AUSTIN, Texas — Professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was in Texas for a race earlier this month when she met up with a former lover for a swim, authorities said.
Shortly after the man, fellow professional cyclist Colin Strickland, dropped Wilson off where she was staying in Austin, Wilson, 25, was gunned down.
U.S. marshals are now hunting for the prime suspect in the case — Strickland’s live-in girlfriend, Kaitlin Marie Armstrong.
Armstrong, 34, of Austin, is wanted on a charge of first-degree murder, according to Travis County court records. The real estate agent and yoga teacher has not been seen since May 13, two days after Wilson’s killing.
Court documents indicate Armstrong has been tied to the crime through ballistic evidence and security footage from a home near the crime scene.
Armstrong’s father, Michael Armstrong, told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that he does not believe his daughter to be capable of murder.
“I know her. I know how she thinks, and I know what she believes. And I know that she just would not do something like this,” Michael Armstrong said in an interview. “I know that she did not do this. There are a lot of unanswered questions.”
Strickland issued a statement on Friday, in which he said he could not fathom the pain Wilson’s loved ones are in.
“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime,” Strickland said. “I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.
“Although it will be a matter of small consolation to anyone else who cared for Mo, I want you to know that I have cooperated fully with investigators ever since I learned the terrible news, and I will continue to do so until some form of justice is served.”
Austin police investigators believe they have pieced together the movements of Kaitlin Armstrong, Strickland and Wilson the night of the shooting. According to CNN, Wilson, of East Burke, Vermont, was staying with a friend in Austin in the days before the Gravel Locos race in Hico, located about 135 miles north of the city.
Wilson, who went by her middle name, was an up-and-coming star in the niche sport of gravel racing, which is an amalgam of road cycling and mountain biking. In a statement obtained by NBC News, her family mourned their loss.
“Moriah was a talented, kind and caring young woman,” their statement read. “Her life was taken from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of. Our family, and all those who loved her, will forever miss her.”
VeloNews, which described Wilson as a “dominant gravel and mountain bike racer,” reported that she had recently quit her job to focus on racing full-time. Wilson was previously on the alpine ski racing team at Dartmouth, where she graduated in 2019 with a degree in engineering.
Coming off a number of wins this year, Wilson was favored to win the 150-mile Gravel Locos race on May 14.
She never had the chance.
Police and court records state that Wilson’s friend, Caitlin Cash, called 911 just before 10 p.m. on May 11 to report that she’d returned to her Maple Avenue apartment to find Wilson bleeding and unconscious. Patrol officers responded and found Wilson suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
She died at the scene.
Cash told investigators that Wilson had gone swimming that evening with Strickland, with whom Wilson had remained friends. Strickland lives in the Austin area.
Detectives were able to pinpoint some of Wilson’s final movements through Cash’s electronic door lock, which showed that Wilson left to meet Strickland at 5:55 p.m. At 8:36 p.m., Wilson returned, unlocking the door with a unique code Cash had given her to use while she was staying there, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Crime Online.
A minute later, at 8:37 p.m., a security camera on the home next door showed a dark-colored SUV drive by, slowing and then coming to a stop directly next to Cash’s home.
Austin police Detective Richard Spitler, who wrote the affidavit, described the SUV as having a large bicycle rack mounted on the trailer hitch. A luggage rack was mounted to the roof, and detectives could make out what appeared to be chrome around the vehicle’s windows.
“No other vehicles were observed on video surveillance passing by until marked emergency vehicles arrived,” Spitler wrote.
See security footage from the scene of the crime below, courtesy of KVUE in Austin.
When investigators went to Strickland’s home to speak to him about Wilson, they found a 2012 Jeep Cherokee that appeared to match the one spotted on the surveillance footage. The Jeep was registered to Armstrong.
In an interview at the police department, Strickland told detectives he and Armstrong had been together for about three years but had split for a few weeks in October 2021. It was at that point that he met, and briefly dated, Wilson, he said.
At some point during those few weeks, Armstrong learned who Wilson was and called her on the phone, according to authorities.
“Strickland told Detective Spitler he has had to change Wilson’s name in his phone so Armstrong does not know who he is speaking to, as they continue their relationship,” the affidavit states. “Strickland admitted he had to change Wilson’s name in his phone because Armstrong had blocked Wilson’s number in Strickland’s phone.
“Strickland also advised he has had to delete text messages on his phone to prevent Armstrong from finding them.”
Read the affidavit below, courtesy of Crime Online.
Strickland told detectives he picked Wilson up on his motorcycle the night of the homicide and they went swimming at a city pool before walking to a nearby burger restaurant. He said he then drove her back to Cash’s home, but did not go inside with her, according to the affidavit.
Video surveillance footage from multiple locations corroborate Strickland’s statements to police.
Spitler wrote that Strickland lied to Armstrong about where he went that night so she would not know he was seeing Wilson. Both he and Wilson’s family have said they were not dating at the time she was slain.
Strickland has described his ongoing relationship with Wilson as a “platonic and professional one.”
Wilson’s family also addressed the relationship.
“While we will not elaborate about the ongoing investigation, we do feel it’s important to clarify that at the time of her death, those closest to her clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone,” her family said, according to NBC News.
Strickland said Armstrong was not home when he got there. She returned, driving her Jeep, sometime after 9:21 p.m.
In his interview, Strickland praised Wilson as “the best female cyclist in the United States and possibly the world,” the detective wrote. Armstrong, he said, is a “participant” in races, while he is a “racer.”
“Strickland stated he told Armstrong in the past she does not need to ride with him because she ‘holds him back,’” the affidavit states. “Strickland advised Armstrong normally feels as though he’s ‘grumpy’ while training because he has to wait on Armstrong due to her not being able to ride at professional level.”
Authorities learned that there appeared to be an unrelated outstanding warrant for Armstrong, so they picked her up and took her to the department for questioning. Upon her questioning, however, detectives learned the warrant was not valid and told Armstrong she was free to leave.
Before she left, however, they questioned Armstrong about how her vehicle had ended up near the scene of Wilson’s homicide. She had no answer.
When questioned about Strickland’s relationship with Wilson, Armstrong “turned her head and rolled her eyes in an angry manner,” the affidavit states.
“Armstrong then stated, ‘I’m certain as to even what you mean or what he said because didn’t have any idea that he saw or even went out with this girl as of recently,’” Spitler wrote. “When confronted about how Armstrong’s vehicle was seen next to Cash’s residence and how Strickland was ‘saying certain things,’ Detective (Katy) Conner explained she wanted her help to explain what actually happened and to help provide a logical explanation about why her vehicle was in the area.
“Detective Conner then stated, ‘Maybe you were upset and just in the area.’ Armstrong then began to nod in agreement.”
She also nodded in agreement when Conner told her the evidence, coupled with Strickland’s statements, “made things not look to good” for her.
Armstrong ultimately ended the interview and left.
A couple of days after the homicide, one of Wilson’s friends told police that Wilson and Strickland had an on-again, off-again relationship that began during Wilson’s first trip to Austin in the fall of 2021. After learning of the romance, Armstrong called Wilson multiple times and, within the past couple of months, had begun following Wilson on Instagram.
The friend, who wished to remain anonymous in court records out of fear of Armstrong, said the last time Armstrong called Wilson, “she told Wilson she was with Strickland and Wilson needed to stay away from him,” according to the affidavit.
Another anonymous witness called the police and told detectives that she was with Armstrong in January when Armstrong discovered that Strickland was still seeing Wilson.
“The caller advised (that) Armstrong became furious and was shaking in anger,” Spitler wrote. “Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson. Armstrong then proceeded to tell the caller Armstrong had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to.”
Strickland had told detectives that he’d bought two guns sometime between December and January, one for himself and the other for Armstrong. He described Armstrong’s gun as a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun.
On May 17, that gun was seized from the home Strickland and Armstrong share, and ballistic testing was conducted to compare shells fired from the gun to the shell casings found next to Wilson’s body.
“The potential that the same firearm was involved is significant,” the affidavit states.
Aside from Strickland, who was spotted more than 8 miles from Cash’s home minutes after dropping Wilson off, Armstrong was the only other person with access to the handgun, according to the document.
Since her interview with police, Armstrong has deleted all her social media accounts and vanished.
Anyone with information on Armstrong’s whereabouts is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102 or submit a tip online. Tips may also be sent to the Capital Area Crime Stoppers at 1-800-893-8477.
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