AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – The hunt for the suspect in the murder of a professional cyclist killed in Texas continues.
A fresh series of races, elite cyclist Anna Moria “Mo” Wilson was scheduled to take part in the 157-mile race at Lone Star on May 14. But a few days before the competition, A 25-year-old boy was killed at his friend’s house in Austin.
U.S. marshals now search for 34-year-old woman suspected of murder and police investigators understanding Wilson’s past relationship with the suspect’s boyfriend.
Wilson’s family mourns the loss of their “beautiful daughter and sister”, who were great bikers and skiers. “Moria was a talented, kind and caring young woman. Her life was taken away before she was able to achieve everything she dreamed of,” the family said.
Here’s what we still know about Wilson, why police believe she could be targeted, and her short-lived success in the developing sport of gravel racing.
The star skier became a cyclist from a family of athletes
Wilson was a star skier in her younger years, but recently became a high-level cyclist. She has been particularly successful in “gravel racing” – a relatively new category of cycling that occupies a hybrid middle ground between road cycling and mountain biking.
In a VeloNews profile published on the day she died, she was called “the biggest winner on the American off-road scene.” According to the article, Wilson has won nearly 10 races this year, including Shasta Gravel Hugger and Rock Cobbler in California. Last month, she won the 137-mile Belgian waffle ride with a 25-minute lead that finished second.
Wilson wrote about her racing experience in her Instagram and in the Substack newsletter. In March, she reflected on her second place in the race in the Middle South and briefly reflected on her ascent to the top of the field.
“This race was the first of my career (at the moment I can call it a career) when I really felt like I had a target on my back,” she wrote. “I was nervous? Damn it! But most of all I was excited.”
At the time of Wilson’s death there were only a few days left from participating in the Gravel Locos cycling race. The day after the race, the event organizer remembered her on Facebook as “a role model, a shy, compassionate person, an energetic tactical racer and a competitor who really cares about those who compete with you.”
Wilson recently returned to her home state of Vermont. When she grew up, she was an incredible athlete, skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. Her father, Eric Wilson, competed in the U.S. ski team, and her aunt, Laura, was a Scandinavian skier and competed in the Olympics, she told VeloNews.
She also competitively picked up the sport. “In skiing, Moria has risen to the level of a junior skier with a national rating, taking 3rd place at the 2013 US Junior National Downhill Championships,” – said in her obituary. While studying at Dartmouth University, she was a member of the ski team, “fulfilling a lifelong dream,” the obituary said.
Wilson was also the captain of her school football team, according to her sports profile in Dartmouth.
After graduating from college, she moved from skiing to competitive cycling.
“Growing up in the northeastern Kingdom of Vermont, she spent many hours on the trails of the Kingdom, developing her skills and strength as a biker,” the obituary said. “After graduating from Dartmouth, Moria switched gears and continued to pursue her sporting dreams as an elite cyclist.”
In addition to sports, she loved “cooking, writing and traveling,” it says, adding that “she especially loved Italy, taco-tunes, maple-crime and playing Catan with her friends.”
How the pictures unfolded
On May 11, Wilson was shot several times while at a friend’s house in Austin before the Gravel Locos race in Hick, according to an arrest warrant filed in Travis County District Court.
Austin Caitlin, 34, Marie Armstrong, is wanted for manslaughter and is now a fugitive, U.S. marshals said.
Both women have recently been in a romantic relationship with the same man – professional cyclist Colin Strickland – and reports and interviews with clues suggest that jealousy may be a potential motive, according to the oath.
On the day of the murder, Wilson told a friend she was going to swim with Strickland, according to an oath-taking oath – a detail Strickland confirmed in a police interview. Afterwards they had dinner together and then he dropped her off at her friend’s house, Strickland said. He did not go inside.
Austin police arrived at the house later that evening, shortly before 10pm on CT, and found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The shooting did not appear to be an “accidental act”, police said in a May 14 press release.
On May 17, police issued a warrant for Armstrong’s murder. The evidence of her arrest partially points to video surveillance obtained by investigators, which shows a car similar to hers, near the house shortly before Wilson’s body was found.
Investigators also compared ballistic data from the scene with bullets tested from firearms Strickland recently purchased for Armstrong, and “the potential that the same firearms were deployed is significant,” the document said.
According to testimony, Strickland told police he had not been in contact with Armstrong since May 13.
Within 24 hours of Wilson’s death, Lone Star Fugitive Task Force officers detained Armstrong over an unrelated arrest warrant and spoke to her. However, Austin police said they later learned that Armstrong’s arrest warrant was not valid and told her she could leave.
Armstrong was asked to finish the interview and left after detectives began confronting her over a security camera on which her car was located near the crime scene, the testimony said.
Wilson had a past relationship with the suspect’s boyfriend
In a statement to the Austin American-Statesman, Strickland said he had a “brief romantic relationship” with Wilson from late October to early November 2021, until he was separated from Armstrong.
Strickland and Armstrong reconciled and resumed relations in about a month, he told the publication. Then his relationship with Wilson became “platonic and professional,” and he considered her a “close friend.”
“It is impossible to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my closeness to this horrific crime,” Strickland said. “I’m sorry, and I just can’t figure out this confusing situation.”
The testimony cites a clue that Armstrong believed that Strickland and Wilson’s romantic relationship continued as of January 2022. Strickland admitted that he tried to hide his relationship with Wilson from Armstrong by changing Wilson’s name on the phone and deleting the texts, the testimony said.
Armstrong contacted Wilson several times and on one occasion told her to “stay away” from Strickland, one of Wilson’s friends told investigators, according to the oath.
Wilson was not in a romantic relationship at the time of her death, her family said in a statement.
“While we will not elaborate on the ongoing investigation, we consider it important to clarify that at the time of her death, people close to her clearly understood, directly from Moria, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone,” the family said.