Kaitlin Armstrong's yoga obsession helped bust her in Costa Rica, US Marshals say

The Texas woman has returned to the U.S. and been charged with murdering San Francisco cyclist Mo Wilson.

Professional cyclist Moriah Wilson was in Austin, Texas, preparing to compete in the Gravel Locos bike race at the time of her death. 

Professional cyclist Moriah Wilson was in Austin, Texas, preparing to compete in the Gravel Locos bike race at the time of her death. 

Wilson Family via GoFundMe

Details about Kaitlin Armstrong's fugitive life in Costa Rica are beginning to emerge in the days after her arrest on suspicion of killing professional cyclist Mo Wilson.

According to police, Armstrong, 34, fatally shot Wilson on May 11 in Austin, Texas. After being questioned by authorities, Armstrong was released and went on the run, sparking a nationwide manhunt for the fugitive that finally ended in her being taken into custody Wednesday at a Santa Teresa Beach hostel in Provincia de Puntarenas. 

"The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run," U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerleau said in a statement. "This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to apprehend a violent fugitive, bring an end to that run and hopefully a sense of closure to the victim’s family."

Police say they tracked Armstrong to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on May 18, four days after she was seen carrying a yoga mat through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. According to investigators from the Marshals Service and Homeland Security, they recently discovered Armstrong then allegedly used someone else's passport to board United Airlines Flight 1222 from Newark on May 18. At a press conference, Deputy Marshal Brandon Filla said Armstrong "resembled" the person in the passport, but did not explain how she came to be in possession of it.

"She looked very similar to that individual,” Filla said. “So that was a fraudulent use of it, but it wasn’t fraudulent in itself because it was issued to a certain individual.”

After Armstrong landed in San Jose, Costa Rica, she went about changing her appearance. She cut her distinctive reddish hair and dyed it brown. Then, according to Filla, Armstrong went back to her old habit: taking yoga classes. 

Marshals say one of the primary ways they tracked Armstrong was by searching for local yoga studios and seeing if Armstrong signed up for courses. "Once she got to Costa Rica, she didn’t really move around a lot," Filla said. "We knew she was going to be associated with some type of yoga studio. When foreign officials arrived at that yoga studio, they did find a handwritten login that was the same alias that she was going by when she traveled to Costa Rica.

"Once they developed that pattern, it really opened up things and they quickly closed in on Kaitlin Armstrong."

When she was arrested, Armstrong had bandages and bruises on her face, which Filla said she attributed to a surfing accident. According to the Daily Mail, Armstrong was living at a $50-a-night hostel and possibly giving yoga lessons.

"She was getting really ready to establish that next part of her career," Filla said.

According to the Marshals Service, the yoga teacher and real estate agent killed 25-year-old Wilson, a champion mountain biker who lived and worked in San Francisco from 2019 until recently. On May 11, Wilson was staying with a friend in Austin to prepare for an upcoming race. That evening she allegedly went swimming with Armstrong's boyfriend Colin Strickland, a fellow racing competitor and alleged former romantic partner of Wilson. Wilson was later found by her friend at the apartment, bleeding and unconscious in the bathroom with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, before being pronounced dead by first responders. 

Authorities have painted the murder as motivated by jealousy. The complex details of the alleged love triangle-turned-murder — involving recently purchased guns, text messages, lies and an anonymous tipster — were revealed in an arrest warrant on May 19. In the warrant, an anonymous caller allegedly told police that on discovering Strickland and Wilson were romantically involved, Armstrong "became furious and was shaking with anger" and said she wanted to kill Wilson. 

After her arrest in Costa Rica on Wednesday, Armstrong was flown back to Texas on Saturday. Her bond will be set at $3.5 million, court records show.