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Police in Texas issue arrest warrant for woman in connection with killing of Vermont cyclist

Anna Moriah Wilson during the cycling event Mid South in Stillwater, Okla., in mid-March. The bicyclist and Vermont native was killed in Austin, Texas, days before a race.Ansel Dickey

Anna Moriah Wilson, a top professional cyclist from Vermont, was killed in connection with a romantic dispute, police in Austin, Texas, said in an application for an arrest warrant.

The warrant charges Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, of Austin, with murder in the slaying of Wilson, 25, who was shot multiple times with a 9mm handgun on May 11, according to legal filings.

Wilson, a Dartmouth graduate, had dated Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland, 35, another professional cyclist, last fall when the Austin-based couple had briefly separated, according to the filings. The records include an account from an anonymous caller who said that when Armstrong discovered the relationship between Strickland and Wilson, she “was so angry [that] Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.”

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Wilson was in Texas for an upcoming race and was staying at a friend’s apartment in Austin. Authorities say that on the day she was killed, she went swimming with Strickland and then had dinner with him at an Austin burger restaurant.

After Strickland dropped off Wilson at her friend’s apartment, police said, security cameras recorded the approach of a black Jeep that matches a vehicle owned by Armstrong. Not long after, Wilson’s friend returned to her home and found the cyclist in a pool of blood in a bathroom.

Court records say Strickland was questioned as part of the investigation. He has not been charged with any crime.

Neither Armstrong nor Strickland could be reached for comment Friday.

The records describe a chain of events on the day of Wilson’s death. Earlier in the day, she met up with Strickland for a swim and then dinner. He told police he dropped her off at her friend’s place around 8:30 p.m. Video surveillance, authorities said, captured what appeared to be Armstrong’s black 2012 Jeep pulling up to the apartment where Wilson was staying at around 8:36 p.m.

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Strickland told police he and Armstrong both own 9mm handguns, according to an affidavit, which said Armstrong’s gun was seized and tested by investigators who said “the potential that same firearm was involved [in the killing] is significant.”

The affidavit laid out personal issues that had recently surfaced between Wilson and the couple.

According to the filing, Strickland told police he and Armstrong have been dating for about three years, but briefly ended their relationship for a couple of weeks last October. During that time, Strickland told police, he and Wilson had a relationship before he resumed dating Armstrong.

He told police that while he was seeing Wilson, Armstrong called her and told her she was dating Strickland, the affidavit said. Strickland told police he had to change Wilson’s name in his phone because Armstrong blocked her number in the device, according to the filing.

Three days after the murder, police said, an anonymous caller told them she had been with Armstrong in January when Armstrong “discovered” Strickland was seeing Wilson. It was unclear when Strickland and Wilson stopped seeing each other.

“The caller advised Armstrong became furious and was shaking in anger,” the affidavit said. “Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson. Armstrong then proceeded to tell the caller Armstrong had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to.”

Austin police said in the affidavit they had confronted Armstrong with video of her vehicle in the area of the home where Wilson was killed.

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“She had no explanation as to why,” the affidavit said.

When a detective pointed out that Strickland had a relationship with Wilson and that Armstrong had appeared to be upset over it, the affidavit said that Armstrong had replied that she wasn’t certain “as to even what you mean or what he said because I didn’t have any idea that he saw or even went out with this girl ... as of recently.”

The US Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force issued an alert Friday appealing for help in locating Armstrong. Austin police didn’t respond Friday to requests for comment on the status of the case.

A website for a business the couple cofounded describes her as Strickland’s “partner and financial guru.” Armstrong is also a real estate broker, according to an online biography, which says that in addition to cycling she teaches and practices yoga.

Wilson’s parents, Eric and Karen, and her younger brother, Matt, said in a phone interview with the Globe Friday they were aware of the arrest warrant issued for Armstrong but declined to discuss the case further. They did, however, speak at length about Wilson’s passion for cycling and for helping others.

Karen Wilson said her daughter skipped several races last summer to travel to Africa for an event geared to help local cyclists test their skills against elite athletes.

“She said that was the highlight of her summer,” Karen Wilson said. “Those are the things that mattered to her, more than her own personal goals.”

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Wilson said her daughter told her, “‘This is not all about myself, mom. This is so much more about a bigger picture.’ And I was just so proud of her for wanting to be caring and kind and considerate of using her abilities to help others.”

Matt Wilson said his sister was “super passionate about the idea of building communities, in a new way and better way than we have right now.” She had become an “impactful and powerful and passionate and dedicated person,” he said.

Strickland praised Wilson’s cycling ability in his police interview, according to the affidavit.

“Strickland referred to Wilson as the best female cyclist in the United States and possibly the world,” the filing said.

Gravel racing is a fast-growing cycling discipline in the United States contested over gravel roads, paved roads, and trails.

Strickland once turned down a contract offer from a leading team on the prestigious European road racing circuit. Andrew Willis, a bike race organizer in Austin and a friend of Strickland, on Friday described him as “chill.”

“He’s probably a little too chill,” Willis said in a phone interview. “You know, he’s one of those guys that everything’s always good.”

Wilson’s father, Eric, said Friday he was more concerned with the person his daughter had become than with the accolades she collected as a cyclist. In recent conversations with her, he said, he had told her she was “blossoming into this beautiful person. ... I just said it’s not about results, so much as being fulfilled, and that’s what she had achieved — that fulfillment that we all kind of strive for in life.”

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The Wilsons have launched an online fund-raiser on GoFundMe titled the “Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson Fund,” which will raise money to help fund youth community organizations.

Wilson was an accomplished collegiate skier who grew up mountain biking near her home in East Burke, Vt. She had won several off-road cycling events this year and arrived in Texas as a favorite in her next race.

Her death came just a few days before Gravel Locos, a 150-mile race in Hico, Texas.

A number of Wilson’s friends and competitors in the close-knit cycling community have taken to social media in recent days to offer tributes, including former cycling teammate Alison M. Tetrick.

“You were and are pure magical magnetic strength and humility,” Tetrick wrote. “I have never met someone that tackled every course and task with such pure, peaceful joy, and tenacity. ... Your life was just getting started and it was bigger than this world deserved. I am devastated and 💔. I pray for your family and all of us who loved you and were inspired by you.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Mike Damiano can be reached at mike.damiano@globe.com.