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Kaitlin Armstrong, the Texas woman accused of a murder in a love triangle before fleeing to Costa Rica, was first detained by Costa Rican authorities on a fraudulent passport charge before discovering her true identity, it was announced Thursday authorities.
Costa Rican officials initially apprehended the fugitive on immigration charges on June 29, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla, public affairs officer for the marshals’ Austin division.
The captured fugitive allegedly tracked down and killed 25-year-old gravel cycling pro Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson after the latter spent an evening with Colin Strickland, Armstrong’s 35-year-old boyfriend and also a professional cyclist. According to a police affidavit, the pair had a romantic history that angered the alleged killer.
Filla compared Armstrong to the “worst of the worst criminals wreaking havoc in our communities” and noted that the Marshals-led Fugitive Task Force arrested the 2018 Austin serial bomber and shooting suspect of Sixth Street last summer.
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Filla said a confidential source told the marshals Armstrong was flown to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey – where authorities say she was dropped off on May 18.
Federal law enforcement agents from Homeland Securities Investigations discovered that Armstrong traveled to Costa Rica using the passport of “someone closely associated with him,” Filla said, without disclosing the name. of the owner. Fox News Digital reported that Armstrong was seen at a New York campsite where her sister was living between her arrival in the Empire State and her flight out of the country.
“She took a bus from San Jose airport in Costa Rica, a few hours away,” Filla said, before police followed her route with “old-school police work.”
In Costa Rica, she used aliases such as Beth Martin, Liz and Ari Martin, Filla said. She gave police a false name during an interview at Don Jon’s Hostel in Santa Teresa Beach on the Pacific Ocean. They detained her for an immigration violation for the alleged fraudulent use of a passport. She finally “confessed her true identity”, Filla said.
She told Costa Rican officials she did not have a key to a safe where she had her belongings, Filla said, and the hostel owner was not there when she was arrested.
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“So she was taken into custody where she was taken offstage,” Filla said.
Reporters then contacted the inn’s owner, who unlocked the box and found a purported receipt for plastic surgery and two passports – one belonging to Armstrong and the other to his sister.
Filla addressed the receipt but said he could not confirm its validity and noted that it did not have his name on it. The clinic named on the document told Fox News Digital that it could not confirm that Armstrong had ever been there.
However, Filla acknowledged that police found her with a bandage over her face, which she attributed to a surfing accident. Her booking photos also appear to show a change in her facial features.
He credited three members of the task force by name: Deputy U.S. Marshal Emir Perez and officers Jonathan Reilly and Mark McCloud. They and other investigators “lost their holidays, weekends and vacations” in the 43-day manhunt.
Their persistence led to Armstrong’s ultimate capture at a beachfront inn in Santa Teresa, a surfer’s paradise on the Pacific Ocean known for its waves, expat yoga community and jungle hiking trails.
She had also changed her appearance, Filla said.
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She returned to the United States over the weekend and was transferred to Austin to face justice.
Armstrong faces charges of first-degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution related to Wilson’s death, as well as an unrelated misdemeanor theft of services for allegedly dropping a Botox bill in 2018.
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Filla also credited media coverage for helping generate 80 tips that helped investigators nab the suspect.