Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, is accused of shooting Wilson in Austin, Texas, on May as part of a love triangle gone wrong. U.S. Marshals, working with Homeland Security Investigations, learned that Armstrong boarded a flight in New Jersey by using a fraudulent passport and landed in Costa Rica on May 18 – one week after Wilson was murdered and one day after an arrest warrant was issued for Armstrong’s arrest, NBC News reported.
“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,” Susan Pamerleau, Marshal for the Western District of Texas, said in a statement to The Boston Globe. “This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to apprehend a violent fugitive, bring an end to that run and hopefully a sense of closure to the victim’s family.”
“Wilson, 25, was a mountain biking and gravel racer who won several races earlier this year and resigned her position at a bike company to pursue full-time racing. She was expected to win the May 14 Gravel Locos race in Hico shortly before her death,” the outlet reported.
Armstrong is suspected of killing Wilson because they were both romantically connected to the same man, professional cyclist Colin Strickland. Strickland and Armstrong dated for three years before taking a break. During that time, Strickland began to see Wilson. The relationship lasted just a few weeks, and Strickland and Armstrong got back together a month later.
In January, Armstrong apparently learned about Strickland’s relationship with Wilson and “became furious and was shaking in anger,” a friend of Armstrong told NBC.
An affidavit filed in relation to the federal case against Armstrong described evidence that Armstrong had allegedly committed the murder.
“According to a witness, Armstrong expressed a desire to kill [Wilson] in January 2022, based on a personal grievance toward [Wilson],” the affidavit said, according to the Globe. “A surveillance camera recorded what appears to be Armstrong’s vehicle near the scene of [Wilson’s] murder at the approximate time the murder occurred.”
The filing also said that a pistol belonging to Armstrong had been retrieved from her home during a search and that “Laboratory test-firing of Armstrong’s pistol confirmed that it fired the spent shell casings that [Austin police] found at the scene of the murder.
Wilson was a star skier through college before switching to cycling, gravitating toward “gravel racing,” described as a sport sitting between road cycling and mountain biking. She was favored to win a 157-mile race on May 14, but was shot and killed days earlier, on May 11.
Police quickly honed in on Armstrong and brought her in for questioning. Days later, on May 14, Armstrong flew from Austin, Texas, where Wilson was killed, to Houston, and then from Houston to LaGuardia Airport in New York. From there she traveled to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and then flew to San Jose, Costa Rica. A homicide warrant for Armstrong’s arrest was issued on May 18, the day she flew to Costa Rica. On May 25, a federal warrant was issued charging her with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Armstrong was found at a hostel in Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, the Globe reported.