Kaitlin Armstrong case: Moriah Wilson's parents file wrongful death lawsuit

The parents of murdered cyclist Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kaitlin Armstrong, the woman convicted of killing her.

Karen and Eric Wilson filed the suit on May 6 in the 200th District Court in Travis County. According to court records, Armstrong has not been served yet as of May 7.

The Wilsons are seeking over $1 million in monetary relief including "damages of any kind, penalties, costs, expenses, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest in accordance with TRCP 47 (c)(5)."

Armstrong was convicted in November of murdering Wilson in an East Austin home in May 2022. She was sentenced to 90 years in prison for the murder and will be eligible for parole after serving at least 30 years.

Armstrong’s court-appointed appellate attorney issued a notice to appeal her conviction on Nov. 27, which must be done within 30 days of her conviction.

Who was Moriah "Mo" Wilson?

25-year-old Moriah Wilson was a rising cycling star who had emerged as a dominant gravel and mountain bike racer, says cycling magazine Velo

After placing second in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in 2021, Wilson won a slew of races in 2022. Two weeks prior to her death, she had won the Belgian Waffle Ride in California.

She had a summer of racing planned, including a trip to East Africa for the Migration Gravel Race and Evolution Gravel. Wilson was in Texas ahead of the Gravel Locos race in Hico, where she was a favorite to win.

The Wilson family has established a foundation in her honor to promote healthy living and community by supporting organizations dedicated to recreation, sports, and educational programs.

What happened in May 2022?

Wilson was shot and killed at a home on Maple Avenue near East 17th Street the night of May 11, 2022.

The Austin Police Department said, at the time, a woman called 911 and reported she had returned home to find Wilson bleeding and unconscious. 

The woman was later identified as Caitlin Cash, whom Wilson had been staying with while preparing for her race in Hico. The recording of her 911 call was played during Armstrong's trial. Cash also said she noticed the front door was unlocked and that Wilson’s bicycle was missing.

Investigators arrived and found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds. Despite life-saving measures from both officers and EMS, Wilson died from her injuries and was pronounced dead minutes later.

According to an affidavit filed in May 2022, Wilson had told Cash she was going for an evening swim with fellow cyclist Colin Strickland. The two had gone swimming at Deep Eddy Pool and had dinner before Strickland dropped her off at home.

Surveillance footage from a neighbor later showed an SUV pulling up to the Maple Avenue apartment where Wilson was staying. The SUV resembled one registered to a woman who lived with Strickland, later identified as his girlfriend Kaitlin Armstrong.

Strickland told police at the time Armstrong had returned home in the SUV around 9:20 p.m. that night, and that they had been dating for about three years before briefly ending their relationship for one to two weeks in October 2021. 

During that break, Strickland met Wilson and had a romantic relationship with her. Text messages between Wilson and Strickland also showed that Wilson appeared to be under the impression that she was dating Strickland even though he was dating Armstrong. 

Strickland admitted to investigators in May 2022 that he had concealed his relationship with Wilson by changing her name on his phone and deleting text messages between them to prevent Armstrong from finding them.

Strickland also told investigators he had purchased two firearms between Dec. 2021 and Jan. 2022, one for himself and one for Armstrong.

The investigation

Days after Wilson was killed, Austin police identified the suspect in her murder as Armstrong. 

She was brought in for questioning on an outstanding unrelated warrant from 2018, but during questioning, detectives discovered it was invalid due to mismatching birthdates and informed her she was free to leave.

Armstrong stayed and spoke with investigators, and was very still and did not move at all, according to court paperwork. She also did not have any explanation for why her SUV was in the area or made any effort to deny what was being said regarding Strickland's interview with police.

Armstrong requested to leave and was let go.

Later, a friend of Wilson's spoke with detectives saying that Wilson and Strickland had been "on again, off again" since fall 2021. She also told investigators that Armstrong had found Wilson's number, contacting her several times before Wilson blocked her number. 

Armstrong had also begun following Wilson on Instagram and had even called Wilson to tell her she was with Strickland and that she needed to stay away from him.

An anonymous caller also told investigators she had been with Armstrong in Jan. 2022 when she discovered Strickland was romantically involved with Wilson while still dating her. Armstrong "became furious and was shaking in anger," said the court paperwork. Armstrong told the caller she was so angry she wanted to kill Wilson and said she had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to.

Investigators also spoke with Cash's landlord who told them he had gone to his garage that night and heard what he described as someone running down the stairs from Cash's front door and believed he saw a bicycle traveling away.

Armstrong's 9 mm pistol was also recovered from her and Strickland's home and test fired. The shell casings were compared to and matched those found at the crime scene, according to law enforcement.

How was Kaitlin Armstrong found?

Law enforcement was unable to find Armstrong since her brief detainment and release. Strickland also told investigators he had not seen or spoken to Armstrong since May 13, 2022.

The US Marshals initiated a manhunt for Armstrong, following leads she had flown from Austin to Houston, then to New York City.

The search for Armstrong took investigators to a remote campground in upstate New York, where her sister Christie had been staying. A camper told FOX News Digital he had seen Kaitlin there before and that US Marshals and other law enforcement had interviewed Christie.

Investigators later determined that Armstrong was fraudulently using someone else's passport and boarded a flight on May 18, 2022, from Newark International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica. No flight reservations were found under her name.

The U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force also located Armstrong’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee and learned that Armstrong sold the vehicle May 13 to a CarMax dealership in south Austin for $12,200. Armstrong was provided a check from the dealership a day after being questioned by Austin authorities. 

Armstrong's black Jeep Grand Cherokee is believed to be the same one that was seen on a security camera driving by the East Austin home Wilson was staying in the night she was murdered.

The capture

Armstrong managed to avoid law enforcement for over a month before she was finally captured on June 29, 2022, at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica and was detained for an immigration violation.

Officials said, at the time, Armstrong had cut her hair shoulder-length and dyed it dark brown. She had been wearing a bandage on her nose that she claimed was from a surfboarding accident.

Armstrong reportedly had her sister's passport as well as her own in her possession when she was captured and an alleged receipt for cosmetic surgery claiming she paid $6,350 in cash.

Officials later said Armstrong had moved around towns once she arrived in Costa Rica and used one of three aliases.

According to law enforcement, Armstrong maintained she was "Ari Martin" on the six-hour drive back to San Jose, where she eventually confessed she was Kaitlin Armstrong.

Armstrong was extradited to Austin where she was booked into the Travis County Jail on a $3.5 million bond for first-degree felony murder and $3,500 for theft of service stemming from the 2018 warrant. 

She was also initially charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, a federal charge, but that charge was dismissed.

Armstrong's escape attempt

Armstrong also attempted to escape police custody last October, according to officials.

A TCSO spokesperson says Armstrong was attending a doctor's appointment with two deputies at around 8:17 a.m. on Oct. 11 when she ran off after leaving the doctor's office. The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes for a distance of about one block.

Armstrong was captured by deputies, restrained, and placed in an APD vehicle.

The spokesperson says Armstrong was taken to a hospital to be checked out before heading back to jail.

On Oct. 12, an arrest affidavit was filed for escape causing bodily injury, a second-degree felony, but the charge was dropped.