(AUSTIN, Texas) — A manhunt is underway for a Texas woman wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a professional cyclist who authorities say was once romantically linked to the suspect’s boyfriend.
Austin police issued a homicide warrant on Tuesday for Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 35, in the killing of 25-year-old Anna Moriah Wilson, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Wilson was in Austin last week for a race when she was found bleeding and unconscious with multiple gunshot wounds at a friend’s home the night of May 11, police said. First responders performed life-saving measures, but she was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the manner of death to be a homicide. Austin police said at the time that they had a person of interest in the incident and that the “shooting does not appear to be a random act.”
U.S. Marshals said they are currently seeking Armstrong, of Austin, who they said is a suspect in the fatal shooting.
“Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force are actively conducting a fugitive investigation and pursuing leads on the whereabouts of Armstrong,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement Friday.
According to the affidavit in the warrant for Armstrong’s arrest on a first-degree murder charge, Wilson was visiting Austin from San Francisco for a cycling race when her friend came home and found Wilson alone lying on the bathroom floor covered in blood. Armstrong’s 2012 Jeep Cherokee was captured on surveillance footage from a neighboring residence stopping outside the residence the night of the homicide, according to the affidavit.
Earlier that evening, Wilson had met with Colin Strickland, an Austin professional cyclist, to go swimming, the friend told police, the affidavit stated.
When interviewed by police on May 12, Strickland, 35, confirmed that he had gone swimming with Wilson, according to the affidavit. Strickland told police that he and Armstrong live together and have been dating for about three years, the affidavit stated. During a brief break in their relationship in October 2021, he had a “romantic relationship” with Wilson, before resuming dating Armstrong, according to the affidavit.
Since then, Strickland told police he has had to change Wilson’s name in his phone and delete text messages “to prevent Armstrong from finding them,” the affidavit stated. Text messages from the night Wilson was killed showed that Strickland lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts “to hide he was with Wilson throughout the evening,” the affidavit stated.
A friend of Wilson’s who wanted to remain anonymous told police that Wilson and Strickland had an “on-again, off-again” relationship, according to the affidavit. Another anonymous caller said Armstrong had discovered in January that Strickland and Wilson were having a romantic relationship, at which point Armstrong “became furious and was shaking in anger,” the affidavit stated. “Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson,” the affidavit stated.
When police interviewed Armstrong on May 12, she was “confronted with video evidence of her vehicle” but “she had no explanation as to why it was in the area and did not make any denials surrounding the statements,” the affidavit stated. After further questioning Armstrong requested to leave, according to the affidavit.
Armstrong has since deleted her social media accounts and “has not been seen or heard from since this time,” according to the affidavit. Strickland told police he last saw her on May 13, the affidavit stated.
Two firearms that Strickland told police he had bought for himself and Armstrong were recovered at his and Armstrong’s home in the wake of the shooting, according to the affidavit. Based on the shell casings found at the scene, the potential that one of the guns was involved in the homicide “is significant,” the affidavit stated.
In a statement to ABC News Austin affiliate KVUE, Strickland said he has “cooperated fully with investigators” and expressed “torture about my proximity to this horrible crime.”
He said he had a “brief romantic relationship” with Wilson from late October-early November 2021, and that shortly after he “reconciled and resumed” his relationship with Armstrong while keeping a “platonic and professional” relationship with Wilson.
Wilson’s death shocked the cycling community. The athlete had won several gravel and mountain bike races in the past two seasons and had recently quit her job to focus on racing, according to VeloNews, who interviewed Wilson days before she was set to compete in the 157-mile Gravel Locos in Hico, Texas on May 14.
Wilson, known as “Mo” to friends and family, is survived by her parents and brother. Her family said in a statement to ABC News that they are “devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter and sister.”
“There are no words that can express the pain and suffering we are experiencing due to this senseless, tragic loss. Moriah was a talented, kind, and caring young woman,” her family said. “Her life was taken from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of. Our family, and all those who loved her, will forever miss her.”
Her family also wished to clarify that at the time of her death, Wilson was not involved with anyone romantically.
Wilson’s family hopes to establish a foundation in her memory to “share Moriah’s life story and legacy to inspire and enrich the lives of others.”
“With her visibility and presence in the cycling world, she wanted to empower young women athletes, encourage people of all walks of life to find joy and meaning through sport and community, and inspire all to chase their dreams,” they said.
ABC News’ Lisa Sivertsen contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.