Kaitlin Marie Armstrong: Woman accused of cyclist murder returns to US after Costa Rica manhunt

Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, who was charged with the murder of pro cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in May, returned to the United States on Saturday after authorities tracked her down while hiding in a beach town in Costa Rica.

The 34-year-old real estate agent and yoga instructor was filmed at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport wearing a face mask, turning away from cameras and refusing to answer yelled questions from paparazzi as US Marshals pushed her into a waiting car.

“The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to the status of a high-profile case early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her arrest after a 43-day run,” said Susan Pamerleau, U.S. Marshal for the western district of Texas, Susan Pamerleau in a statement.

Costa Rican police found Ms. Armstrong at a hostel in Santa Teresa Beach, Provincia de Puntarenas, where she first aliased officials and appeared to have undergone plastic surgery, according to court documents.

An employee of the hostel confirmed that the independent Mrs. Armstrong was staying there at the time of her arrest.

“She looked very different from her older photos,” said one person who claimed to be with Ms. Armstrong when she was arrested on an online forum. “She did have a bandage on her nose, she told me it was a surfing accident. I was about to ask exactly how it happened because if a surfboard did that to her nose, she should be dead in the water. I think she’s had surgery.”

The arrest ends a tortuous investigation that began with a “trianglemurder and involved in an international manhunt, complete with false passports.

Anna Moriah Wilson, 25, the victim, was a competitive gravel and mountain bike racer from Vermont. She was found dead at her boyfriend’s apartment in Austin, Texas, on May 11.

While in the area, she agreed to meet fellow cyclist Colin Strickland, with whom she was in an on-again, off-again relationship, beginning in October 2021, when Ms. Strickland and his then-girlfriend, Ms. Armstrong, were taking a break.

The two went for a swim and then had dinner before Mrs. Wilson returned to the friend’s apartment.

In January 2022, Ms. Armstrong had heard about the relationship and was “furious and trembling with rage,” saying she wanted to kill the female cyclist, an anonymous tipster told Texas police, according to court documents.

Mrs. Armstrong then began to call Mrs. Wilson and order her to stay away from her boyfriend.

The night Mrs. Wilson was shot, Mrs. Armstrong’s jeep was seen on a neighbor’s security camera around the time of the murder.

Three days later, the Austin Police Department called Ms. Armstrong for questioning. She told investigators she was “upset and just in the area” at the time of the murder.

In the absence of a search warrant, the police subsequently released Ms. Armstrong.

From there, police say she sold her car and then turned up in Newark, New Jersey, a day after a warrant was issued for her in Texas.

Somehow she managed to obtain a valid US passport in someone else’s name and board a flight to Costa Rica.

Brandon Filla, Deputy US Marshal Western District of Texas, told: the independent Agents later followed Ms. Armstrong to Costa Rica after learning of the passport scam and checking flight details.

Ms. Wilson’s family said the arrest was comforting to them.

“We are relieved to know that this phase of uncertainty is now behind us, and we are confident that justice will prevail,” it wrote in a statement.

Police are now investigating whether the alleged fugitive had any assistance.

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