How the Yoga Teacher Turned Killer Tried to Outrun the Police with Plastic Surgery? What Did Kaitlin Armstrong Do

Kaitlin Armstrong became infamous when she was trying to remain anonymous

Published Time: 28.06.2024 - 16:31:18 Modified Time: 28.06.2024 - 16:31:18

Kaitlin Armstrong became infamous when she was trying to remain anonymous.

The yoga instructor underwent a major makeunder after she murdered bicyclist Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson in 2022. The late athlete briefly dated Armstrong's on-and-off-again boyfriend, fellow pro cyclist Colin Strickland, setting Armstrong into a jealous rage that led to Moriah's shooting death.

Armstrong went on the run and under the knife in an attempt to evade investigators, even trying to escape from corrections officers on foot before her trial. The wild case was even fictionalized in a 2024 Lifetime movie, Yoga Teacher Killer: The Kaitlin Armstrong Story.

Still, those who knew Armstrong before Wilson's murder claim that by most accounts she and Strickland had a relatively "normal" life and relationship. One exception? Her jealousy of Strickland's friendship with Wilson.

Here's everything to know about Kaitlin Armstrong, the yoga instructor convicted of murdering professional cyclist Moriah Wilson.

Born in the Midwest on Nov. 21, 1987, Armstrong has a background in finance and was an avid traveler, becoming a certified yoga instructor in Indonesia, Strickland's friend Chris Tolley told 48 Hours. After she and Strickland met in 2019, she became interested in cycling as well and participated in amateur-level races.

"They had a pretty, like, normal relationship. They both ride bikes together. They would, you know, do fun stuff," Tolley said.

Strickland and Armstrong moved in with each other during the COVID-19 pandemic and bought a house together. Tolley said their relationship was serious and that they also went into a trailer restoration business together, with Armstrong focusing on the business side and Strickland handling the labor and operations.

Armstrong was in a relationship with Strickland for about three years, but they split briefly in fall 2021, and Strickland later testified that they were often on-again-off-again and he wasn't sure if they were compatible in the long term.

The cyclist was romantically involved with Wilson during their brief break, though allegedly for only about a week, Tolley told 48 Hours. Wilson and Strickland remained friendly after he and Armstrong got back together.

"He just wanted to be friends with, like, someone who was going to do great things in cycling," Tolley said.

According to Dateline, Strickland told investigators he kept Wilson in his phone under a different contact name after he and Armstrong reconciled, explaining that it was his "right to have a friendship with this person without having, like, constant strife."

Homicide detective Richard Spitler told Dateline, "He did that because he knew his girlfriend Kaitlin had gone through his phone in the past. He didn't wanna start any issues, any drama." An anonymous tipster also said Armstrong called Wilson so frequently, telling her to stay away from Strickland, that Wilson blocked her number.

Armstrong was allegedly jealous of Strickland's friendship with Wilson for a long time, with a friend of the former couple testifying in court, "I asked Kaitlin if Colin ever started dating anyone else seriously, what would she do? And she said, 'I would kill her.' "

Strickland purchased two firearms, one for himself and one for Armstrong, in January 2022, around the time that she learned of his and Wilson's prior romantic relationship, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

On May 11, 2022, Wilson arrived at her friend's house in Austin, Texas where she planned to stay during an upcoming bike race. That afternoon, Wilson and Strickland texted and he left to pick her up. About five minutes after Strickland and Wilson texted about meeting, Armstrong looked Wilson up on the Strava fitness app, which has a GPS feature.

After Strickland picked Wilson up, they went to the Deep Eddy pool for a swim, followed by drinks and food at the Pool Burger café. Strickland told police that he'd told Armstrong he was out running errands alone and that his phone died when he was really out with Wilson, per 48 Hours.

An electronic lock recorded Wilson arriving home around 8:36 p.m. that night, and one minute later, Armstrong's black Jeep was visible on cameras from Wilson's neighborhood. At 9:45 p.m. that evening, Wilson's friend arrived home to Wilson dead and lying in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor. She had been shot three times.

After tracing the Jeep to Armstrong and Strickland's ownership, police obtained a warrant to search their property. On May 12, 2022, police found a gun under Armstrong's name that matched shell casings from the crime scene.

On May 12, 2022, police arrested Armstrong at her and Strickland's home on an outstanding misdemeanor theft warrant, stemming from when she allegedly left an Austin spa without paying for Botox treatments.

Police questioned Armstrong and then released her after it was revealed that the birthdate on her warrant was incorrect, according to 48 Hours. Investigators said that during questioning, Armstrong seemed "almost completely disinterested in hearing what the detectives had to say."

The day after police interrogated Armstrong, she sold her Jeep at a CarMax dealership for $12,000.

On May 14, 2022, Armstrong flew from Austin to Houston to New York, where her sister Christie Armstrong lives, then to San Jose, Costa Rica, using her sister's passport — which Christie told investigators she never gave to Kaitlin, per 48 Hours. < -


Once in Costa Rica, Armstrong cut and dyed her hair from long red curls to short, dark brown straighter locks. Using the alias Allison Page, Armstrong underwent a reported $6,000 worth of plastic surgery from Dr. Jorge Badilla, who told Dateline that she became agitated when he asked to take a photo of her before she went under the knife.

Armstrong got lip fillers, rhinoplasty and a brow lift, eventually allowing Badilla to take a photo of her but only with her own cell phone.

In June 2022, after searching for her throughout hostels in Costa Rica, U.S. Marshals got a tip that Armstrong may have been hiding out in a village called Santa Teresa. Having trouble finding her in a sea of tourists visiting the area, they set up a fake job posting for a yoga instructor in hopes of luring her in — and it worked.

Armstrong, going by "Ari," reached out and asked to meet at Don Jon's, the hostel where she was staying, to discuss the yoga instructor job. Deputy Emir Perez said that because Armstrong changed her appearance so much, they weren't certain it was her when they first met.

"She looked like Kaitlin, but not 100 percent," he said on 48 Hours. "So I thought, 'Well, how can I approach her or get close enough where I start asking questions where she doesn't suspect something?' "

The deputy continued, "So I decided that I was gonna speak to her in Spanish ... I got a little closer 'cause I saw that she was trying to get to Google Translate on her phone and she'd raised it up to me and I got even closer."

Perez said that despite her swollen lips and a bandage on her nose, he recognized Armstrong from her eyes: "The eyes are the exact same ones that I saw in the picture. And this is her 100 percent."

On June 29, 2022, Armstrong was arrested and transported to jail in Costa Rica, from which she was then extradited to the United States. She was charged with first-degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Armstrong's bail was reportedly set at $3.5 million.

On the morning of Oct. 11, 2023, Travis County corrections officers escorted Armstrong to a medical appointment outside of the jail where she was being held before her murder trial.

At 8:17 a.m., when leaving the medical office, Armstrong fled from the officers on foot with her hands still in cuffs, KXAN reported, and attempted to jump over a fence to get away from them. A representative for the local sheriff's office said that officers never lost sight of Armstrong during their pursuit of her on foot, which lasted about 10 minutes before she was apprehended.

An affidavit obtained by the Austin American-Statesman claimed that Armstrong planned the escape attempt for months from her jail cell in Texas, training physically and faking a leg injury so she wouldn't have to wear leg restraints when corrections officers escorted her to the medical office.

During the chase, she allegedly removed her striped prison-issue pants to reveal thermal pants underneath and even got one of her hands out of her cuffs.

Armstrong pleaded not guilty to all charges against her, and her case went to trial on Nov. 1, 2023.

Prosecutors claimed Armstrong tracked Wilson's social media activity as well as using the GPS on Wilson's Strava app. They also alleged that Armstrong had access to Strickland's and Instagram accounts and that she knew he was still in touch with Wilson, tracking their messages on a shared iPad.

Armstrong's attorneys claimed that there was no hard proof, only circumstantial evidence, linking her to the crime, even as her own friends testified that she threatened to kill Wilson before the murder.

However, investigators found Armstrong's DNA on Wilson's bike that was at the scene of the slaying, 48 Hours reported, as well as receipts for the plastic surgery she underwent in Costa Rica.

On Nov. 16, 2023, Armstrong was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Wilson after less than two hours of jury deliberation. The day after her conviction, she was sentenced to 90 years in prison, which Armstrong is currently serving at a women's prison in Central Texas.

According to a December 2023 filing from Armstrong's legal team obtained by the Daily Mail, the convicted murderer was allegedly pregnant at the time of her arrest.

The filing, which requests a new trial, read in part, "Kaitlin has also been pregnant twice, one occasion of which was during or near the time of her arrest. Considering the sentence here was for 90 years and a maximum fine, there should be no question that this mitigating evidence would have resulted in a more lenient punishment."

Armstrong's pregnancy was never mentioned during the trial. The filing doesn't indicate how far along Armstrong was in her alleged pregnancy, nor whether Strickland was the father of the fetus.

The filing also alleged that Armstrong is a survivor of either actual or attempted sexual abuse, that her mother was an alcoholic and that her father abandoned her as a child.

In May 2024, Wilson's parents launched a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Armstrong to account for the funeral, burial and emotional costs of their daughter's murder.

The lawsuit also included mention that Armstrong could not profit in any way from Wilson's death, including potential book or movie deals.

On June 17, 2024, a judge ruled in Wilson's parents' favor and ordered Armstrong to pay them $15 million, per KXAN.

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