U.S. marshals put up billboards seeking ‘coldblooded killer’ Lois Riess
New billboards featuring the face of a southern Minnesota gambling grandmother believed to have killed her husband in Blooming Prairie, Minn., and a woman she met in a Florida bar are going up in four states this week as the U.S. marshals office intensifies its search for the suspect theyve dubbed Losing Streak Lois.
Billboards are going up in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona in hopes of generating tips that could lead authorities to Lois A. Riess, the 56-year-old woman who has been on the run since March 23 when authorities found her husband dead.
The billboard campaign comes as the marshals office is offering a $5,000 reward for information that could help them find the woman who is now part of a nationwide search. CrimeStoppers of Florida is offering a $1,000 reward.
On Tuesday, the Lee County Sheriffs Office in southwest Florida released another set of surveillance videos that showed Riess at a Hilton Hotel in Ocala, Fla. One video shows a white Acura rolling through the hotel parking lot. Two others show Riess wearing a blue shirt and white hat walking into the hotel and checking in at the counter. The clothing was similar to what she was wearing on April 5 when she was spotted befriending 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson at the Smokin Oyster Brewery in Fort Myers Beach. Riess is accused of killing Hutchinson and taking off with her white Acura along with her cash, credit cards and identity.
But the videos have not helped authorities close in on Riess, whom they called a coldblooded killer.
It was not immediately known when she stayed at the Ocala hotel off Interstate 75, or for how long, but it was after she left Fort Myers Beach, said John Kinsey, deputy U.S. marshal in Florida.
It was sometime after the killing for sure, he said. Shed already been there and gone before authorities arrived.
Riess was last seen April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. She was seen driving south on Hwy. 77 in a white Acura, Kinsey said.
Kinsey declined to say if Riess has used Hutchinsons credit card in the days after Hutchinson was found shot to death April 9 in the condo she had rented in Fort Myers Beach.
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.
Kinsey said border patrols have been put on alert and Mexican authorities have been alerted to be on the watch for anybody trying to use Hutchinsons ID.
Authorities believe that Riess shot her husband, David, in their Blooming Prairie home in late March, then took off in the family vehicle and drove 2,000 miles to south Florida. Once there, she likely targeted Hutchinson because the two women have a striking resemblance. It is believed Riess used the same firearm used to kill her husband and Hutchinson, authorities have said.
Riess is known to have a gambling addiction and to frequent casinos, authorities said.
Riess has been charged with murder in two states, along with grand theft of a motor vehicle, and grand theft and criminal use of personal identification.
Riess is believed to be armed and dangerous.
A grandma lost it, killed her husband and possibly befriended a woman to kill them and steal her identity, Kinsey said. We deal with murders all the time, but this one is odd, more so than our usual cases.
Tim Harlow 612-673-7768