How Kaitlin Armstrong eluded police before arrest in cyclist's death – USA TODAY

A Texas yoga teacher charged in the killing of her romantic rival was able to elude arrest for 43 days after selling her Jeep for more than $12,000, using someone else’s passport to fly to Costa Rica, changing her appearance and blending in with the locals at a beachside hostel, authorities say.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong dyed her flowing blonde hair brown and chopped it to her shoulders. She may have even gotten plastic surgery to change her nose, Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla said at a news conference in Austin on Thursday.
The 34-year-old Armstrong used several fake names – including Beth, Liz and Ari Martin – when she stayed at various lodgings in Costa Rica or took classes at local yoga studios, Filla said.
After staying on the move for weeks, detectives at last tracked her down at Don Jon’s Surf and Yoga Lodge in Santa Teresa, a remote village with white sand beaches popular among surfers and yoga enthusiasts.
“She was really trying to build something to where she can instruct yoga there in Costa Rica,” Filla said about Armstrong’s potential long-term plan.
Authorities arrested Armstrong on June 29 after nearly five weeks on the run. They returned her to Texas on Saturday. She’s being held in Travis County jail on a bond of $3.5 million.
Armstrong’s attorney, Naomi Howard, has not responded to multiple messages seeking comment.
Armstrong is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson, 25, at an Austin home where Wilson was staying with a friend. The friend found Wilson on the night of May 11 bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead soon after.
The two women had dated the same man, professional cyclist Colin Strickland, according to an affidavit written by Austin police Detective Richard Spitler. Armstrong was his longtime girlfriend, while he and Wilson dated briefly for about a week when Strickland and Armstrong were on a break in 2021, the affidavit said.
The day she was killed, Wilson had gone swimming at a local pool with Strickland. The two grabbed cheeseburgers afterward and Strickland drove Wilson back to her friend’s house on his motorcycle, Spitler wrote.
He wrote that Strickland lied to Armstrong about where he had been, telling her he had dropped off flowers at a friend’s house and his phone had died.
Somehow, police believe that Armstrong knew Strickland was with Wilson. They believe she waited until Strickland was out of sight before approaching the home, shooting Wilson multiple times and fleeing. 
Armstrong’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee was captured on surveillance video driving in front of the house just minutes before the killing, and police say they received a disturbing anonymous tip that Armstrong had concluded in January that Strickland and Wilson had rekindled their relationship.
“The caller advised Armstrong became furious and was shaking in anger,” Spitler wrote. “Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson. Armstrong then proceeded to tell the caller Armstrong had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to.”
Strickland told police he bought a gun for himself and one for Armstrong in December and January. Strickland is not considered a suspect and authorities have said he’s cooperating with their investigation.
Both Strickland and Wilson’s family have denied reports that they were seeing each other romantically.
The day after the killing, police brought Armstrong into the station on a warrant over an unpaid Botox treatment and questioned her. 
“When Armstrong was confronted with video evidence of her vehicle, she had no explanation as to why it was in the area and did not make any denials,” Spitler wrote. “Detective (Katy) Conner then confronted Armstrong on how seeing her vehicle in the area, coupled with the statements made by Strickland, made things not look too good. Armstrong then again nodded her head up and down as if in agreement.”
Shortly after that, Armstrong asked to leave and the interview ended. She was allowed to leave after police discovered the birthday on the warrant for her arrest didn’t match her actual birthday – a technicality that invalidated the document.
Police provided this timeline in the affidavit: The day after the interview, Armstrong sold the Jeep for $12,200 at a CarMax lot. Armstrong flew to New York the following day, where she obtained a passport from someone she’s “closely associated with.” Four days after that, on May 18, she flew to Costa Rica.
After concluding that Armstrong had flown to Costa Rica, two U.S. Marshalls Service went to the Central American nation and began some “old-fashioned police work.”
They learned she had taken a bus from the airport in San Jose to a town two hours away. 
“That’s where they really started the boots on the ground,” Filla said. “They went door to door, conducted multiple interviews from yoga establishments and also made contact with lodging venues that she had left behind … They learned that she signed the books under these aliases, and that really started the trail of narrowing down a path on Kaitlin Armstrong.”
When they at last caught up with her, Filla said Armstrong denied her real identity and kept up the lies until after the six-hour drive back to San Jose, where she admitted who she was.
“She was exhausted,” he said. 
Among Armstrong’s possessions in Costa Rica, Filla said authorities found travel documents and a receipt for plastic surgery. 
At the time of her arrest, Armstrong had a bandage on her nose and discoloration under her eyes, something she attributed to a surfing accident, Filla said.
Armstrong kept her head down and her hair blocking most of her face as Costa Rican authorities led her to a vehicle and members of the news media peppered her with questions such as, “Did you kill Ms. Wilson?”
Her next court date is July 20.
A Dartmouth graduate and highly skilled skier and cyclist, Wilson is survived by her parents, brother and grandmother. She will be laid to rest in her home state of Vermont. 
Wilson had been living in San Francisco at the time of her death and was visiting Texas for a race where she was a favorite to win.
In her memory, her family is working to raise money “to help fund community organizations that help youth find self confidence, strength, and joy through biking, skiing, and other activities that Moriah was passionate about.”


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