If you ever see a tortoise wandering West Austin alone, check his rear end for a set of labeled phone numbers and an Apple iTag. If that’s what you see, you’ll know you’ve found Bruce, who has a penchant for adventure.
Bruce, a Sulcata tortoise, just returned to his Daveport Ranch home mid-last week from a six-day trip that had his family, Austinites Brian and Samantha Price, anxiously searching on foot. Brian searched between his 24-hour shifts as an ER doctor.
“I was panicking because there was 109-degree weather, it was ridiculous, and there was no rain,” Brian said. “I was getting super nervous so I was literally out there every single day.”
In the 15 years Bruce has lived with the Prices, he has escaped a handful of times but always finds his way back with the help of his friends and social media.
Bruce as a baby.
Bruce now weighs 70 pounds.
The Price family adopted Bruce as a baby when their youngest son started asking for a pet tortoise. In the spirit of the dad who didn’t want the family pet, Bruce largely became Brian’s responsibility (and best friend) before long.
“Brian searched for him for hours and hours every day. He worked so hard and found him and also had a really good idea of where he was going to end up,” Samantha said. “He truly understands Bruce.”
Now a solid 70 pounds, Bruce has become famous in their neighborhood for his antics—Brian said he has escaped home three times, once for 19 days straight and as far as nine miles away.
After his first disappearance, the Prices added stickers with their phone numbers to his shell, which helped him get found the second time when he stopped by someone’s lawn. Then they added the iTag, which he conveniently managed to slough off before he disappeared this month.
Each time they have taken to Nextdoor to spread the word of his disappearance, where neighbors have organized search parties, created maps of his favorite locations, given out flyers, shared tips and brought Bruce home.
This time, Bruce was found by a neighbor's child in the greenbelt while Brian was searching using mating calls that had been suggested online.
“Everybody knows Bruce in Westlake because of his escapes, everybody knows about the adventures of Bruce,” Brian said. “Whenever we go on vacation, the neighbors help take care of him.”
His adventures have inspired a book idea, which Samantha envisions as an educational chronicle of Bruce’s adventures from his perspective; a reattached tracker and an enclosure upgrade that gave him about 200 square feet of shade to roam so he hopefully won’t want to seek it elsewhere.
“I saw the community coming together and just wanting to find him, he really does bring our community together,” Samantha said.
Brian said his aversion to social media even faltered a little when he watched his online community comment, “Bruce for mayor!” upon his post announcing the tortoise was back home.
“He's a little celebrity,” Brian said.
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(Editor's note: this is part one of a two part Austonia series)
Lester Holt's Dateline NBC has kicked off its new season with a two hour episode, The Last Ride, examining the Austin shooting death of pro cyclist Moriah "Mo" Wilson on May 11.
Hosted by Keith Morrison, NBC brings considerable investigative resources, well beyond the resources and capabilities of local Austin media. They sent producers and crews to Austin, New York, and Costa Rica, interviewing people related to the case and uncovering more information. They collected numerous photos and archival videos. They located and reviewed court documents. And they hired a consulting detective to help analyze evidence.
Woven throughout the segment are on-camera insights from Austin American-Statesman reporter Ryan Autullo, who covered the story for the paper.
Moriah "Mo" Wilson
Moriah "Mo" Wilson
Wilson is portrayed as a "bright young star," a ski racer from Vermont who moved to California and switched to racing bikes, rapidly rising to the top of gravel racing's pro ranks. Her rise was so sudden that despite being immensely popular among the cycling community, the racers did not know much about her.
Mo Wilson had no real ties to Austin. She was here preparing for a race, staying with a female friend in an alley apartment over a South Austin garage.
On the second night of her Austin trip, her friend came home to find Moriah on the floor, bleeding, with multiple gunshot wounds. The friend called 911 and administered CPR, but was unable to save Moriah.
Police found 9mm shell casing on the apartment floor, and discovered that Wilson's very expensive bike was missing. It was soon found, hidden in nearby bushes.
A witness, the property landlord who was working inside the garage at the time, said he opened the garage door to exit and heard someone running down the exterior stairs from the apartment above. As he left the garage, he said in a statement that he thought he saw someone riding a bicycle down the alley, away from the scene. He did not mention hearing any gunshots.
Authorities focused their attention, initially, on Austin pro cyclist Colin Strickland, at that time a Red Bull sponsored athlete. Police were told that Strickland and Wilson had spent the early evening together, riding on his motorcycle to swim at Deep Eddy Pool and eating dinner afterward at nearby Pool Burger.
The two were well acquainted. A friend said that Mo Wilson and Colin Strickland had met and "hit it off" in July 2021, at a San Diego bike race called the Belgian Waffle Ride.
A few months later, in October, Moriah Wilson visited Austin, staying with the same friend in the same apartment where she died. On that visit, according to NBC, Wilson and Strickland had a "fling."
Not clear, according to NBC, is whether Wilson knew that Strickland was in a long term relationship with Austin real estate agent and amateur rider Kaitlin Armstrong (no relation to cyclist Lance Armstrong).
A few months later, at a race in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Strickland was there with Armstrong by his side. Wilson was confused, and NBC reports that she texted Strickland for clarification, but didn't get it. His vague responses to Wilson's questions, according to NBC, did not directly address the extent of his relationship with Kaitlin Armstrong.
The day after Wilson's murder, NBC reports that Strickland voluntarily spoke at length with police, providing what NBC characterizes as a "precise, to-the-minute" account of their time together on the previous evening.
NBC says there was support for Strickland's timeline from a variety of electronic sources, including security camera video and a time-coded electronic lock on the apartment door that was opened with a special code established only for Wilson.
The door lock recorded Moriah Wilson leaving the apartment at 5:55 p.m. At 8:16, security footage shows Wilson and Strickland leaving Pool Burger on his motorcycle. More data shows when Wilson entered the apartment and documents Strickland riding away.
Based on that data, Austin police ruled out Strickland as the potential killer, NBC says.
But in the data were two important clues.
Ten minutes before Moriah and Colin returned from swimming and having dinner, a Ring camera showed a dark Jeep Cherokee with a "complicated bike rack" driving through the alley, past the apartment.
Eleven minutes later, NBC reports that a different Ring cam pictured what looked like the same vehicle driving slowly by, and then stopping, behind the apartment where Moriah was killed. This was one minute after the electronic lock indicated that Moriah opened the apartment door after being dropped off by Strickland.
"This was somebody that was watching [the apartment]," said DATELINE host Morrison. The car's driver, "an obvious person of interest."
The next morning, when police visited Strickland's home, there was a black Jeep Cherokee with a "very elaborate bike rack" parked by his house.
Who did the Jeep belong to? It was not his. It belonged to Strickland's long-time girlfriend, Kaitlin Armstrong.
(Come back Wednesday night to read the conclusion of our two part series, in which Armstrong disappears, is later found in Costa Rica, and extradited back to Travis County. Read about the interview with her attorney, who goes beyond a "reasonable doubt" defense and says there will be evidence that will exonerate her.)
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!