What we know about Moriah Wilson, the 25-year-old elite cyclist killed before a big race
By Eric Levenson, Hannah Sarisohn and Dakin Andone, CNN
Fresh off a spring winning streak, elite cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was scheduled to compete in a 157-mile race in Texas on May 14. But days before the pageant, the 25-year-old was shot and killed at a friend’s home in Austin.
US Marshals are now on the hunt for a 34-year-old woman suspected of his murder, and police investigators are investigating Wilson’s past relationship with the suspect’s boyfriend.
Wilson’s family mourns the loss of their “beautiful daughter and sister”, who excelled as a biker and skier. “Moriah was a talented, kind and caring young woman. Her life was taken away from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of,” the family said.
Here’s what we know so far about Wilson, why police believe she may have been targeted and her short-lived success in the burgeoning sport of gravel racing.
How did the filming go
On May 11, Wilson was shot multiple times while staying with a friend in Austin ahead of the Gravel Locos race in Hico, according to an affidavit of arrest filed with Travis County District Court.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, a 34-year-old Austin resident, is wanted for homicide in the murder and is now a fugitive, US Marshals said.
The two women had recently been romantically involved with the same man – professional cyclist Colin Strickland – and messages and interviews with tipsters suggest jealousy could be a potential motive, according to the affidavit.
On the day of the murder, Wilson told her friend she was going for an afternoon swim with Strickland, according to the affidavit – a detail Strickland confirmed in a police interview. They then had dinner together and he then dropped her off at her friend’s house, Strickland said. He didn’t go inside.
Austin police responded to the home later that evening, shortly before 10 p.m. CT, and found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police issued a homicide warrant on May 17 for Armstrong. The affidavit of his arrest points in part to video surveillance obtained by investigators that shows a vehicle similar to his near the house shortly before Wilson’s body was discovered.
Additionally, investigators compared the ballistics of the scene with that of bullets tested from a firearm Strickland had recently purchased for Armstrong, and the “potential for the same firearm to be involved is significant,” says the document.
According to the affidavit, Strickland told police he had not had contact with Armstrong since May 13.
Within 24 hours of Wilson’s death, agents from the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force apprehended Armstrong on an unrelated arrest warrant and spoke to him. However, Austin police say they then learned Armstrong’s arrest warrant was not valid and told her she was free to go.
Armstrong asked to end the interview and left after detectives began confronting her about security camera video that placed her car near the crime scene, the affidavit says.
Wilson had a past relationship with the suspect’s boyfriend
In a statement to the American Statesman of Austin, Strickland said he had a “brief romantic relationship” with Wilson from late October to early November 2021, when he was estranged from Armstrong.
Strickland and Armstrong reconciled and resumed their relationship about a month later, he told the newspaper. His relationship with Wilson then became “platonic and professional” and he considered her a “close friend”, he said.
“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel over my closeness to this horrific crime,” Strickland said, according to the newspaper. “I’m sorry, and I just can’t make sense of this unfathomable situation.”
The affidavit cites a tipster who alleged that Armstrong came to believe that Strickland and Wilson’s romantic relationship was ongoing in January 2022. Strickland admitted to trying to hide his communications with Wilson from Armstrong by changing the name of Wilson in his phone and deleting texts, according to the affidavit.
Armstrong had contacted Wilson on several occasions and, in one instance, told him to “stay away” from Strickland, one of Wilson’s friends told investigators, according to the affidavit.
Wilson was not in a romantic relationship at the time of his death, his family said in a statement.
“While we will not detail the ongoing investigation, we feel it is important to state that at the time of her death, her loved ones clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship. with anyone,” the family said.
A star skier turned cyclist from a family of athletes
Wilson was a star skier in her younger years but has recently become a top cyclist. She particularly excelled in “gravel racing”, a relatively new category of cycling that sits halfway between road cycling and mountain biking.
Strickland considered Wilson one of the best cyclists in the world, he told police.
A profile in VeloNews published the day of her death called her “the most successful woman in the American off-road scene”. Wilson had won nearly 10 races this year, including the Shasta Gravel Hugger and the Rock Cobbler in California, according to the article. Last month she won the 137-mile Belgian Waffle Ride 25 minutes ahead of second place.
Wilson wrote about his racing experiences on his Instagram and in a Substack newsletter. In March, she thought back to her second place finish at The Mid South race and briefly reflected on her rise to the top of the peloton.
“That race was the first time in my career (I can call it a career at this point) that I really felt like I had a target on my back,” she wrote. “Was I nervous? Heck yeah! But more than anything, I was excited.”
At the time of his death, Wilson was only days away from competing in the Gravel Locos bike race. The day after the race, an event organizer remembered her on Facebook as “a role model, a shy and compassionate person, a spirited tactical runner and a caring competitor. really of those who confronted you”.
Wilson had recently returned to her home state of Vermont. Growing up, she was an accomplished athlete, skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. Her father Eric Wilson skied for the US national ski team and her aunt Laura was a Nordic skier and competed in the Olympics, she told VeloNews.
She too chose competitive sport. “In alpine skiing, Moriah reached the level of a nationally ranked junior skier, placing 3rd in the downhill event of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Championship,” her obituary states. While studying at Dartmouth University, she was a member of the alpine ski team, “fulfilling a lifelong dream”, the obituary states.
After college, she moved away from skiing and into competitive cycling.
“Growing up in northeast Vermont, she spent many hours on the Kingdom Trails developing her skills and strength as a biker,” the obituary reads. “After graduating from Dartmouth, Moriah shifted gears and continued to pursue her sporting dreams as an elite bike racer.”
Outside of sports, she enjoyed “cooking, writing and traveling”, he says, adding, “she particularly enjoyed Italy, taco Tuesdays, maple creams and playing Catan with her friends”.
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CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Carol Alvarado
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