Kaitlin Armstrong, accused of killing an elite cyclist, is captured in Costa Rica after 43 days
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, was found Wednesday at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, the Marshals Office said in a news release. She will be deported and returned to the US, the agency said.
On May 17, police issued a homicide warrant for Armstrong. The affidavit mentions details such as video showing a vehicle similar to hers near the Austin, Texas, home Wilson was staying in shortly before her body was found.
The US Marshals previously said Armstrong used a fraudulent passport to board a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 18. However, Costa Rica’s General Migration Directorate said on Thursday evening that Armstrong entered Costa Rica on “a passport that did not correspond to her identity, but the document was not faked.”
A spokesperson from the Migration Directorate told CNN that Armstrong was transferred to the Centro de Aprehensión Regional Central, a prison in Los Lagos, on Thursday morning.
Armstrong is “currently in deportation proceedings, but there’s no specific date for this to be completed.” Authorities have 30 days to complete the deportation order, according to the spokesperson.
The slain victim was a star skier and champion cyclist
Wilson, 25, was a gifted multi-sport athlete. She was a standout skier in her younger years before shifting to cycling.
After college, she moved away from skiing toward competitive biking.
Wilson particularly excelled at “gravel racing,” a relatively new category of cycling that some consider a hybrid of road cycling and mountain biking.
At the time of her death, Wilson was just days from participating in the Gravel Locos bike race. The day after the race, an event organizer remembered her on Facebook as a “role model, a shy compassionate person, a spirited tactical racer and a competitor that genuinely cared about those competing against you.”
What happened during Wilson’s final hours
On May 11, the day of her death, Wilson told her friend she was going for an afternoon swim with Strickland, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Travis County District Court. Wilson was staying with a friend as she prepared for the upcoming Gravel Locos race in Hico.
Strickland told investigators that after they swam, he and Wilson got dinner. Afterward, Strickland said, he dropped her off at her friend’s home but did not go inside, according to the affidavit.
Austin Police responded to the home later that evening, shortly before 10 p.m. CT, and found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
On May 19, authorities filed an affidavit saying Strickland admitted to trying to hide his communications with Wilson from Armstrong by changing Wilson’s name on his phone and deleting texts.
The affidavit cites a tipster who alleged Armstrong came to believe Strickland and Wilson’s romantic relationship was ongoing as of January 2022.
Armstrong had contacted Wilson several times and in one instance told her to “stay away” from Strickland, one of Wilson’s friends told investigators, according to the affidavit.
Wilson’s family said she was not in any 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 family said in a statement last month.
Strickland and Armstrong reconciled and resumed their relationship about a month later, he told the paper. Strickland said his relationship with Wilson then became “platonic and professional” and he considered her a “close friend,” he said.
“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime,” Strickland told the Austin American-Statesman. “I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable situation.”
CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn, Dakin Andone, Emma Tucker, Eric Levenson, Djenane Villanueva, Marlon Sorto, Amanda Watts and Jonny Hallam contributed to this report.