Home NewsU.S. News Suspect in killing of elite cyclist used someone else’s passport in escape to Costa Rica, officials say. Here’s how authorities say she was caught

Suspect in killing of elite cyclist used someone else’s passport in escape to Costa Rica, officials say. Here’s how authorities say she was caught

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Suspect in killing of elite cyclist used someone else’s passport in escape to Costa Rica, officials say. Here’s how authorities say she was caught


Authorities said they found Caitlin Marie Armstrong at a hotel in Costa Rica on Wednesday. She is facing extradition to the United States on murder charges, where Anna Moria “Mo” Wilson was shot and killed on May 11.

Wilson briefly dated Armstrong’s boyfriend, a professional cyclist, and investigators say romantic jealousy may have been a motivating factor.

Here’s the timeline of the case, from Wilson’s death to the arrest of Armstrong, a 34-year-old real estate agent and yoga teacher from Austin, Texas.

May 11: Wilson is found dead at a friend’s house with multiple gunshot wounds. She told her friends she was going for an afternoon swim with Colin Strickland, a 35-year-old professional cyclist and boyfriend of Armstrong’s. He told police he swam with Wilson and had dinner before he dropped her off at a friend’s house, according to an arrest affidavit in Travis County District Court.

May 12: Austin police arrest Armstrong on an unrelated warrant. They released her after learning the warrant was invalid.

May 13: Armstrong sold her black Jeep Grand Cherokee for $12,200.

May 14: Armstrong flies from Austin to Houston to New York City.

May 17: Police issue a homicide warrant against Armstrong. It said that shortly before Wilson’s body was found, video surveillance near the home showed a vehicle similar to hers.

May 18: Armstrong appears at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. No reservations were found in her name.

May 19: Strickland told police he tried to hide his communications with Wilson from Armstrong, a warrant said. It said Armstrong told Wilson to “stay away” from Strickland, a friend of Wilson’s told police.

May 25: Authorities issue a separate federal arrest warrant for Armstrong for “flying illegally to avoid prosecution.” Strickland told the Austin American-Statesman that he had a “brief romantic relationship” with Wilson when he separated from Armstrong last year. He told the paper that he had reconciled with Armstrong, and that he considered Wilson a “platonic” and “close friend.”

Found in another country after 6 weeks, another look

June 29: Authorities arrested Armstrong at a hotel in Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas, according to the U.S. Marshals Office.

Wilson switched from skiing to cycling after graduating from college.

June 30: Deputy Marshal Brandon Fila in Austin told CNN that Armstrong “completely changed her appearance.” He said her long blonde hair was now “shoulder length and dark brown”.

He also revealed more details about the weeks-long search:

• Armstrong was previously “similar” to the passport she used to flee the country. Fila did not say how Armstrong obtained the passport or whether the rightful owner of the passport gave it to her.

• US Marshals “cooperated with the Department of Homeland Security and reviewed the flight’s passenger list” after authorities learned of the name Armstrong may have used on the trip. They found a name matching the passport on a May 18 flight from Newark to San Jose, Costa Rica.

• They then searched the surveillance cameras for the specific airport gate where the flight departed and the “ID Caitlin Armstrong” boarding.

• US Marshals contacted Costa Rican authorities, who found Armstrong in a hotel and detained her on immigration violations for entering the country using a forged passport.

What’s next: Fila says Armstrong will face murder charges when he returns to Austin. She also faces an additional federal charge of flying illegally to avoid prosecution.

When she returned, her bail was set at $3.5 million, court records in Travis County, Texas show.

It’s unclear if anyone else helped Armstrong evade U.S. Marshals, but Fila said “they don’t rule out other people being charged” depending on where they were investigated.

CNN’s Emma Tucker, Rebekah Riess, Holly Yan, and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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