AUSTIN (KXAN) — As federal agents search for an Austin woman suspected of murdering a pro-cyclist, the cycling community has rallied behind a fundraiser for the victim’s family.
An arrest warrant was issued for 34-year-old Kaitlin Marie Armstrong in connection with the death of the bicyclist, who was visiting Austin before a weekend race.
Anna Moriah Wilson, 25, who went by “Mo,” was found bleeding and unconscious by her friend after returning to an east Austin home May 11. Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
The U.S. Marshals Service issued a wanted poster for Armstrong Friday.
According to an arrest affidavit, Armstrong is accused of first-degree murder. The Austin Police Department issued a search warrant earlier this week in connection with Wilson’s death for a south Austin home owned by a woman with the same name.
Now, the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is joining the search for Armstrong. According to a press release from the U.S. Marshals, the task force is “conducting a fugitive investigation and pursuing leads” on Armstrong’s whereabouts.
According to the search warrant, Wilson was in Austin ahead of a race near Dallas. Bike racing outlet VeloNews reported Wilson was expected to compete in the Gravel Locos race in Hico, which is about an hour and 20 minutes southwest of Fort Worth.
Wilson’s family has created a GoFundMe where people can donate in lieu of flowers.
“In her memory, we are raising 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,” the GoFundMe said.
Anyone with information on Armstrong’s location is asked to contact the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1 (800) 336-0102 or submit a tip using the USMS Tips app. You can also submit a tip to Capital Area Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 893-8477.
Court records give details about investigation
The arrest warrant said Wilson went swimming with a friend, another professional cyclist named Colin Strickland, Wednesday, May 11.
The arrest affidavit further explained Strickland told police he had been in a relationship with Armstrong for about three years. During a break in their relationship, he said he met and began dating Wilson.
Police said Strickland and Armstrong were living together, and Strickland lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts that Wednesday, telling her he went to drop flowers off for someone, and his phone had died.
According to the affidavit, an anonymous friend reported they were with Armstrong in January when Armstrong learned Strickland was allegedly having a romantic relationship with Wilson. Police said the friend remembered Armstrong “became furious and was shaking in anger,” and “Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.”
Investigators said based on their search of Wilson’s phone, text messages indicated Wilson thought she “was still in a romantic relationship with Strickland even though he was currently dating Armstrong.”
According to the affidavit, Strickland also told police he’s had to change Wilson’s name in his phone “so Armstrong does not know who he is speaking to, as they continue their relationship,” as well as delete text messages from Wilson “to prevent Armstrong from finding them.”
Documents indicate Strickland dropped Wilson back off that evening at the home where she was staying with a friend, driving off at 8:35 p.m.
According to the arrest affidavit, an electronic lock indicated Wilson entered the home at 8:36 p.m., and a neighbor’s security camera footage shows Armstrong’s car pulls up at the home one minute later.
Investigators said Strickland also confirmed the car seen in the security footage belonged to Armstrong.
Detectives wrote in the affidavit, “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 surrounding the statements presented to her.”
Detectives also analyzed shell casings found at the scene against a gun belonging to Armstrong, the affidavit said. “The potential that the same firearm was involved is significant,” detectives wrote in the affidavit.
According to the arrest affidavit, “Armstrong has deleted her social media accounts and has not been seen or heard from since last Friday, May 13.”
Cycling community reacts
KXAN spoke to members of the cycling community who knew Wilson. Zachary Rynew of Gravel Bike California SAID she was one of the kindest and most gracious people he has met. He said even though her stardom was ascending in the cycling world, she was still extremely humble.
“Just super nice and super sweet. I don’t think anyone would have anything bad to say about her,” Rynew said. “She was just dominating cycling in a way nobody typically does. She won the biggest race of the year so far to date by almost a half hour.”
David Figueroa of Rapha Austin Pop Up said the local cycling community is mourning her death.
“Mo was a prominent member of the American cycling community and her death is an undisputed tragedy. We are struggling to come to grips with her senseless death, and we are sending our thoughts to Mo’s family and friends,” Figueroa said.
The Feed, an online platform that sells food and offers food coaching for athletes, has started selling water bottles with the phrase, “Ride Like Mo” on them.
“100% of every dollar from the Ride Like Mo bottles will be donated in memory of Moriah Wilson to a scholarship fund of her family’s choosing,” the company’s website reads.
Other companies and cyclists have been sharing their memories of Wilson on social media, along with the hashtag #RideLikeMo.
The Feed was a partner with the pro-cyclist, according its website.
“Moriah Wilson was defined by her grit and ever-present smile. Embrace those values every time you ride, run, or ski with your Ride Like Mo bottle,” reads The Feed’s website.