How U.S. Marshals captured pro cyclist Moriah "Mo" Wilson's killer

When Moriah “Mo” Wilson, a promising young gravel cyclist is murdered, her suspected killer disappears, sparking an international manhunt.

Moriah Wilson is shot in her friend’s apartment

Mo Wilson
Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson

Ansel Dickey

On May 11, 2022, in Austin, Texas, elite gravel racer Moriah “Mo” Wilson was found dead on the floor of her friend’s bathroom.

Wilson was in town for the 150-mile Gravel Locos race and staying with her friend Caitlin Cash. Cash discovered Wilson’s body around 10 p.m., called 911 and tried to perform CPR, but it was too late.

Police arrive on scene

Mo Wilson crime scene evidence

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

Shell casings were found inside Cash’s apartment, and Cash told authorities that Wilson had been with fellow cyclist Colin Strickland that evening. Cash got a notification from her electronic door lock that Wilson had arrived back at the apartment and unlocked the door at 8:36 p.m. 

Wilson’s bike found in bushes

Mo Wilson's bike
Police discovered Mo Wilson’s expensive racing bicycle had been discarded in the bushes near her friend’s apartment

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

Police discovered Wilson’s bike in the bushes near Cash’s apartment. 

A critical clue

Ring camera video on the black Jeep
The black Jeep is seen upper right.

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

The night of Wilson’s murder, investigators obtained footage from a neighboring security camera that showed a black Jeep SUV drive by just one minute after Wilson was dropped off at Cash’s apartment.

Last person seen with Mo Wilson

Colin Strickland and Mo Wilson
Colin Strickland and Mo Wilson seen on a restaurant’s security camera.

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

Colin Strickland and Wilson went for a swim and then to Pool Burger where they are seen together in the restaurant’s security video. Security camera footage also captured them riding Strickland’s motorcycle back to Cash’s apartment.

Colin Strickland is questioned by police

Travis Strickland questioned y Austin police
Travis Strickland was questioned the day after Mo Wilson’s murder.

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

On May 12, 2022, the morning after Wilson’s murder, police arrived at Strickland’s home. They informed him that Wilson died, and the case was a homicide investigation. They also saw a black Jeep SUV in Colin’s driveway that matched the one seen on security footage the night before. Investigators had run the license plate and discovered it was registered to a woman named Kaitlin Armstrong.

Strickland agreed to go to the police station to be interviewed and didn’t seem to hold back when telling them about the time he spent with Wilson the day prior. He also told them about his relationship Armstrong, his live-in girlfriend.

Colin Strickland opens up about his and Wilson’s past

Colin Strickland
Colin Strickland

Nicole Fara Silver

After Wilson’s death, Strickland took to social media and wrote that about six months before her murder, during a short break up with Armstrong, he did have a “brief romantic relationship” with Wilson that “spanned a week or so.” He said that it ended, and their relationship had turned into a “platonic and professional one.”

Strickland was ruled out as a suspect, and it was later discovered that he was on the phone when Wilson was murdered.

Kaitlin Armstrong brought in for questioning

Kaitlin Armstrong, left, during questioning.
Kaitlin Armstrong, left, during questioning.

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

On May 12, 2022, police arrested Armstrong on an old outstanding warrant for failing to pay for a Botox treatment and used the opportunity to inquire about Wilson’s death. Investigators say she remained stoic during the questioning. When told her vehicle was seen near Cash’s apartment, she said “I would like to leave.” She responded in a similar fashion to other questions.

But Armstrong was released because the birthdate on the arrest warrant was wrong.

Kaitlin Armstrong disappears


U.S. Marshals

On May 14, 2022 Armstrong fled Austin.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, which included officers from the Austin Police Department and U.S. Deputy Marshals, was tasked with finding her.

Kaitlin Armstrong seen on Austin airport security camera

Kaitlin Armstrong t Austin-Bergstrom International
Kaitlin Armstrong as seen at  Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

U.S. Marshals

Armstrong is seen in security footage from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. She first headed to her sister’s place in upstate New York and then headed to Costa Rica. The U.S. Marshals discovered that Armstrong used her sister’s passport. Christie Armstrong emphasized to authorities that she had not given her sister the passport. Christie Armstrong has never been charged with anything related to this case.

Kaitlin Armstrong lands in Costa Rica

Deputy U.S.Marshals Emir Perez and Damien Fernandez
Deputy U.S. Marshals Emir Perez, left and Damien Fernandez.

CBS News

Deputy U.S. Marshals Emir Perez and Damien Fernandez followed Armstrong to San José, but there was no sign of her in the city. 

The search proved increasingly difficult, until the Marshals got a lead that would inform them about Armstrong’s new appearance — she had cut her hair short, dyed it brown, and was even going by a different name. They also learned that she likely fled to a tiny, one-street town called Santa Teresa. More than a month had passed since Armstrong fled, and Perez and Fernandez were running out of options. They decided on one last tactic. They posted an ad looking for a yoga instructor on a local Facebook page.

After a few days, no one had responded to the inquiry, so Perez and Fernandez were ready to head home. But then, they got a bite.

Kaitlin Armstrong is caught

Kaitlin Armstrong arrest
Kaitlin Armstrong was caught and arrested in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, on June 29, 2022.

U.S. Marshals

Someone who identified themselves as a yoga instructor replied to the Facebook inquiry and agreed to meet. At this point, the Deputy Marshals also had a good idea of what hostel Armstrong was staying at in Santa Teresa and had help from the local Tourism Police surveilling that hostel.

Perez noticed a bandage on Armstrong’s nose, and that her lips were swollen, but he wasn’t convinced until he got a close look at her eyes. He knew those eyes matched Armstrong’s picture and was confident they had the right woman.

Perez told the rest of the team on the ground it was her and local police moved in to make the arrest.

Perez went inside the hostel alone and approached Armstrong at the front desk where she was working. He pretended to be a tourist, speaking Spanish, to not scare her off.

Kaitlin Armstrong’s plastic surgery confirmed

Kaitlin Armstrong plastic surgery receipt
At the hotel, the Deputy Marshals found a receipt for plastic surgery.

Inside Edition

A receipt for cosmetic surgery was found at the hostel where Armstrong was captured. The date on the receipt confirmed that when the Deputy Marshals were first in Santa Teresa looking for Armstrong, she was in San José getting surgery.

This, in addition to her new appearance, added to the difficulty in finding Armstrong when the Deputy Marshals first arrived in Santa Teresa. 

Kaitlin Armstrong extradited to the U.S.

Kaitlin Armstrong booking photo
Kaitlin Armstrong

Travis County Jail

The Deputy Marshals took Armstrong back to Texas where she was charged with Wilson’s murder and held in jail. 

Kaitlin Armstrong escapes again

Kaitlin Armstrong escape
Back in Texas and just weeks before she was due to stand trial for the murder of Moriah Wilson, Kaitlin Armstrong, left, escaped from custody after leaving a doctor’s appointment.

Travis County District Attorney’s Office

Three weeks before Armstrong’s trial was set to begin, she was escorted by authorities to a doctor’s appointment where she escaped custody and ran away. Armstrong was caught shortly after.

Guilty of first-degree murder

Kaitlin Armstrong enters the courtroom
Kaitlin Armstrong is pictured before the verdict is read at her murder trial on Nov. 16, 2023, in Austin, Texas. 

Mikala Compton / AP

On Nov. 16, 2023, after a two-week trial, a jury found Armstrong guilty of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to 90 years behind bars the next day.

Moriah’s Ascent

Mo Wilson
Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson

Elliot Wilkinson Ray

Wilson wanted to give back to the cycling community and find meaning in the sport that went beyond results.

To honor Moriah, the Wilson family created the Moriah Wilson Foundation that promotes healthy living and community building.

In Kingdom Trails in northern Vermont, a place that was sacred to Wilson, a trail was built in her honor called Moriah’s Ascent.

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