AUSTIN, Texas – An arrest warrant in the fatal shooting of professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson details a love triangle that includes a male professional cyclist and the woman he lives with, according to Austin police.
Wilson, 25, was found dead May 11 in an East Austin home on Maple Avenue. She had traveled from San Francisco and was staying in town before riding in a gravel race in Hico, northwest of Waco, that coming weekend.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, of Austin, faces a murder charge in connection with the shooting. Police spoke with Armstrong on May 12 – the day after Wilson was killed – and confronted her with video surveillance that investigators say shows a vehicle matching one she drives pulling up to the residence where Wilson was staying. One minute earlier, Wilson had returned to the home after swimming with Armstrong's boyfriend.
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Armstrong, police said, nodded in agreement when detectives told her the video did not look good for her.
Armstrong has not been arrested. Police say she deleted her social media accounts and that her boyfriend told them he has not seen her since May 13. Her account on Strava –an online cycling and fitness platform – remains public and shows that she last cycled on May 11, the day Wilson died.
On Friday, the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force announced it is conducting a "fugitive investigation" and asked for the public's help in locating Armstrong.
The affidavit reveals a romantic entanglement that began in October when Armstrong split with her longtime boyfriend, professional cyclist Colin Strickland. During a brief break in that relationship, Strickland met and became involved with Wilson, only to soon get back together with Armstrong.
According to police, a tipster assisting in the homicide investigation told detectives that Armstrong learned in January about Strickland's relationship with Wilson and "became furious and was shaking in anger." The tipster told police that Armstrong said she wanted to kill Wilson. Around that time, police say Strickland bought two firearms: a 9 mm handgun for himself, and another for Armstrong.
In searching the home where Armstrong lives with Strickland, investigators say they seized a 9 mm handgun belonging to Armstrong. In comparing shell cases fired from that gun to those found in the home where Wilson was killed, police say the potential that the same firearm was used is "significant."
Colin Strickland describes relationship with Wilson
Strickland, a professional cyclist sponsored by Red Bull, issued a statement to the American-Statesman on Friday saying he had a brief relationship with Wilson after meeting her in Austin in October. He said that after that fling, which lasted about a week, his relationship with Wilson turned platonic and professional, and that he got back together with Armstrong. He said he was no longer romantically involved with Wilson.
"There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime," Strickland said. "I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable situation."
Strickland said he has cooperated with authorities and will continue to do so.
His statement said: "It was not my intention to pursue along an auxiliary romantic relationship that would mislead anyone. Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of cycling, and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend. I am deeply grieving her loss."
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Wilson was considered among the country's top cyclists and had recently quit her job to focus on training. She was the favorite to win Gravel Locos, the race for which she came to Texas.
At around 6 p.m. on the day she died, Wilson left her home to go swimming with Strickland at Deep Eddy Pool, investigators say in the affidavit. At about 8:30 p.m., police say she returned after Strickland dropped her off on his motorcycle. One minute later, video surveillance from a nearby home shows a dark SUV with a bicycle rack on the back and a luggage rack on the hood appearing to stop next to the home where Wilson was staying.
Strickland told detectives Armstrong did not know where Wilson was staying. But Wilson's Strava account might have provided a clue: On the day she was killed, she uploaded a ride that began and ended at the home where she was staying.
At just before 10 p.m., a woman who rents the home where Wilson was staying called police after arriving and finding Wilson lying in the bathroom. She told police that nothing was missing in the home except for Wilson's bicycle, which investigators later found in thick bamboo more than 60 feet from the house.
While investigating Wilson's relationship with Strickland, authorities with the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force went to the home where Strickland lives with Armstrong. In its driveway, they discovered a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee that matches the vehicle on the video, the affidavit says.
Strickland, in a voluntary interview with police, revealed that Armstrong returned home that night driving the Grand Cherokee.
All charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin, Texas woman accused of killing pro cyclist, police say