SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (WCCO) — Police in three states say the hunt for a fugitive grandmother is over.
Officers arrested 56-year-old Lois Riess Thursday night, about 30 miles from the Mexican border. The hunt for Riess started last month in Blooming Prairie, where investigators say she shot and killed her husband, David.
Police in Florida say she then shot 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson in Fort Meyers Beach two weeks later.
“There is a sense of relief today because a killer is off the streets. No matter where she went or where she hid we were going to get her,” said Carmine Marceno, Undersheriff for the Lee County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department.
From investigators in Florida and Minnesota to police in South Padre Island, Texas, the arrest of Lois Riess is a relief to law enforcement across the country.
“By the time she realized what was going on it was out of her control at that point,” said Chief Randy Smith of South Padre Island Police.
Just before 8 p.m. Thursday, police got a tip from a restaurant worker that Riess was nearby. U.S. Marshals arrested her at the Sea Ranch Restaurant.
“She seemed to let her guard down a little bit which the officers were able to take advantage of that,” said Smith.
Police said Riess was with people, but it’s unclear if she had just met them. Riess did not have a gun on her, but investigators did find the white car she allegedly stole from Pamela Hutchinson after gunning her down in Florida.
“We were concerned for the public’s safety because of her actions in Florida. Obviously, there was a concern about her coming back here as well,” Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said.
The manhunt began four weeks ago, after police found her husband David’s body at their Blooming Prairie home. They say she stole $10,000 from his business and gambled.
She was spotted on surveillance video several times, including when she befriended Hutchinson, possibly to steal her identity.
“As you can imagine, this has been a difficult time for the Riess family and the Hutchinson family,” said Rose.
Riess was known by authorities as “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling. She will likely go on trial in Florida first. Police in all three states thanked the media today for their extensive coverage on Riess.
They also believe billboards in five states helped bring her to justice.