The nationwide manhunt for the granny dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” -- who's wanted in the murder of her husband and a woman she killed to steal her identity -- intensified Wednesday as authorities offered a reward for information about the “coldblooded killer.”
Billboards featuring Lois Riess, 56, were put up by the U.S. Marshals in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona in hopes of receiving tips leading to the grandmother who’s been on the run since allegedly murdering her husband on March 23, the Star Tribune reported. A $5,000 reward is also being offered for information leading investigators to Riess.
“A grandma lost it, killed her husband and possibly befriended a woman to kill them and steal her identity,” John Kinsey, deputy U.S. marshal in Florida, told the Star Tribune. “We deal with murders all the time, but this one is odd, more so than our usual cases.”
Riess is accused of shooting and killing David Riess at their home in Blooming Prairie, Minn. before traveling to Florida and murdering Pamela Hutchinson. Riess, a gambling addict who frequented casinos, was seen on surveillance video at Fort Myers Beach’s Smokin’ Oyster Brewery befriending Hutchinson on April 5. The new friends seem to hit it off talking at the bar – but Riess allegedly had an ulterior motive for the chitchat.
Hutchinson was found shot dead last Monday, four days after the two were spotted on surveillance video. Police said Riess — described as having brown eyes, blonde hair and standing 5 feet 5 inches tall — killed Hutchinson because they look similar.
Riess took Hutchinson’s car, a white Acura TL with Florida license plate Y37TAA, her cash, identification and credit cards and fled the state.
Kinsey told the Star Tribune Riess stayed at the Ocala hotel off Interstate 75, but was already “there and gone” by the time authorities arrived. She was last spotted in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi.
Her trail, however, then went cold. Authorities have not said if Riess used Hutchinson’s credit cards. Officials have alerted Mexican authorities in case Riess tries to to the country.
“Unfortunately, there have been no further sightings,” Kinsey said. “She blends in real well. She is an average 56-year-old white female walking around and that is part of the problem.”
Residents who knew Riess and her husband when they lived in Blooming Prairie said they are in disbelief.
“I mean she’s a grandma,” resident Terry Trom told FOX9. “Hard to believe.”
“She seemed so trustworthy that I even told her where I lived,” Priscila Chavez said of Riess. “[My daughter] still thinks of this nice lady that was going to buy all my [Girl Scout] cookies.”
Riess faces murder charges in Florida and Minnesota. She was also charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, criminal use of personal identification and grand theft after withdrawing $11,000 from her husband’s bank account by forging his signatures on checks, the Star Tribune reported.