Manhunt for fugitive yoga teacher is upgraded to a 'major case' after 'at least 70 tips' reported – Daily Mail

By Alastair Talbot and Paul Farrell For Dailymail.Com


The US Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is expanding its efforts to capture fugitive love triangle murder suspect Kaitlin Armstrong and upgrading the search to a ‘major case,’ after ‘at least 70 tips’ on her whereabouts were received.
It has been nearly a month since 25-year-old victim Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson was allegedly shot dead by Armstrong on May 11, in Austin, Texas.   
Armstrong, 35, had reportedly been furious when she found out that Wilson had a brief relationship with her boyfriend, fellow cyclist Colin Strickland, 35. 
The yoga teacher disappeared just a few days after the murder, following being interviewed by police.
Police issued a warrant for her address a $5,000 reward for ‘anybody who can generate a tip’ that leads to the whereabouts of Armstrong. Since then, at least 70 tips have come in to the Austin Capital Area CrimeStoppers and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). 
Filla said some of those tips ‘have had some instrumental value that has assisted our investigation.’
Now that Wilson’s murder case has been upgraded to ‘major,’ a wider budget, which will include more resources and funding, will be made available to Marshals to step up their pursuit. 
A wanted poster for Kaitlin Armstrong issued by the US Marshals, which have upgraded the search to a ‘major case’, meaning more funding and resources will be made available. A reward of up to $5,000 will also be granted
Marshals have received ‘at least 70 tips’ on the whereabouts of Kaitlin Armstrong (pictured) since the May 12 murder
Retired commander of the Marshal Service’s Fugitive Task Force in New York and New Jersey Lenny DePaul told Fox News of the upgrade: ‘A major case is afforded money from our headquarters, funding to support the folks in the field with whatever they need — aviation support, if they need K-9 help…any type of support that’s needed.’
‘When it’s elevated like that, it’s going to get a lot of attention,’ he added. ‘Your due diligence has to be made. It’s an everyday effort from the lead investigators.’
Cases and searches handled by the USMS fall into three categories: regular fugitive cases, major cases and top 15 fugitives, DePaul explained to Fox News, adding that marshals assigned to major cases have ‘a lot of manpower and money and state-of-the art equipment. 
He further said that Armstrong ‘had some time’ to get away before she was officially named as the main suspect in the murder case.
‘The bigger question is, is she in this country? Did stay local? Who did she know up here?’ he told Fox News. ‘Criminal investigators, fugitive investigators are going to have these answers as they’re putting this puzzle together and connect the dots.’
A federal warrant for Armstrong’s arrest has also been granted to Marshals, which give them ‘a lot of jurisdiction and a lot of leverage,’ according to DePaul.
Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson, 25, was in Austin, Texas, for a cycling race and had spent most of her last day alive with Armstrong’s boyfriend before she was killed at a friend’s home, where she was staying, nearly a month ago
On May 14, three days after the murder, Armstrong was spotted on surveillance footage at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, arriving from Houston. According to a press release from earlier this week, Marshals say that Armstrong was spotted at Newark’s Liberty International Airport on May 18, the day after the Austin Police Department issued a warrant for her arrest. 
However, according to passenger records, Armstrong was not listed on any outbound flights from Newark.
Deputy Marshal Brandon Filla further told KVUE in an interview that investigators are looking into the possibility that Armstrong flew out of Newark under a fake name or was deliberately deceptive and had no intention of flying that day. 
‘There’s a lot more people looking for her than I believe what she believes. We wanted to make it to where she always has to look over her shoulder,’ Deputy Filla told KVUE. ‘Somewhere along the way she’ll make an error, she’ll make a mistake, and we’ll be able to exploit that to where we can bring her before justice.’ 
The deputy added that authorities know how Armstrong got to the airport but that they are not willing to release that information. A separate warrant from the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas was issued for Armstrong on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution after she fled the Lone Star State.
Armstrong was last pictured at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on May 14 after arriving from Austin. She took a connecting flight from Houston to get to the Big Apple and has last been spotted at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18
Armstrong, pictured at LaGuardia Airport on May 14, is believed to not have flown from Newark on May 18. Theories that she flew under a fake name or was deliberately deceptive and had no intention of flying that day have surfaced to light
Armstrong reportedly flew into a rage after finding out about the romance between Wilson (pictured) and Strickland in January 2022 . Strickland denied that he had a fling with the victim and said their relationship was purely platonic
Armstrong is white, stands 5 feet 8 inches and weighs approximately 125 pounds. 
When she was last seen, Armstrong had light brown long, curly hair and hazel eyes and was last seen on surveillance video wearing a blue denim jacket, black shirt with a pink design on the chest, white jeans, black and white tennis shoes, a black COVID mask, and a possible yoga mat carrier on her shoulders. 
On the night Wilson was killed, she had been out swimming with Strickland. Though he maintains that their relationship was platonic. 
Wilson, a resident of San Francisco, was in Austin training for an upcoming race.
Strickland has since left Texas and will not return until Armstrong is caught, learned in May.   
Friends of Armstrong’s boyfriend Strickland have told he fears becoming her second victim and has ‘got out of Dodge completely’ until she is caught. 
Close friend David, 42, of Lockhart, Texas, said: ‘None of us can sleep. He’s staying out of sight until she’s caught. I do know where he is but I’m not mentioning where for his safety.
‘He’s not in Texas – he’s got completely out of Dodge.’
Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland, has fled Texas out of fear for his safety
Armstrong is white, stands 5 feet 8 inches and weighs approximately 125 pounds
This isn’t the first time Armstrong has allegedly broken the law and fled. In 2018, Armstrong Botoxed-and-dashed from a spa in Austin, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Fox News. 
The affidavit states that on March 6, 2018, Armstrong went in for a $650 Botox procedure at Aesthetica Med Spa in Travis County, where she filled out forms stating she was financially responsible for the services.
Following the procedure, Armstrong handed over her MasterCard to pay but then before the payment was processed, she told the employee that she had another card in her car that she preferred to use. 
Armstrong left the MasterCard on the counter, left the spa, and did not return to pay, the affidavit stated. She was charged with larceny and her bail was set at $3,500 at the time, according to records. 
It’s not clear if she was ever sentenced for the theft. It was throught that warrant that officers were first able to bring Armstrong in for questioning on May 11. 
A police tipster, who did not want to be identified, earlier told investigators that Armstrong flew into a rage on discovering cyclist Strickland’s romance with fellow cyclist Wilson in January 2022.
The informant told police: ‘Armstrong became furious and was shaking with anger. Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.’
That tipster got in contact with cops on May 14, three days after Wilson was murdered. Armstrong was subsequently questioned by cops, and freed due to a technicality. 
The 34-year-old suspect then vanished and has been on the run ever since. 
Deputy of US Marshal and Western District of Texas spokesman Brandon Fila told Fox News on Wednesday that if ‘Kaitlin is out there watching this, listening to this or reading this information,’ then ‘she needs to surrender to law enforcement.’
‘Safely surrender to law enforcement,’ he added. ‘Give your side of the story, because this is not going to go away.’ 
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group


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