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Officials Release New Info On Murder Suspect Kaitlin Armstrong's Capture In Costa Rica

U.S. Deputy Marshal Brandon Filla said Kaitlin Armstrong, who was wanted for the May murder of pro-cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, appeared "exhausted" when found. 

By Jax Miller
Police handouts of Kaitlin Armstrong pre arrest and after arrest

Officials are releasing new details about how they captured Texas murder suspect Kaitlin Armstrong in Costa Rica.

Kaitlin Armstrong, 34, was charged Tuesday for the murder of pro-cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson following her deportation to Texas. During a press conference on Thursday, U.S. Deputy Marshal Brandon Filla released new information about how federal and international authorities captured Armstrong, ending a 43-day manhunt.

Authorities stressed that she had been deported rather than extradited, noting that deportation is more of an “administrative function” while extradition is “an agreement between two countries.”

According to Filla, Armstrong was detained by Costa Rican authorities on June 29 for an immigration violation, resulting in her July 2 deportation, as reported by NBC Houston affiliate KPRC. American officials contacted Costa Rican authorities to notify them that Armstrong had used a fraudulent passport when she flew from Newark, New Jersey to San Jose, Costa Rica on May 18.

“Armstrong boarded the flight and fled the international territory by presenting a passport that did not belong to her but belonged to someone that was closely associated with her,” said Filla.

A witness previously provided Inside Edition with photos of documents reportedly left in Armstrong’s hostel locker, including a passport in the name of Armstrong’s sister, Christine.

When asked by reporters at the press conference, Filla said they were looking into whether or not criminal charges would be filed against the owner of the passport but stopped short of naming the person.

Filla said Armstrong used several phony names — including “Beth Martin” and “Liz Martin" — during her time in Costa Rica, which included stops in San Jose, Jaco Beach and Santa Teresa Beach, where she was finally captured on June 29. 

“Armstrong used these names at yoga studios and other lodging since her arrival in Costa Rica,” said Filla.

He added that the former yoga instructor visited “a handful” of yoga studios while on the lam.

Following Armstrong’s arrest at the Don Jon’s Lodge hostel, she was escorted by authorities on a six-hour drive back to San Jose, where she “eventually confessed to her true identity.”

Speculation continues about whether or not Armstrong underwent plastic surgery while on the run, based on her dramatically-changed appearance (as seen in her booking photo) and receipts for cosmetic surgery also allegedly found in her locker.

A witness said they saw Armstrong with a bandage on her nose, which was confirmed by Filla, who stated she had the dressing was still there when officials apprehended her.

“She claimed it was from a surfboard incident just days before,” said Filla, who also said she had “a little bit of discoloration under her eyes."

Filla said they could not confirm the receipt for cosmetic surgery belonged to her because it had not been addressed to her.

When asked about Armstrong’s demeanor when she was finally apprehended, Filla claimed she seemed “exhausted.”

Armstrong stands accused of shooting Wilson to death at an Austin residence on May 11 during what investigators say was a fit of jealous rage upon learning that her boyfriend, pro-cyclist Colin Strickland, had met up with Wilson that night. Strickland and Wilson had a brief romantic fling months earlier when Strickland and Armstrong had been separated, and Armstrong had allegedly learned and was upset about it.

Armstrong remains at the Travis County Jail on charges of murder, for which she is held on a $3.5 million bond. She is also being held on a federal detainer, related to her charge for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, which will be prosecuted in a separate court.

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