Woman murders husband and then kills her lookalike to steal identity and flee authorities
A 56-year-old grandmother has been accused of murdering her husband and a woman who looked like her before proceeding to steal her identity and fleeing from the authorities. Lois Riess will face capital punishment when she goes on trial. She has been accused of shooting David, her husband, to death in their home in Minnesota in March 2018.
She then went to Florida and proceeded to murder Pamela Hutchinson a month after killing her husband. Prosecutors in Florida announced on July 3 that they are appealing for the death penalty in the case. Riess has been indicted for Hutchinson's murder along with grand theft of a motor vehicle and grand theft of identification of a dead person.
Riess was known as "Losing Streak Lois" because she had a terrible gambling habit. It has been alleged that she killed her husband on March 23. His colleagues at work had called the authorities because they hadn't seen him for a few days and that's when his body was discovered in the home with multiple gunshot wounds.
Riess was not at the scene then so a warrant was issued for her immediate arrest. Officers said at a later time that they found $11,000 withdrawn from David's business account on the same day he died. They then accused Riess of gambling the money away in casinos while she was on her way to Florida, reported the Daily Mail.
After she reached Florida, she allegedly became friends with 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson at the Fort Meyers Beach. The authorities said that she had killed the woman early on in April in almost the same way she killed her husband. Investigators said that because the two women looked eerily similar, it is believed that Riess had been intending to steal Hutchinson's identity all along. The murderer was finally arrested at the South Padre Island in Texas after she was spotted in a bar. She was then extradited to Florida to face the charges that were being brought against her.
Authorities believe Riess was possibly planning a third murder in Texas and the intended victim was a woman by the name of Bernadette whom she had made friends with over there. The two women went for dinner together on April 15 before she had allegedly invited Riess to the community hot tub and even gave her permission to sleep in her guest bedroom. The bartender had told Bernadette that she had "seemed out of it" after she only had a few drinks and that she "does not remember" why she had let Riess go back home with her in the first place.
The two women had gone for breakfast together the next morning and had even made plans to meet for dinner on April 20. Riess was then arrested on April 19 and, according to court documents, Bernadette had been told by an unnamed person at the bar about the arrest while she had been waiting there for Riess to go for dinner.
The woman told Wink News in an interview that she was under the impression Riess was "a new best friend" and said that the murderer had been very kind and even paid for her dinner.
She told the news channel that it was only after she tried calling Riess to find out if she was going to make it for the dinner that she reached the voicemail of a person called "Stormy Liberty". It was at this moment that she sensed something was not right. She told Wink: "I had called and texted her to see if we were going to meet and I never got a response. I called her phone and there was somebody on the other end of the phone that I think her name was like Stormy Liberty or something like that." She said that, when she went back inside, she found out that Reiss has been arrested and this left her feeling "gullible and stupid".
She said: "It's just scary—very scary to meet a stranger and think that they're going to be your friend and they turn out to be a killer." Bernadette told investigators that, in her interactions with Riess, she had seemed "completely normal, calm, and friendly."
According to investigators, this was not the first time that Riess had used Stormy Liberty as an alias. In March 2018, Riess had called a woman living in Blooming Prairie and had asked for the address of Theresa Koster who had a winter home in Fort Myers. Riess, acting as Stomy Liberty, had asked for the address claiming she was a "mutual friend". The woman had given Stormy the address and detectives were able to track down Riess because the alias had appeared to have been used to create a cellphone account.
Early in April, Koster had gone to the said winter home in Fort Myers and had found a woman standing and staring at her car. She then addressed the mysterious woman before their eyes apparently locked and she knew instantly that the woman was Riess. The woman had said "wrong house" and left abruptly. Koster had met Riess in Minnesota months ago and had even invited the Riess couple to her home in Florida. She told the authorities that she knew Riess was wanted for murder and immediately called the police.
After the murderous 56-year-old was arrested, the authorities searched the car that she was found driving which is believed to have allegedly been stolen from Hutchinson. The officers found a prescription pill bottle, stained blankets, and sheets along with the box of a new cell phone.
When they searched her hotel room in Texas, News-Press reported that they found two handguns and "a black bag with multiple other firearm paraphernalia that include bullets, a holster, duct tape, rubber gloves, checkbooks with four credit cards, and what appeared to be a trophy".
CBS News reported that Riess pleaded "not guilty" to the murder of Hutchinson in June and will be standing trial for her husband's murder in Minnesota after she stands trial for Hutchinson's murder in Florida.