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A fugitive yoga teacher who allegedly gunned down her love rival in Texas likely traveled to Costa Rica using her sister’s passport and possibly underwent plastic surgery while on the run.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 34, was arrested at $50-a-night ‘treehouse hostel’ in Santa Teresa Beach on Wednesday after having been sought after by U.S. authorities since May 11.
A witness to her arrest alleged the fugitive left behind two American passports in a locker where she had stored her things. One of the documents bore her name and the other seemingly belonged to her lookalike sister, Christine Armstrong.
The witness also claims to have found a $6,350 receipt for cosmetic surgery under ‘another name’ amongst her belongings. He alleged Armstrong had been walking around the hostel with a ‘bandage on her nose and blood in her nostrils.’
Armstrong is accused of blasting love rival Anna Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson, 25, to death in Austin, Texas, during a feud over her beau Colin Strickland.
She is currently languishing in a Costa Rican jail pending extradition to the U.S. to face murder charges. Armstrong could face the death penalty over the brutal killing.
Fugitive yoga instructor traveled to Costa Rica using her sister’s passport and possibly underwent plastic surgery while on the run
Armstrong was arrested at $50-a-night ‘treehouse hostel’ in Santa Teresa Beach on Wednesday after having been sought after by U.S. authorities since May 11. She is pictured on the right during her arrest
Armstrong fled to Costa Rica in an apparent attempt to carry out a double life under a false name and passport.
She was posing as a woman named ‘Ari’ during her stay at Don Jon’s Lodge in the small town of Santa Teresa, which is home to only 3,000 people.
Fellow guests described her as a ‘strange’ loner who would ‘keep to herself,’ despite sleeping in an eight-bunkbed dorm.
Zachary Paulsen, who claims he witnessed her arrest, said she had been asking for ways to cut back on costs before cops showed up for a routine check of the facility.
‘She was just asking about how to get around cheaper, and then the police came,’ Paulsen told Inside Edition. Armstrong was seized by Costa Rican officers after they could not find her fake name on their database.
Paulsen reportedly showed the news outlet the two passports he alleges Armstrong left at the hostel.
Photographs of the documents show one passport bearing the name Kaitlin Marie Armstrong and featuring the yoga instructor’s personal information and picture, which featured a toothy grin and her ginger hair.
The other seemingly passport belonged to a 31-year-old brunette named Christine Elizabeth Armstrong, believed to be Armstrong’s younger sister.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla confirmed to the news outlet that Armstrong had ‘cropped her hair about shoulder length’ and ‘dyed it dark brown.’ This was likely an attempt to better resemble Christine.
Paulsen also suspects that Armstrong had plastic surgery while in Costa Rica. He claims to have a found a receipt from AVA Surgical Center in San Rafael de Escazú for a procedure dated June 23.
The receipt does not indicate what services were provided, but Paulsen claims Armstrong had bandaged her nose.
He also noted the receipt was addressed to a patient bearing a different name than Armstrong. Inside Edition did not publicly name the patient.
Zachary Paulsen, who claims he witnessed her arrest, suspects that Armstrong had plastic surgery while in Costa Rica. He claims to have a found a receipt from AVA Surgical Center in San Rafael de Escazú (pictured) for a procedure dated June 23
Paulsen said the receipt bore a different name but was found in the same locker as the passports belonging to Armstrong and her sister. He also alleged Armstrong had been walking around the hostel with a ‘bandage on her nose and blood in her nostrils.’ A file photo of AVA Surgical Center shows what one of the facility’s exam/operating rooms looks like
A source revealed to DailyMail.com on Friday that Armstrong first arrived at the Don Jon’s Lodge on June 8.
Staff had repeatedly turned down her requests to work as a yoga instructor, but eventually relented and she started helping with the classes when the normal teacher was off. She was also working shifts on the front desk in reception.
The source said: ‘When the [regular] yoga girl couldn’t make it, [Armstrong] carried out the class instead of the other one. She didn’t always work.’
They continued: ‘She didn’t talk to anyone. She didn’t have to work in the morning and slept late. When she got up, she drank a lot of coffee. And she sat in some chairs, apart from the others.’
They added Armstrong was ‘strange’ and would mysteriously only leave the hostel at night before returning late while other guests were fast asleep.’
The 34-year-old would sit on chairs apart from the other guests who even thought she had left because they never saw her get home from her shifts at the resort.
The 34-year-old would sit on chairs apart from the other guests who even thought she had left because they never saw her get home from her shifts at the resort (pictured, a file photo of the treehouses on the resort’s website)
Kaitlin Armstrong was described as a ‘strange’ loner who would ‘keep to herself’ while sleeping in an eight-bunkbed dorm (pictured, her bed) at Don Jon’s Lodge in Santa Teresa before she was arrested yesterday after six weeks on the run
Don Jon’s Lodge in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica housed wanted fugitive Kaitlin Armstrong before she was caught by authorities
Armstrong had led cops on a mammoth six-week chase across multiple countries and U.S. states, including Texas, New York and New Jersey before she was arrested.
Staff were apparently bamboozled when cops swooped on the resort and demanded to see her passport, which she claimed it was in a nearby resort in Tamarindo.
She was stopped by agents assigned to the Santa Teresa de Cóbano Tourist Police division and provided officers a fictitious name.
Timeline of Kaitlin Armstrong’s movements since the murder of her boyfriend’s lover
May 11: Cyclist Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson, 25, is found dead in an apartment in Austin, Texas, shortly after going swimming with Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland.
May 13: Armstrong sells her Jeep Grand Cherokee, seen in surveillance footage outside the apartment where Wilson had been staying, and gets a check on May 15 for $12,200.
May 14: An anonymous police tipster tells investigators that Armstrong flew into a rage after discovering Strickland’s romance with Wilson.
Armstrong is questioned by cops on an old warrant but had to be released when police realized it had expired.
During the police interview Armstrong admitted it ‘doesn’t look good’ when cops pointed out she had been near the apartment at the time of the murder.
An anonymous caller tells Austin police that Armstrong had recently obtained a handgun.
Armstrong is released and goes on the run from cops by hopping on an Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Houston Hobby and then getting on a connecting Southwest flight to LaGuardia in New York.
May 17: The firearm located at Strickland’s residence was ‘test fired’ and police have determined it had ‘significant potential’ to be the gun used in the crime
May 18: Armstrong is last seen at Newark Liberty International Airport, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Camp Haven in Livingston Manor where she is said to have been spotted about a month ago.
June 30: Armstrong is arrested at a hotel in Costa Rica after a 43-day manhunt.
However, no record of her entry into the country came up when the fake name was cross referenced with the country’s immigration registry.
Armstrong then told the agents her real last name, which was checked with a data base that revealed she was wanted on an international arrest warrant.
Officers then allegedly marched her away as the accused murderer remained quiet and looked at the floor while baffled hostel workers watched on in disbelief.
Deputy Filla had previously said that Armstrong used a valid and active American passport belonging to someone with ‘very similar physical descriptions’ when she flew from Newark Airport in New Jersey to Costa Rica.
Authorities have not yet confirmed if Armstrong did indeed fly on Christine’s passport or how she obtained the document.
However, it has been noted that any family or friends who were been in contact with her while she was on the run could reportedly face charges.
Earlier this week DailyMail.com exclusively revealed footage of the alleged killer being marched into a police station in Costa Rica with a dramatically changed appearance.
Susan Pamerlea, the U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas said Thursday: ‘The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run.’
Armstrong stands accused of the May 11 shooting of Wilson, a cyclist whom she thought was having a relationship with her boyfriend, Strickland.
The yoga instructor was linked to Wilson’s death after authorities found her ‘bleeding and unconscious’ at her friend’s apartment in Austin. She had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
Police performed CPR on Wilson before pronouncing her dead at the scene. Wilson, a Vermont native and ‘world-class’ cyclist, was staying in Austin for a race.
Armstrong’s car was seen in the area around the time of the shooting, leading authorities to believe she had killed Wilson out of jealousy.
They later found out that earlier on May 11, Wilson had gone to dinner with Armstrong’s boyfriend Strickland, who told police the two of them had been swimming at Deep Eddy Pool before getting burgers at Pool Burger.
Strickland said he picked her up from the apartment of her friend Caitlin Cash on his BMW motorbike at 5.45pm and dropped her off again at 8.36pm – stopping shortly after to text Armstrong to tell her he had been dropping off flowers to another friend and that his phone had run out of battery.
But unknown to Strickland, Armstrong had allegedly been tracking both him and Wilson using cycling app Strava, which shows the routes runners and cyclists take.
A neighbor, who asked not to be named, previously told DailyMail.com her security camera caught Armstrong’s black Jeep Cherokee driving up to the property – above a garage at the back of a larger home – at 8.35pm.
She also told DailyMail.com that Armstrong had been caught on camera the previous day, riding a bike in the same spot.
Authorities say Armstrong fell into a jealous rage and shot Wilson, 25, left, dead after she went for a swim and dinner with Armstrong’s boyfriend, professional cycler Colin Strickland, right
During Wilson and Strickland’s secret meet-up, Armstrong’s 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee was spotted driving outside the home of Wilson’s friend, where the cyclist was staying at
Wilson and Strickland went for a swim at a local swimming pool and then stopped by the Pool Burger (pictured) restaurant for dinner
Armstrong was questioned by Austin police officers on May 14 after they discovered that the yoga instructor had an open misdemeanor warrant on a theft of services charge.
Cops used the opportunity to briefly question her about Wilson’s death several days earlier – after they received an anonymous tip that Armstrong flew into a rage when she discovered that Strickland had previously been romantically involved with Wilson.
During the interview, cops showed Armstrong video surveillance of her SUV apparently coming to a stop outside the apartment where Wilson was found dead on May 11. The footage was time stamped just one minute after Wilson, 25, entered the building following a swim and dinner with Strickland.
Armstrong also reportedly admitted it ‘doesn’t look good,’ and a probable cause document for her arrest says she ‘had no explanation as to why it was in the area, and did not make any denials surrounding the statements presented to her.’
On May 13, five days before she fled the country, it was discovered that Armstrong had sold her black Jeep Grand Cherokee to a car dealership in Austin for $12,2000.
A police tipster, who did not want to be identified, told investigators Armstrong flew into a rage on discovering cyclist Strickland’s romance with fellow cyclist Wilson in January 2022.
Armstrong is pictured at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on May 14 after arriving from Austin. She took a connecting flight from Houston to get to the Big Apple and was again spotted at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18
Santa Teresa: Remote village where fugitive yoga teacher was finally caught
Santa Teresa is a remote village on the Nicoya peninsula of Costa Rica, 93 miles from the capital city of San Jose. The population is around 3,099 inhabitants with another 500 throughout the the year due to tourism.
Armstrong was found in Santa Teresa Beach, a remote Costa Rican town that has become popular for tourists in recent years
Previously a quaint fishing community, the town has been transforming into a tourism hotspot, boasting beautiful beaches, yoga retreats, spas and surfing. There are currently 44 hotels, 59 tourist rental houses and 49 restaurants in the area.
The town holds both luxury resorts and affordable hostels with prices ranging from $50 to $550 a night, making it attractive to both backpackers and celebrities alike.
There is also a bustling nightlife due to the bars and restaurants that line the beaches.
The getaway was popularized in part by Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, who are frequently spotted in the area with their kids. Bündchen has said they have been visiting since 2007.
The informant told police: ‘Armstrong became furious and was shaking with anger. Armstrong told the caller Armstrong was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson.’
That tipster got in contact with cops on May 14, three days after Wilson was murdered. Armstrong was subsequently questioned by cops, and freed due to a technicality.
Strickland reportedly previously said his relationship with Wilson formed after his relationship with Armstrong got rocky.
He also claimed to have been in ‘minimal communication’ with Wilson after their romance ended last year – alleging the affidavit implied something deeper.
Strickland has denied having any intimate interactions with Wilson the day of her death, reiterating their relationship was platonic at that point.
Additionally, Strickland, who has allegedly been in ‘shell-shocked grieving mode’ since Wilson’s killing, said there was no indication ‘anything was off’ with Armstrong.
The cyclist previously told how he was mourning Wilson’s killing, but would not confirm if he had been in contact with her loved ones.
He did, however, note Armstrong and Wilson had a face-to-face interaction with each other at a cycling event in Arkansas in January.
After the event, Wilson allegedly texted Strickland: ‘This weekend was strange for me and I just want to know what’s going on.
‘If you just want to be friends (seems to be the case) then that’s cool, but I’d like to talk about it cause honestly my mind has been going in circles and I don’t know what to think.’
Friends of Strickland, 35, earlier told DailyMail.com he feared becoming Armstrong’s second victim and had ‘got out of Dodge completely’.
Close friend David said: ‘None of us can sleep. He’s staying out of sight until she’s caught. I do know where he is but I’m not mentioning where for his safety.
‘He’s not in Texas – he’s got completely out of Dodge.’ Strickland has not confirmed those allegations himself.