Costa Rica’s west coast. She will be deported to the United States, the authorities said.
Ms. Armstrong, 34, had been sought in the death of Anna Moriah Wilson, who competed in gravel cycling, a discipline that blends mountain biking and road cycling. Ms. Wilson, 25, died shortly after she was found unconscious and bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds at a friend’s home in Austin, Texas, on May 11, the authorities said.
The authorities in Costa Rica, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Marshals Office of International Operations worked together to locate and arrest Ms. Armstrong, who the Marshals Service said had used a fraudulent passport to fly from Newark to San José, Costa Rica, on May 18.
A police affidavit revealed that Ms. Wilson and Ms. Armstrong had both been romantically involved with another cycling star, Colin Strickland, 35.
The police said that Ms. Wilson, who was known as Mo, had been shot multiple times, and that the shooting did not appear to be random.
The police questioned Ms. Armstrong on May 13. She is believed to have boarded a flight to Houston the next day before traveling to New York, the Marshals Service said. On May 18, a day after the Austin police obtained a warrant to arrest her on a first-degree murder charge, Ms. Armstrong was seen at Newark Liberty International Airport, but there were no outbound flights booked under her name.
The Marshals Service, which said Ms. Armstrong was armed and dangerous, had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to her arrest. Additionally, Capital Area Crime Stoppers offered $1,000 and an anonymous donor offered $15,000, making the total reward $21,000.
On the night Ms. Wilson was killed, she and Mr. Strickland had visited the Deep Eddy pool in Austin and had dinner together at a restaurant, according to the police affidavit, posted by The Austin American-Statesman.
Mr. Strickland told the police that he’d dropped Ms. Wilson off at her friend’s house and did not go inside.
He told investigators that he had been in a romantic relationship with Ms. Wilson last October during a one- or two-week break in his roughly three-year relationship with Ms. Armstrong, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said an anonymous caller told the police that Ms. Armstrong had said in January that she wanted to kill Ms. Wilson after learning that Mr. Strickland was in a romantic relationship with her.
A vehicle similar to Ms. Armstrong’s was seen in front of the home in Austin where Ms. Wilson was staying an hour before the police responded to her friend’s 911 call, according to the affidavit. Ms. Armstrong did not explain why her vehicle was near the scene of the shooting, the police said. According to the Marshals Service, Ms. Armstrong sold the car, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, on May 13 at a CarMax location in Austin for $12,200.
In December or January, Mr. Strickland purchased two 9-millimeter handguns, one for himself and one for Ms. Armstrong, the affidavit said. A police analysis of Ms. Armstrong’s gun, which was recovered at Mr. Strickland’s home, revealed that it had “significant” potential to be the one that was used to kill Ms. Wilson, the affidavit said.
“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime,” Mr. Strickland said in a statement to The Austin American-Statesman. “I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.”
Mr. Strickland said that he had a brief romantic relationship with Ms. Wilson last fall “that spanned a week or so,” then reconciled with Ms. Armstrong. He said that he and Ms. Wilson had not been in a romantic relationship after that, but had a platonic and professional relationship and would often see each other at cycling events.
“Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of cycling, and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend,” Mr. Strickland said in his statement. “I am deeply grieving her loss.”
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