US Marshals searching for Kaitlin Armstrong, the 34 year old who is the prime suspect in the murder of gravel racer Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson who was shot dead earlier in Texas this month, have said she took a flight to New York City three days after the shooting. Meanwhile, sponsors have distanced themselves from Armstrong’s partner, pro cyclist Colin Strickland, who had also been romantically involved with the victim.
Wilson, from Vermont, had been staying at the home of a friend ahead of competing in the Gravel Locos race, where the 25 year old had been favourite to win.
Her friend found her dead from multiple gunshot wounds at around 10pm on the evening of Wednesday 11 May.
Last week, police issued a warrant for Armstrong’s arrest, who is the chief suspect. The former bike racer turned yoga teacher has been in a relationship with Strickland, one of the top male gravel and fixed-gear racers in the US, for several years. The pair are also business partners.
Strickland – winner in 2019 of Unbound Gravel 200, then known as the Dirty Kanza, the biggest event in gravel racing, confirmed last week that he had a short relationship with Wilson when he and Armstrong briefly broke up last year.
He and Wilson, with whom he says he maintained a “platonic and professional” relationship after he and Armstrong got back together, had been swimming together on the day of her murder and he dropped her off at the house she was staying at 8.30pm on the evening she was killed.
Shortly afterwards, Armstrong is believed to have arrived at the property in a black Jeep registered to the address where she and Strickland live.
An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Armstrong, who was initially interviewed by police shortly after the murder but released on a technicality, and has since disappeared.
US Marshals, who are involved in the search for her, said yesterday that it is believed she boarded a flight from Austin International Bergstrom Airport to Houston Hobby Airport at around 1230 hours on Saturday 14 May, before taking a connecting Southwest Airlines flight to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.
Surveillance photographs tweeted by US Marshals show her in what they described as a “blue denim jacket, black shirt with a pink design on the chest, white jeans, black and white tennis shoes, a black COVID mask, and a possible yoga mat carrier on her shoulders.”
Armstrong’s family, meanwhile, are insistent she is innocent, with Newsweek reporting her father telling Good Morning America, “I know that she did not do this. There are a lot of unanswered questions.”
Although he has co-operated with the authorities in the search for Armstrong and has not been implicated in Wilson’s murder, Strickland has seen a number of sponsors terminate their agreements with him, reports VeloNews.
Specialized, Enve and Rapha are among brands to have ended their sponsorship of the 35 year old, while his bike supplier, Allied Cycle Works, says he “is not expected to represent Allied at future races.” Red Bull, which has sponsored him since 2017, said only that it was “a matter for the authorities.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Rapha said: “Like many, we have been following the news around the incredibly tragic death of gravel and mountain bike prodigy and prominent member of the American cycling community, Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson.
“We are deeply saddened by her senseless death and we are sending our condolences to Mo’s family and friends.
In light of recent events we have mutually agreed to end our partnership with Colin Strickland with immediate effect.”
In response to rumours that she and Strickland had recently rekindled their relationship, Wilson’s family said in a statement that they felt it was “important to clarify that at the time of her death, those closest to her clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone.”
They have also set up a Go Fund Me page in her memory which aims to raise money “to help fund community organisations that help youth find self-confidence, strength, and joy through biking, skiing, and other activities that Moriah was passionate about. With your generosity, and Mo's loving spirit, let's help as many youth as possible pursue their dreams.”
To date, it has raised $101,075 against a goal of $250,000.
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