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Suspect in Texas murder of elite cyclist Anna Moriah 'Mo' Wilson arrested in Costa Rica

Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, is accused of fatally shooting Wilson in Austin last month.

A Texas woman suspected in the killing of an elite cyclist was captured in Costa Rica on Wednesday and is being returned to the U.S. to face charges.

Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, is accused of fatally shooting Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas, last month, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Kaitlin Marie Armstrong.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong.U.S. Marshals

A joint task force that 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, the U.S. marshal for the Western District of Texas, commended the multiagency 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 this year and resigned her position at a bike company to pursue full-time racing. She had been expected to win the May 14 Gravel Locos race in Hico shortly before her death.

Armstrong and Wilson were romantically connected with the same man before Wilson was found 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 went 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 unnamed 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 had sold the vehicle to a dealership for more than $12,000 two days after Wilson's death.

On May 14, days after she was questioned by police, she flew from Austin to Houston, then took a flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport, the Marshals Service said Thursday.

She was dropped off May 18 at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, from which she flew to San José, 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 May 18; 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 of Austin on Thursday, Wilson’s family thanked law enforcement for its “diligence” in finding 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."