The family of an elite cyclist who was fatally shot earlier this month in the midst of what authorities are describing as a love triangle said her death was “senseless.”
“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter and sister, Anna Moriah Wilson,” her family said in a statement to NBC News. “There are no words that can express the pain and suffering we are experiencing due to this senseless, tragic loss.”
The cyclist, known as “Mo,” had traveled to Texas for a race in Hico, southwest of Fort Worth, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her family.
A friend of Wilson’s found her body at an Austin home on the night of May 11, Austin police said in a statement. Wilson was pronounced dead shortly after 10 p.m.
“Moriah was a talented, kind, and caring young woman,” her family said. “Her life was taken from her before she had the opportunity to achieve everything she dreamed of. Our family, and all those who loved her, will forever miss her.”
Police initially said she had been shot multiple times inside the house in a killing that “does not appear to be a random act.”
The U.S. Marshals Service said it was looking for Kaitlin Marie Armstrong in the killing.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC affiliate KXAN of Austin, Armstrong had been in a relationship with professional cyclist Colin Strickland for roughly three years.
But during a break in their relationship, Strickland had begun seeing Wilson, 25, the affidavit says, KXAN reported.
An unnamed friend who reported being with Armstrong in January when she learned of the relationship said Armstrong “became furious and was shaking in anger,” according to the affidavit.
Based on a search of Wilson’s phone, investigators said messages indicated Wilson believed she was “still in a romantic relationship with Strickland even though he was currently dating Armstrong,” the affidavit says, according to KXAN.
Wilson’s family said they would not comment on the investigation, but “we do feel it’s important to clarify that at the time of her death, those closest to her clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone.”
Velo News described Wilson as a “dominant” mountain biking and gravel racer, winning several races this year and resigning her position at a bike company to pursue full-time racing.
Wilson, from Vermont, was expected to win the May 14 Gravel Locos race in Hico, the site reported.
Michael Sheehan, a reporter for cycling site FloBikes, wrote that he was in the middle of writing a piece arguing that Wilson would almost definitely win the 2022 Life Time Grand Prix, a series of races, when he got the news that she had been killed.
“Mo Wilson was not a household name in international cycling, but she could have been. Mo Wilson in fact could have been anything she wanted to be. She was 25 years old, and like so many people, I believed in her,” he wrote.
Many in the biking community paid tribute to Wilson on social media, using the Hashtag #RideLikeMo.
“Mo. She made everyone better, everyone try a bit more. I feel we were all watching her star ascend from this goofy side of our sport to the loftiest of heights. And we were all proud of her,” cyclist Peter Stetina shared.
Seven-time world champion Rebecca Rusch called Wilson “all light and laughter.”
“Now, what we must do is take her light, absorb it into ourselves and shine it on others as brightly as she did. This beautiful soul was teaching us to be good, and she still is,” Rusch said.
Wilson’s family said money raised on the GoFundMe would “help fund community organizations that help youth find self-confidence, strength, and joy through biking, skiing, and other activities that Moriah was passionate about.”
The Feed, a company that sells food for athletes, designed a “Ride like Mo” water bottle. The company’s website said all proceeds from sales of the bottle would be donated to a scholarship fund of her family’s choice.
“Moriah Wilson was defined by her grit,” the site said, “and ever-present smile.”