Suspected murderer Kaitlin Armstrong was captured Wednesday after a manhunt that lasted well over a month.
According to Fox News, Armstrong was found in Costa Rica 43 days after authorities began their search. United States Marshals announced the news on Thursday morning, but they said the capture took place the day before.
With the help of local authorities in Costa Rica, U.S. Marshals located Armstrong in a hostel in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica, Fox News reported.
Law enforcement officials said she took a flight from Newark, New Jersey, to San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 18, and she used a “fraudulent passport” to do so.
Armstrong is suspected in the killing of 25-year-old professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson. Police believe the murder could have been a crime of passion as part of a “love triangle.”
On May 11, Wilson allegedly went out with Colin Strickland, another pro-cyclist who police said was dating Armstrong, Fox News reported. Wilson lived in California, but she was in Texas preparing for an upcoming competition.
Shortly after Strickland dropped Wilson off at the house in which she was staying, surveillance video caught Armstrong’s SUV driving up, investigators said.
— Jennifer Coffindaffer (@CoffindafferFBI) May 31, 2022
Austin police eventually found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds inside a friend’s home at about 10 p.m. that night.
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Police questioned Armstrong the next day, but they subsequently released her, Fox News reported. On May 14, she flew from Texas to New York and arrived at LaGuardia Airport.
Five days after their initial questioning, police named Armstrong in a murder warrant on May 17. However, she had already fled the state by the time this happened, and she fled the country the next day.
“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.
“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.”
Lenny DePaul is the retired former commander of the U.S. Marshals Service’s New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, and he told Fox News American and Costa Rican law enforcement worked together to track down Armstrong.
“I do know that there were a couple of U.S. Marshals on the ground that were working with the Costa Rican authorities, as well as Homeland Security [Investigations], [and State Department] Diplomatic Security Services as well,” DePaul said. “It took them a couple of weeks to really tighten up that noose a little bit and get her in their sights.”
Now that she has been captured, Armstrong will likely be brought back to the United States to stand trial.
“They will deport her, and she’ll probably waive extradition — and then the U.S. Marshals Service will have 10 days to go down and extradite her back to the United States,” DePaul said.
A whistleblower contacted Austin police on May 14 and said Armstrong had obtained a handgun, Fox News reported. Officer eventually recovered two nine millimeter handguns after searching the home where Strickland and Armstrong lived, and they said one of them was “significant to the investigation.”
In the warrant for Armstrong’s arrest, police said they had recovered the handgun allegedly used to kill Wilson. Officers said Strickland purchased the firearm earlier in 2022.