Texas investigators have gathered new evidence in the murder case involving Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson, but acknowledged Wednesday that they mistakenly released now-murder suspect Kaitlin Armstrong from police custody despite that she already had a misdemeanor warrant for her arrest.
Austin Police Department (APD) investigators have linked one of the guns found in Kaitlin Armstrong’s home to the murder weapon used to kill Wilson, a fledgling cyclist, on the night of May 11, APD Homicide Det. Richard Spitler said during a Wednesday press conference. On May 12, investigators executed a search warrant at the home that Armstrong shared with her longtime boyfriend, Colin Strickland, he said.
"That same day, a municipal court judge issued a warrant for Armstrong's arrest for the offense of murder," Spitler said. "The United States Marshal Service and Lone Star Fugitive Task Force are leading the fugitive investigation."
Strickland, who is also a professional cyclist, was with Wilson just hours before her death, when the pair reportedly went swimming and then out to eat.
Spitler said Strickland dropped Wilson off at the home where she was staying around 8:36 p.m. local time, and Armstrong’s vehicle could be seen passing by just minutes later.
"Investigators obtained Ring camera video from the neighborhood that captured a vehicle … within two minutes of the time, Colin dropped off Wilson," the detective said. "It was later discovered that vehicle was registered to Colin's girlfriend, Kaitlin Armstrong."
Police interviewed Strickland and located Armstrong who was arrested for a misdemeanor warrant out of Travis County. Spitler would not go into details regarding the misdemeanor warrant, but said police transported Armstrong to the main police station, where they interviewed her.
"Armstrong was questioned about her vehicle being in the area as pictured on the Ring camera. However, she would not confirm or deny being in the area of the murder and quickly terminated the interview," Spitler said.
She was then mistakenly released from custody on the misdemeanor warrant" because her date of birth in the department’s report management system did not match the date of birth on the warrant, he said.
Police responded to a 911 call from an East Austin residence on the 1700 block of Maple Avenue just before 10 p.m. on May 11. The caller said her friend was "bleeding and unconscious" at the location. Police discovered Wilson suffering from "multiple gunshot wounds" upon arrival. Investigators determined that Wilson was shot inside the Maple Avenue residence.
Authorities attempted CPR, but ultimately pronounced Wilson dead at the scene.
Officials issued a warrant on May 17 for Armstrong's arrest, according to the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.
On Monday, Marshals revealed they believed Armstrong traveled from Austin International Bergstrom Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on the afternoon of May 14. She allegedly boarded Flight #WN2262 from AIBA to Houston Hobby Airport at 12:30 p.m. local time, and then took a connecting flight via Southwest Airlines Flight #WN30 to New York.
U.S. Marshals have described Armstrong as being 5-foot-8 inches tall and 125 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the U.S. Marshal Service at 1-800-336-0102.
Strickland, who was in a long-term relationship with Armstrong, released a May 20 statement apologizing for his "proximity to this horrible crime" and explaining details that suggest the crime was related to domestic matters and a possible love triangle scenario, according to local affiliate FOX 7 Austin.
"I am so sorry, and I simply can not make sense of this unfathomable tragedy," Strickland said. "Although it will be a matter of no small consolation to anyone else who cared for Mo, I want you to know that I have fully cooperated with investigators ever since I learned the terrible news, and I will continue to do so until some form of justice is served."
He added that he "had a brief romantic relationship" with Wilson while she was visiting Austin in 2021, during a break in his relationship with Armstrong.
"She returned to her home in California and about a month later, Kaitlin Armstrong and I reconciled and resumed our relationship," Strickland said. "Since then I often saw Mo at cycling events, and always in public settings," his statement further adds. "After our brief relationship in October 2021, we were not in a romantic relationship, only a platonic and professional one."
Wilson was a professional gravel bike racer and a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Engineering in 2019, according to an obituary.
"There are no words that can express the pain and suffering we are experiencing due to this senseless, tragic loss," Wilson's family wrote in a Sunday statement. "While we will not elaborate about the ongoing investigation, we do feel it’s 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."
Her family described her as "a talented, kind, and caring young woman" whose life was taken before she could "achieve everything she dreamed of."
The family has created a GoFundMe page to raise money toward community organizations to helps youths "find self-confidence, strength, and joy through biking, skiing, and other activities that Moriah was passionate about."
Fox News' Maggie Kirkman contributed to this report.