The Texas yoga teacher accused of fatally shooting a professional cyclist in a jealous rage “was trying to establish herself” before she was captured in Costa Rica, officials said Wednesday while describing several measures the fugitive undertook to alter her appearance and blend into the community.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 34, was nabbed by US Marshals at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas after 43 days on the lam for the alleged murder of Anna Moriah Wilson, a 25-year-old cyclist who at one point had a romantic relationship with Armstrong’s boyfriend.
Armstrong had reportedly changed her appearance, was frequenting yoga classes to further her teaching profession and was staying at a hostel to stretch out her savings and meet new people who also spoke English, Deputy US Marshal Brandon Filla told KXAN.
The alleged killer used a phony passport to fly into Costa Rica from Newark Airport on May 18 – a day after Austin cops issued a warrant for her arrest – and settled into the beachside hostel.
Armstrong arrived in the new country with long red hair, but cut it to shoulder-length and dyed it dark brown. She also had bandage on her nose and “bruising under eyes” from a reported surfboard incident, Filla said.
“That physical appearance changed slightly,” he said. “Would it have changed more as she started to create that, you know, type of foundation for herself there in Costa Rica? Possibly could have. ”
Armstrong had frequented multiple yoga classes, which Filla speculated were “to better her profession to teach a specific type of yoga” which involved surfing.
“We believe she was staying at the hostel to really make her money stretch further down the road,” he added.
She also may have chosen to stay in a hostel since the dormitory-style housing is frequented by solo travelers looking to make connections with each other – being that she had to cut ties from family and friends, Filla said.
“With those types of resources constrained, she was trying to establish herself,” the US Marshal said. “Being in that hostel – that’s really for people that travel independently. You know they try to build some type of relationship with individuals in their dormitory housing. ”
Despite her best efforts to disguise herself and start a different life, Armstrong could not escape her alleged crimes.
US Marshals together with Homeland Security Investigations, Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and local authorities tracked down the alleged killer and arrested her.
She is set to be deported to the US to face charges for the May 11 murder of Wilson.
“Now she’ll face justice with the hopes of bringing some kind of closure to the Wilson family who’s been victimized by this incident,” Filla said.
Armstrong’s live-in boyfriend Colin Strickland, 34, had a fling with Wilson and had snuck out on the day of the shooting to meet her while she was visiting Austin from San Francisco for an upcoming race in Waco, officials said.
Wilson was found shot to death at a friend’s home, where Strickland had dropped her off. A Jeep appearing to be Armstrong’s was seen on surveillance footage outside.
Police questioned Armstrong but released her without charges before she went on the lam, officials said.