Allegedly wanted to kill pro cyclist arrested by Fed in Costa Rica living in Texas

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Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, who had been a wanted fugitive for 43 days, was apprehended in Costa Rica this week and is now in federal jail. According to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service, federal authorities detained Armstrong, 34, on Wednesday at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas.

Along with Costa Rican law enforcement, the operation to capture Armstrong included personnel from the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Marshals Office of International Operations.

Armstrong will be deported and sent back to the United States, according to the statement, but it doesn’t specify when or how long that procedure would take. World-class gravel rider Anna Moriah Wilson is alleged to have been shot and killed by Armstrong last month in Austin. Authorities also discovered Wilson had dated Armstrong’s ex-boyfriend in the past.

Wilson, a former professional skier from Vermont, was regarded as one of the best gravel and mountain bikers in the country. She had flown from San Francisco to Austin to take part in the 150-mile Gravel Locos race, which she was expected to win. In the ex-apartment, boyfriend’s Wilson was discovered “bleeding and unresponsive from several gunshot wounds” on May 11.

She was given CPR, but was declared dead at the scene not long after.

Early on in the investigation, Armstrong was deemed a person of interest. In fact, she was interviewed by authorities on May 12 after they claimed found surveillance footage that purportedly showed her car in the vicinity around the time of the murder. Professional cyclist Colin Strickland, Armstrong’s boyfriend, told police he hasn’t spoken to her since May 13. According to investigators, Armstrong allegedly used a false passport to board a flight at Newark International Airport bound for San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 18, one day after police issued a warrant for her arrest.

Want to stay up to date on crime news? For information on interesting unsolved cases, ongoing trial coverage, and breaking crime news, subscribe to PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter. On May 14, they think she took a plane from Austin to Houston, where she changed to a trip to New York City.

Armstrong is accused of fleeing the country unlawfully in order to escape being prosecuted in addition to the single count of homicide. There was no information about her lawyer in Costa Rica. Serial killer sentenced to life in Texas for three murders after killing people in Oklahoma

( Serial killer on Oklahoma death row pleads guilty to three cold case murders in Texas )

Last year, William Lewis Reece was found guilty of killing Tiffany Johnston in Oklahoma in 1997. Reece later confessed to killing Laura Smither, Jessica Cain, and Kelli Ann Cox in Texas that same year in an effort to evade the death penalty.

Three life sentences for the other murders of a man who is about to be executed in Oklahoma.

According to NBC Houston station KPRC, William Lewis Reece, 62, entered a plea of guilty on Wednesday in a Galveston County courtroom to the 1997 killings of Laura Smither, 12, and Jessica Cain. After being taken to a courthouse in Brazoria County, Reece, who has long been suspected of being a serial killer, entered a plea of guilty to killing 20-year-old Kelli Ann Cox.

According to ABC Houston affiliate KTRK-TV, Reece received three life sentences, one for each murder.

The mother of Laura Smither, Gay Smither, stated, “Twenty-five years is an incredibly long time to be waiting for justice, and there were a number of years in there that we genuinely didn’t believe we’d ever see this day.

Reece admitted to the slaying of Tiffany Johnston, 19, in Oklahoma in 1997 after DNA evidence linked him to the crime, and he was previously given a death sentence in August 2021 for the crime.

The four murders happened over the course of four months in 1997, not long after Reece was sprung out of an Oklahoma jail for prior convictions for kidnapping and rape.

According to The Houston Chronicle, it all started with the disappearance of Laura Smither of Friendswood, Texas, who was reported missing after failing to come home from a jog on April 3, 1997. Days later, her body was discovered in a retention pond 12 miles distant.

Reece abducted Sandra Sapaugh, 19, from a convenience store in Webster, Texas, in May while holding her at knifepoint. According to the Chronicle, Sapaugh narrowly avoided being killed when Reece put her into a truck and sped down I-45 while she jumped out the window. Even though police looked into the kidnapping, it took them several months to locate and apprehend Reece. On July 15, 1997, Kelli Ann Cox vanished from Denton, Texas, after visiting the neighbourhood jail as part of a college field trip. Finding her body would take close to 20 years.

On July 26, 1997, Tiffany Johnston disappeared after leaving a car wash in Bethany, Oklahoma. Johnston, the daughter of Reece’s mother’s best friend, is allegedly the target of Reece’s stalking. One day after she vanished, Johnston’s partially-naked body was found; according to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU, Reece is suspected of raping Johnston in a horse trailer before strangling her to death.

Jessica Cain, Reece’s final identified victim, was reported missing on August 17, 1997, and her truck was later discovered abandoned on the I-45 shoulder. She would go lost for years, just like Cox. Reece was detained and charged with Sapaugh’s kidnapping weeks after Cain vanished. Reece was a suspect in Cain’s disappearance, but he was only found guilty of Sapaugh’s kidnapping and given a 60-year prison sentence in 1998.

Reece was linked to Tiffany Johnston’s murder in 2015 thanks to DNA evidence.

Reece confessed to the Texas killings, but only after a Texas Ranger allegedly assured Reece that doing so would spare him the death penalty, said Assistant Public Defender Jason Benedict. Reece led investigators to the bodies of Cox and Cain in horse pastures in separate counties in 2016, hoping to avoid death.

Due of their recent withdrawal from the public eye, the parents of Cain were not present in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday for Reece’s conviction and sentencing. According to the Houston Chronicle, Smither’s mother did get there and gave a speech in which she expressed gratitude to Reece for his confessions and asked for forgiveness for killing her daughter, Laura. Smither stated, “We all sin. Everybody makes errors. Then, though, we must put things right. Bill, please keep telling the truth. Jack Roady, the district attorney for Galveston County, brought charges against Reece for the deaths of Smither and Cain.

For everyone impacted by the slayings of Laura Smither and Jessica Cain, it marks the end of 25 years of ambiguity, according to Roady. “True, no amount of punishment could mend the wounds sustained by their loved ones’ families and communities. However, these convictions will make it more likely that their killer will pass away in a prison cell, where he belongs.

Jan Bynum, Cox’s mother, was also present in the Brazoria County courthouse where Reece received his punishment. Bynum expressed his relief that the conviction of the man who kidnapped his daughter will finally appear on the official record. Alexis Bynum, Cox’s daughter, was just 19 months old when her mother vanished. She continued to speak after Reece was sentenced. Finally, she added, we can close this chapter and stop worrying about him hurting other people.

Reece has been detained at the Friendswood Jail in Texas ever since his extradition from Oklahoma in March. According to KTRK-TV, he will soon be transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. According to a spokesperson, Reece won’t be able to appeal his Texas convictions, and Texas and Oklahoma officials are still debating whether to send Reece back to Oklahoma to receive the death penalty or to keep him in Texas to serve the remainder of his kidnapping sentence and/or his life sentence.

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