Texas police are hunting for a 34-year-old yoga teacher accused of shooting dead the leading U.S. gravel cyclist, dubbed the ‘winningest woman in America’, because she’d had a brief relationship with her boyfriend.
Kaitlin Armstrong has not been seen since May 13 – two days after the murder of Moriah Wilson, 25.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Armstrong, a yoga teacher, who remains on the run and has deleted all her social media accounts.
Armstrong’s boyfriend Colin Strickland, also a professional cyclist, had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in October when he and his girlfriend of three years were on a break.
They got back together shortly after, and Armstrong found out in January about the one-week dalliance.
Moriah Wilson, the leading gravel cyclist in the U.S., was found shot dead on May 11 in an Austin apartment, before a competition
The Austin American Statesman reported that Armstrong ‘became furious and was shaking in anger,’ according to a tipster who spoke police.
Armstrong told the tipster that she wanted to kill Wilson and that she had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to, according to the affidavit, obtained by Fox 7 Austin.
Strickland told police that he purchased two 9mm handguns for him and Armstrong around this time.
Wilson was shot multiple times with a 9mm handgun, according to the affidavit.
APD tested Armstrong’s handgun and found that the weapon was the same firearm used in Wilson’s death based on ballistic evidence.
On the evening of May 11 – the day after Wilson had arrived in town, following her victory in the 222km Belgian Waffle Ride in California – Wilson and Strickland went for a swim at Deep Eddy, a famous Austin municipal swimming pool.
Strickland, who is sponsored by Red Bull, and Wilson went for dinner at Pool Burger after their swim.
He walked her back to the Austin apartment at 8:30pm.
Armstrong’s SUV was seen driving by shortly after, with the footage captured on a neighbor’s Ring camera.
Armstrong did not arrive back at the house she shared with Strickland until 9:20pm, he told police.
Strickland on Friday issued a statement, and insisted his relationship with Wilson was ‘platonic and professional’.
Yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong has not been seen since May 13 after allegedly murdering Wilson in an apartment in Austin, Texas
He wrote: ‘There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime.’
He said he was cooperating fully with the police.
‘I admired her greatly, and considered her a close friend,’ he wrote.
‘I am deeply grieving her loss.’
Wilson was seen as a rising star in the sport.
She had just turned professional, leaving her job at California-based bike company Specialized, and weeks before had taken the first lead for elite women in the Life Time Grand Prix off-road series.
She had a busy season of racing ahead of her, with competitions across the United States and in East Africa.
Wilson grew up in East Burke, Vermont.
Her father, Eric Wilson, was in the U.S. ski team, while her aunt, Laura, competed in the Olympics as a cross-country ski racer.
Armstrong’s boyfriend Colin Strickland (pictured), also a professional cyclist, had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in October when he and his girlfriend of three years were on a break
Armstrong was charged on Friday with Wilson’s murder, and is now on the run
She skied competitively throughout her youth, continuing to compete at Dartmouth College, where she also played soccer.
She graduated with a degree in engineering.
‘Moriah Wilson was all light and laughter,’ said Rebecca Rusch, mountain bike and gravel hall-of-famer.
‘She was talented, intelligent, gentle, fast, focused, and graceful.
‘She had a poise and inner strength that is so rare in any human, especially one as young as 25.
‘There was a bubble of positivity and joy around her, and we all wanted to be in her bubble.’
Wilson was described by her fellow cyclists as being ‘all light and laughter’
Lauren De Crescenzo, winner of Unbound Gravel, said Wilson was a fierce competitor, and ‘always kind, humble and nice to be around.’
She said: ‘I wish I had gotten to know you better off the bike. We only spoke a few times, but you were always kind, humble and nice to be around.
‘I knew you as a fierce competitor on the bike, always pushing our sport to new heights. Thank you for pushing us all to be better. I’ve had the deepest admiration for you this season.’
Ted King, former pro road racer and gravel contender, also from Vermont, said: ‘It’s impossible to absorb the news of the past few days. Immeasurable heartbreak with glimmers of happiness having had the privilege to get to know Mo.’
Wilson and Strickland on May 11 went for a swim at this municipal pool, Deep Eddy
He added: ‘She’s already stamped her name on the sport but I feel like I’ve spent the past two months bragging about meeting her, telling people about how high her career will go, and that she’s from Vermont.’
Her parents, Eric and Karen, thanked the cycling community for their support.
‘While the tragic loss of Moriah is unfathomable, at the same time, we want everyone to join us in celebrating her life, accomplishments, and love for others,’ they said in a statement.
‘Always pushing tirelessly to reach her goals, we knew she was pursuing that which she loved. We will miss her terribly and know that all mourn her with us.
‘We know that Moriah would want the event to carry on for her compatriots to test their limits, as she would have been alongside her friends on the race course.
‘We hope everyone feels her passion and support as they chase their own dreams. Her spirit will be there with you all, while training and on every race day.’