Crime and Justice

Texas police say jealousy appears to be the motive in shooting death of cycling star with Vermont roots

Anna Moriah Wilson. Photo via Dartmouth College Athletics

Police are searching for a woman they say shot and killed 25-year-old cycling star and East Burke native Anna Moriah Wilson in Austin, Texas, on May 11. Authorities say the suspect had reportedly threatened to kill Wilson months earlier while in a jealous rage.

News outlets, including The Boston Globe and Austin American-Statesman, reported Friday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 35, of Austin, on a first-degree murder charge. Armstrong’s current whereabouts were unknown, and she has not been seen or heard from since May 13, when she deleted her social media accounts, according to police.

The motive for the killing appears to be a romantic rivalry between the suspect and the victim, involving a man whom Wilson had been with in the hours prior to her killing, according to police. That man, Colin Strickland, was described by police as Armstrong’s live-in boyfriend, who had dated Wilson for a brief period.

Kaitlin Armstrong. Courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service

Wilson, known to friends as “Mo,” had grown up in East Burke and trained at Burke Mountain Academy. She later attended Dartmouth College, where she competed on the ski team before turning her sights to competitive cycling. Her racing colleagues say she was a rising star in the field and was favored to win in the race that brought her to Austin.

Local police reported that Wilson had been shot multiple times in an East Austin apartment on the evening of May 11. Detectives said that they did not believe the killing was random and a person of interest had been identified.

The Austin American-Statesman, in reporting on the warrant issued for Armstrong’s arrest, published a copy of the seven-page police affidavit in support of the murder charge. 

According to police, Wilson had arrived in Austin on May 10, a day before she was killed, to compete in an upcoming race.

Police said that when Wilson was found shot to death in the Austin apartment where she was staying with a friend, they discovered that the only item missing appeared to be a Wilson’s Specialized bicycle, which was later found a short distance away hidden in thick bamboo.

Investigators also reported that Wilson had planned to go swimming earlier that day with Strickland, a professional cyclist who lives in the Austin area.

A surveillance camera from a nearby residence showed a 2012 Jeep Cherokee with a large bicycle rack in the area of the murder scene just minutes after Strickland had dropped Wilson off at the apartment, according to police. 

When police went to Strickland’s home to talk to him, they found a 2012 Jeep Cherokee matching the description of the one spotted outside the apartment where Wilson had been staying, the affidavit stated.  Strickland told investigators that the Jeep Cherokee at his residence belonged to Armstrong and he did not drive it. 

Strickland told investigators that he had been in a relationship with Armstrong for about three years and they lived together, though they broke up for a short period in October 2021. During that time, Strickland told police, he had a brief relationship with Wilson before getting back together with Armstrong, according to the affidavit. 

Strickland also told police that on the day Wilson was killed he had picked her up on his motorcycle and they had gone swimming at a local pool and then out to get food. He then brought Wilson back to the apartment where she was staying and left, the affidavit stated. 

Strickland also told police he had bought two firearms in December 2021 and January 2022, a Springfield Armory handgun for himself and a Sig Sauer handgun for Armstrong. During a search of the home that Strickland and Armstrong shared, police reported seizing the two firearms.

Armstrong was brought in to the Austin Police Department for questioning a day after the homicide.

“When Armstrong was confronted with video evidence of her vehicle, she had no explanation as to why it was in the area,” police said.

When told by a detective that things did not look good for her, according to the affidavit, Armstrong nodded her head up and down in agreement and soon after asked to leave.

On May 14, investigators reported that an anonymous caller reported being with Armstrong in January when she had just found out that Strickland was seeing Wilson.

“The caller advised Armstrong became furious and was shaking in anger,” police said. “Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.” 

On May 17, police test-fired the Sig Sauer handgun they had earlier seized and compared the shell casing and ones found near Wilson’s body in the apartment.

“The potential that the same firearm was involved is significant,” police wrote in the affidavit. 

On Friday, the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force announced it was seeking the public’s help in finding Armstrong.

The Marshals Service could not immediately be reached Saturday for comment.

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