Multi-state fugitive hits casino jackpot after Fort Myers Beach murder
Hundreds of tips are flowing into the U.S. Marshals Office as a nation-wide hunt intensifies for 56-year-old Lois Riess.
Riess is accused of fatally shooting her husband, David Riess, in March at their Minnesota home then stealing money from his business. Riess is also wanted in connection with the April murder of Pamela Hutchinson, 59, of Bradenton, at a condo on Fort Myers Beach.
“One of these tips is gonna pan out for us, I am very confident in that. Eventually, someone is gonna see her and they’re gonna say something,” said John Kinsey, with the U.S. Marshals Service.
It’s believed Riess befriended Hutchinson due to their similarities and stole her identification cards, cash and credit cards from her purse, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Riess is thought to be driving Hutchinson’s white Acura TL with a Florida licence plate of Y37TAA.
Investigators believe Riess drove to a bank on March 23 in Minnesota and cashed over $10,000 in stolen and forged checks from her husbands business. She later spent most of the day gambling at Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood Iowa.
New surveillance video released on Thursday afternoon from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office shows Riess at a gas station on March 23 in Iowa. She purchased a sandwich and asked for directions south of the state.
The video shown below is the only one investigators have located with audio of Riess speaking the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators also confirmed she was spotted on April 8, just days after Hutchinson’s murder, at the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana.
Riess used her own name and identification to play and hit the jackpot. She walked out of the casino that night with $1,500.
“Unless she’s hiding under a rock or in a cave, I don’t see how she could possibly stay on the run anymore,” Kinsey said.
The U.S. Marshals Service released a wanted poster and strategically placed billboards in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California to assist in the search for the “armed and dangerous” woman.
“Exposure. We need her to be exposed,” Kinsey said.
The billboards have been placed in areas surrounded by casinos.
“We would expect her to hit a casino, she’s addicted to gambling so she has to do it,” Kinsey said.
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Reiss. Florida Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Riess withdrew $11,000 after allegedly killing her husband in Minnesota.
Traveled from Dodge County to Dubuque, Iowa (Diamond Jo Casino)
Actions unaccounted for between her journey from Iowa to Fort Myers Beach.
April 5: Seen at Smokin’ Oyster Brewery with Pamela Hutchinson
April 5-6: Pamela Hutchinson was killed in her Fort Myers Beach condo.
April 6: Riess walked inside a Wells Fargo Bank on Fort Myers Beach and withdrew $5,000 from Hutchinson’s account face to face with a teller, providing Hutchinson’s ID and credit card.
April 6-7: Riess checked into a Hilton in Ocala using Pamela’s ID, credit card, and signed her name. Stayed one night, left the next day.
April 7: Went to a bank in Ocala, withdrew $500 from Hutchinson’s account.
April 8: Hutchinson’s car spotted in Louisiana. Riess tried to get cash out at gas station – attempted to make a purchase and get $200, but transaction was declined.
April 8: Hutchinson’s car spotted driving through Refugio, Texas.
April 9: Lee County sheriff’s deputies called to a suspicious vehicle. Reiss’ Escalade found abandoned at Bowditch Point Park on Fort Myers Beach. Car registration records linked it to a match to someone wanted in Minnesota.
HOURS later: LCSO called to Marina Village for death investigation, found Pamela’s body.