A fugitive yoga teacher who allegedly gunned down her love rival in Texas volunteered as a yoga instructor and on the front desk at a $50-a-night Costa Rican ‘treehouse hostel,’ DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
Kaitlin Armstrong, posing as a woman called ‘Ari’, was described as a ‘strange’ loner who would ‘keep to herself’ despite sleeping in an eight-bunkbed dorm at Don Jon’s Lodge in Santa Teresa, before she was arrested yesterday after six weeks on the run.
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.
Exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com show the basic top bunk the alleged killer was staying on as she carried out a double life under a false name and passport.
Other images showed the idyllic treehouses unsuspecting guests stay in at the ‘yogi mecca’, which boasts online about its workout and surfing resources in the holiday hotspot.
But Armstrong’s new lifestyle came to a crushing end when she was seized by local cops who could not find her fake name on their database during a routine check.
The accused murderer had been sought after by US authorities since May 11 after she allegedly blasted 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 before she is expected to be deported and could face the death penalty over the brutal killing.
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
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)
Armstrong’s new lifestyle came to a crushing end when she was seized by local cops who could not find her fake name on their database during a routine check
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
A source revealed to DailyMail.com Armstrong first arrived at the resort on June 8 when staff repeatedly turned down her requests to work as a yoga instructor.
But they eventually relented and she started helping with the classes when the normal teacher was off as well as doing 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.’
Staff were apparently bamboozled when cops swooped on the resort and demanded her her passport but she claimed it was in a nearby resort in Tamarindo.
The officers allegedly marched her away as the accused murderer remained quiet and looked at the floor while baffled hostel workers watched on in disbelief.
A source revealed to DailyMail.com Armstrong first arrived at the resort on June 8 before staff repeatedly turned down her requests to work as a yoga instructor
The hostel offers ‘shared dorm rooms’ with a community kitchen and hosts free yoga sessions in treehouses (file photo)
Jonathan Pacheco, who owns Don Jon’s Lodge where Armstrong stayed while on the run from authorities over the killing of Anna Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson, 25
Don Jon’s Lodge in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica housed wanted fugitive Kaitlin Armstrong before she was caught by authorities
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.
Don Jon’s Lodge is a four-minute walk from Santa Teresa Beach and is one of the cheapest places to stay in the exclusive area, with prices at around $50 a night.
The hostel offers shared dorm rooms with a community kitchen along with a mud path lined with outdoor showers.
It provides instructors and employees, including Martin, who ‘makes people high through breathing, he lets people release stress through breathing’, Don Jon’s Lodge Instagram says.
The lodge was founded by American expat Jonathan Pacheco, a former surfer who visited Santa Teresa in 2005 and decided he wanted to stay and open a hostel there.
Armstrong led cops on a mammoth six-week chase across multiple countries and US states, including Texas, New York and New Jersey before she was snared by Costa Rican cops yesterday.
She was stopped by agents assigned to the Santa Teresa de Cóbano Tourist Police division and provided the cops a different name.
But no record of her entry into the country came up when the name she gave was cross referenced with the country’s immigration registry.
She 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.
As Armstrong was fleeing from authorities, any family or friends of hers that had been in contact with her during that time may face charges.
She stands accused of the May 11 shooting of Wilson, a cyclist who Armstrong thought was having a relationship with her boyfriend Strickland.
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.
She had dyed her hair from ginger to brown, cut it into a bob as well as reportedly had plastic surgery before she was nicked.
The US Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerlea said yesterday: ‘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 was wanted in connection to the death of Wilson after authorities found the victim ‘bleeding and unconscious’ after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds on May 11 at her friend’s apartment in Austin.
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 that night, 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 Mo 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.
This is the latest US Marshals wanted poster for Kaitlin Armstrong
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
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.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen are often spotted in the area, and have been going to Costa Rica together since 2007
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.
She also told DailyMail.com that Armstrong had been caught on camera the previous day, riding a bike in the same spot.
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.
The cops then 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.
During the interview, Armstrong 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, earlier told investigators that Armstrong flew into a rage on discovering cyclist Strickland’s romance with fellow cyclist Wilson in January 2022.
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.
After realizing Armstrong had fled, the US Marshals Service ‘elevated the investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run.’
Strickland reportedly previously said his relationship with Wilson formed after his relationship with Armstrong got rocky.
The professional cyclist also is said to have argued he was in ‘minimal communication’ with Wilson after their romance ended last year – alleging the affidavit implied something deeper.
Additionally, Strickland denied having any intimate interactions with Wilson the day of her death, reiterating the nature of their relationship was platonic at that point.
Strickland, who has allegedly been in ‘shell-shocked grieving mode’ since Wilson’s killing, also apparently said there was no indication ‘anything was off’ with Armstrong.
Armstrong’s car was spotted again that night after Strickland dropped off Wilson
Armstrong is believed to have tracked Wilson through her Strava account. Although now deleted, the fitness tracking app was recording Wilson up to the day of her murder
A neighbor said she saw Armstrong’s Jeep Grand Cherokee pull up to the residence (pictured) the night that Wilson was killed
A man who was staying at the Camp Haven (pictured) compound in Livingston Manor, New York, said Armstrong’s sister Christine had been staying there and he had seen Armstrong there earlier
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, 42, of Lockhart, Texas, 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. Armstrong was languishing in a Costa Rican jail cell pending extradition to the US to face murder charges.