Investigators building their case against the Minnesota woman accused of killing a look-alike in Florida have released hundreds of photos showing evidence they collected from crime scenes and hotel rooms where she stayed while eluding authorities.
Lois Ann Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with the April death of Pamela Hutchinson in a Fort Myers Beach condo. Investigators have indicated that they intend to seek the death penalty if she is convicted.
Riess, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held in the Lee County jail in Fort Myers. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 31.
On Tuesday, prosecutors shared a lengthy list of evidence, which includes clothing and handbags, one with a dictionary inside, as well as the victim’s credit cards and checkbook.
The list also includes maps and written directions from Florida to Texas, where Riess fled before she was apprehended, receipts from Walmart and casino brochures. One brochure advertised a popular crossing between the U.S. and Mexico.
Photos also show box cutters, rubber gloves, a roll of duct tape, and the .22-caliber and 9-millimeter Smith and Wesson handguns recovered inside Room 227 of the Motel 6 on South Padre Island, where receipts showed Riess stayed from April 9 until she was arrested by U.S. marshals at a restaurant in south Texas April 19. It’s not clear whether either gun was the murder weapon. Hutchinson was shot twice, authorities said.
The evidence also includes a T-shirt from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery still wrapped in its plastic packaging. That was the seaside eatery where Riess met Hutchinson on April 4. Hutchinson, 59, was found dead five days later and authorities believe Riess killed her to steal her identity.
The collection of more than 800 photos showed Riess traveled with a vast collection of hats, shirts and shoes. They also show a pair of sunglasses believed to be Hutchinson’s sitting on a white towel along with jewelry that may have belonged to the victim.
Riess was extradited to Florida to face charges of murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal use of personal identification.
Riess has been charged in Dodge County, Minnesota, for allegedly forging $11,000 in checks from her husband’s business account. The evidence photos show checks from David Riess’ account written to his wife.
David Riess was found shot to death in the couple’s Blooming Prairie home on March 23. That set off a nationwide hunt for the woman.
Murder charges against Riess in Dodge County are still pending.