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Authorities return Kaitlin Armstrong to US after arrest in Costa Rica

Kaitlin Armstrong returned to US authorities after arrest in Costa Rica
Kaitlin Armstrong returned to US authorities after arrest in Costa Rica (Image credit: ABC13 Houston / News Footage)

Homicide suspect Kaitlin Marie Armstrong has been returned to the US where she faces first-degree murder charges in connection to the shooting death of cyclist Moriah Wilson on May 11 in Austin, Texas, the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force confirmed Saturday.

"Armstrong has arrived back in the US and will be held in Harris County (Texas) Jail awaiting extradition to Austin," a U.S. Marshals representative said in a CNN (opens in new tab) report.

A 43-day fugitive hunt came to an end on June 29 when authorities located and apprehended Armstrong, who had been hiding under an alias at a Santa Teresa Beach hostel in Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica. 

Through the combined efforts of U.S. Marshals Office of International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and authorities in Costa Rica, Armstrong was captured and detained for four days while awaiting her deportation process so that she could be returned to US authorities.

ABC 13 Houston captured exclusive video footage (opens in new tab) of authorities escorting Armstrong through the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Armstrong kept her head down and her hair covering her face, and remained silent when questioned about her involvement in the homicide investigation.

U.S. Marshals had tracked Armstrong at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on May 14, three days after Wilson was found shot and killed in Austin. They believe she then boarded a flight to Houston Hobby Airport, followed by a connecting flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Throughout their investigation, they learned that she was then dropped off at the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on May 18, a day after the APD obtained a warrant for her arrest, and then later confirmed that she had fraudulently used someone else's passport to board a flight to San Jose, Costa Rica.

When authorities captured and arrested Armstrong in Costa Rica on June 29, two passports were located in a locker at that location; one belonging to Armstrong and the other belonging to a family member, along with a $6,350 receipt for cosmetic surgery under another name, according to a report on Inside Edition.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla did not state the name of the owner of the passport due to the ongoing homicide investigation.

"That passport was a passport that was issued to someone else that was a very close physical description, that she could really use because she looked similar to that individual, so that was the fraudulent use of it. It [the passport] wasn't fraudulent in itself because it was issued to a specific individual, but she used it to board that flight a day after she knew that there was a warrant of her arrest," he said at that time.

In addition, Filla confirmed that Armstrong had changed her physical appearance by cutting her hair and changing her hair colour to dark brown.

Filla confirmed that Armstrong is facing first-degree murder charges in the homicide investigation arrest warrant with the APD into the death of Wilson, along with federal warrant for the unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Filla also confirmed that, at this time, there has been no other person taken into custody in the authorities' pursuit of Armstrong.

Cyclingnews has pieced together a timeline of how authorities believe this crime allegedly unfolded, based on legal documents. Cyclingnews will provide additional updates as more information becomes available by authorities throughout this investigation.

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Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.