Just days before she was to begin a 157-mile race in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, competitive cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was shot and killed, shaking the growing community of gravel racing.
The US Marshals Service is now conducting a fugitive investigation into the whereabouts of 34-year-old Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, who is wanted on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the May 11 shooting. Investigators believe Armstrong may have been jealous of Wilson, 25, because the cyclist had previously been in a relationship with Armstrong’s boyfriend, court documents show.
Armstrong has not been seen or heard from since the week of Wilson’s killing, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Travis County District Court. Officials are urging the public to come forward with any information about Armstrong’s location.
On the night of the killing, Wilson was staying at a friend’s house in Austin in preparation for a race, according to the affidavit. Austin police responded to the home to find Wilson bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators are poring over details to piece together what happened that night. According to the affidavit, video surveillance footage shows a vehicle similar to Armstrong’s near the scene of the crime.
As the search for Armstrong continues, here is what we know about the investigation into Wilson’s death.
Wilson killed days before big race
Wilson was a rising star in a discipline called gravel racing, a burgeoning hybrid of road cycling and mountain biking.
She had traveled to Texas to compete in the Gravel Locos race in Hico, about two and a half hours north of Austin, where she was staying with a friend, according to the affidavit.
On May 11, officers arrived at the friend’s home shortly before 10 p.m. to find Wilson suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Austin Police. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Earlier that day, Wilson told her friend she was going for an afternoon swim with fellow cyclist Colin Strickland, a detail Strickland would later confirm with police, according to the affidavit. Strickland told investigators that after they swam, he and Wilson got dinner and he dropped her off at her friend’s home. He said he did not go inside, the affidavit shows.
Authorities later identified Armstrong, who was dating and living with Strickland, as the main suspect in Wilson’s death. Investigators determined Wilson had previously been in a romantic relationship with Strickland while he and Armstrong were briefly separated.
In the 24 hours following Wilson’s killing, officers from the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force took Armstrong into custody on an unrelated warrant and police were able to interview her. Officers learned during the interview that the warrant was not valid and told Armstrong she was free to leave, the affidavit says.
Armstrong requested to end the interview and left after detectives began confronting her about the security camera video that appeared to place her vehicle near the crime scene, the affidavit states.
Strickland told investigators he has not spoken to Armstrong since May 13, per the affidavit, and a detective found that she had deleted her Instagram account in the days after the killing.
What video and ballistic evidence reveal
Investigators detailed several points of evidence in the affidavit for Armstrong’s arrest.
Surveillance footage obtained by multiple law enforcement agencies allowed investigators to piece together a series of events leading up to Wilson’s death, the affidavit says.
“Video surveillance shows Strickland leaving the area after dropping off Wilson and shows Armstrong’s vehicle arriving to [the] residence where Wilson was staying,” the affidavit states.
The friend who Wilson was staying with had given the cyclist a unique code to unlock the door of the house, the affidavit says. In a timeline laid out in the document, investigators say Wilson’s personal code was used to unlock the door at 8:36 p.m. A minute later, the affidavit says, Armstrong’s vehicle “appears to stop” at the residence.
Strickland told investigators he purchased a handgun for Armstrong between December 2021 and January 2022, which officers were able to obtain with a search warrant, the affidavit says.
A comparison of test-fired shell cartridges from the handgun and shell casings found next to Wilson’s body showed “significant” potential “that the same firearm was involved,” according to the affidavit.
Austin police issued a warrant for Armstrong’s arrest on May 17.
Wilson’s past relationship with the suspect’s boyfriend
Strickland told investigators he and Armstrong have been dating for three years, but that they briefly separated in October 2021, the affidavit says.
During that time, Strickland said, he had a romantic relationship with Wilson before he and Armstrong ultimately got back together. Strickland said he continued to communicate with Wilson and admitted to taking measures to hide their conversations from Armstrong by changing Wilson’s name in his phone and deleting texts, the affidavit says.
After Armstrong and Strickland began dating again, Armstrong contacted Wilson several times and in one instance told her to “stay away” from Strickland, one of Wilson’s friends told investigators, per the affidavit.
The same friend told investigators that Wilson and Strickland had an “on again, off again” relationship, though Strickland denied this in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman.
He told the paper he and Wilson had a “brief romantic relationship” while he and Armstrong were separated and said his relationship with Wilson after that was “only a platonic and professional one.”
“Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of Cycling, and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend,” he said in the statement. “I am deeply grieving her loss.”
Wilson’s family released a statement saying that she was not in a romantic relationship at the time of her death.
“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,” the statement said.
Her family, who has started a GoFundMe fundraiser, described Wilson as a “talented, kind, and caring young woman” who “wanted to empower young women athletes, encourage people of all walks of life to find joy and meaning through sport and community, and inspire all to chase their dreams.”
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