AUSTIN (KXAN) – Kaitlin Armstrong, the woman accused of killing professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson, attempted to escape the custody of Travis County corrections officers on Wednesday morning.
Armstrong ran from officers while leaving a medical office building around 8:17 a.m. Wednesday, according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson. After about 10 minutes, officers caught up to her and restrained her.
Officers did not lose sight of Armstrong during the pursuit through a neighborhood in south Austin, said sheriff’s spokesperson, Kristen Dark.
Cell phone video from KXAN viewer Theresa Rangel shows what looks like Armstrong – with her hands restrained – running on a hill next to the medical office’s parking lot with an officer chasing her. You can also see the woman in the video try to jump over the fence.
After Wednesday morning’s event, Armstrong could face additional charges. Those charges haven’t been added yet, Dark said.
Armstrong’s murder trial was set to begin Oct. 30 in Austin, where she faces a first-degree murder charge in Wilson’s death.
Wilson was shot and killed at a home in east Austin in May 2022.
Police questioned Armstrong at the time but did not arrest her. When a warrant was issued for her arrest days later, it was discovered she had fled the country.
After more than a month on the run, in June 2022, Armstrong was re-apprehended at a Costa Rica hotel and brought back to Texas. She now faces additional, federal charges from this incident for misusing a passport, according to court records.
Dark said Austin Police assisted and the sheriff’s office transportation unit was on the way at the time of the attempted escape, but she confirmed the officers who were with Armstrong when she ran were the ones who apprehended her.
According to Dark, it is “not uncommon” for TCSO to transport an inmate to a doctor’s office or hospital when they require specialized medical treatment that is not available in their clinic.
She could not disclose any particular, additional security measures being used by the officers during the Wednesday transport but added added that TCSO would review the event.
“Anytime we have a situation is out of the ordinary, we go back and look at every single detail to see, ‘If this was done differently, might be outcome have been different? What about this? What about that?’ And we learn from every single one of them, and we implement new procedures and policies based on them,” Dark told KXAN.
Jail transfer protocols
There is state oversight, rules and recommendations in place to prevent things like this from happening. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) is the oversight agency for all jails.
However, once an inmate is outside of a county jail itself—outside of the secure perimeter—TCJS said it doesn’t have much of a say on protocols that need to be followed.
According to Brian Wood, the executive director of TCJS, policies on how people are transported are set on the local level.
“It’s a somewhat of a grey area in one of which our purview and authority is limited,” Wood said.
TCSO wouldn’t disclose information on its transfer protocols and whether they were followed when Kaitlin Armstrong escaped, for security reasons. However, it told KXAN protocols are switched up depending on what sort of medical issue an inmate is dealing with.
TCJS does have a section on its website, where facilities can report escapes. Wood said they can still make recommendations for all jails when it comes to medical transports.
“Staff needs to be trained, in regards to the proper transport of inmates to include use of restraints in ensuring that they are secured,” Wood said. “If the individual is a threat to public safety, then definitely recommend that they have more than one officer accompany the inmate.”