Disturbing photos show evidence in case against Lois Riess
Graphic photos released this week by the Florida States Attorney show the inside of the Fort Myers Beach condo where Lois Riess allegedly shot and killed a look-alike she met in April while fleeing authorities in Minnesota.
Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, Minn., has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Pamela Hutchinson, whose body was found April 9 in unit 404 of Marina Village at Snug Harbor on San Carlos Boulevard.
Images show a bullet hole in the wall of the bathroom where Hutchinson was found, two large pools of blood on the bathroom floor and shower stall, and a bloodstained pink baseball cap similar to one that Hutchinson had been wearing on April 4, the evening she was seen having a drink with Riess at the nearby Smokin Oyster Bar.
The most grisly of the more than 1,200 images released showed a white blouse drenched in blood and Hutchinsons body with two bullet holes turned faced down. Authorities also show images of bullets and a gun found in Hutchinsons unit. It is not clear if that gun was the murder weapon.
Other photos from inside the condo show Hutchinsons phone charging on the counter and her voter registration card.
Evidence released this week included transcripts of deputies interviews with witnesses and a photo showing Riess had a book called Mind and Emotions with a business card for the Mood Disorders Unit at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester tucked inside.
Authorities believe Riess first killed her husband, David, in the couples Blooming Prairie home in March. He was found dead on March 23. By then Lois Riess, whose penchant for gambling earned her the nickname Losing Streak Lois, had driven the couples Cadillac Escalade to Fort Myers Beach. There she befriended Hutchinson at the seaside eatery because of their similar appearance, authorities have said.
The two women shared drinks at the brewery, then returned to Hutchinsons rented condo on April 4. Sometime overnight, Riess is believed to have shot Hutchinson in the bathroom, covered the body with a towel, and stuffed another towel under the bathroom door to hide the smell of decomposition.
In the newly released evidence, photos show Riess in Hutchinsons white Acura withdrawing cash from a Bank of America ATM shortly after the murder. Another shows her holding a handful of cash inside a Fort Myers bank.
Riess, a grandmother of five, stayed at Hilton Hotel in Ocala, Fla., ,on April 6, using Hutchinsons credit card to pay for a room. From there she went to Louisiana where surveillance photos show her accessing an ATM with a 504 area code. Then Riess blended in with the tourist crowd on South Padre Island until a nationwide hunt ended April 19 with her arrest.
Riess was extradited to Florida to face charges of murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal use of personal identification. She is being held in the Lee County Jail and will make her next court appearance on Oct. 31.
Riess has been charged in Dodge County, Minnesota, for allegedly forging $11,000 in checks from her husbands business account. Murder charges against Riess in Dodge County are still pending.
Tim Harlow 612-673-7768