One of Lois Riess’ children told a national television audience Thursday his mother blew a half-million-dollar inheritance as her gambling addiction spiraled out of control.
Braden Riess gave an interview to the syndicated “Inside Edition” at his Rochester-area home that was aired Thursday in the Twin Cities on KARE 11. He said that it’s like living in “a bad movie” to see his mother, who “always put herself second,” accused of killing his father and a woman in Florida.
Lois Riess, 56, is accused of fatally shooting her 54-year-old husband, David, on their farm property south of Blooming Prairie in March and fleeing in the family sport-utility vehicle.
She went to Florida, where law enforcement says she befriended a 59-year-old look-alike, Pamela Hutchinson, shot her and then stole her identity before being captured on South Padre Island, Texas, on April 19. Authorities dubbed her “Losing Streak Lois” because of her trail of casino gambling.
“She literally snapped,” 31-year-old Braden Riess said. “My whole family is in shock. Nobody ever suspected anything like this. It has devastated our family.”
Riess described the unfolding horror of the news that his father had been killed and his mother was a suspect.
“It’s a bad movie. I feel like I’m going wake up, and it’s going to be back to normal, but it’s not,” he said. “She was caring; always put herself second and us kids first.”
Riess remains jailed without bond in Florida on charges of second-degree murder, grand theft and identify theft. She had a pretrial detention hearing Thursday in Lee County and has another hearing scheduled for May 29, when she will have an opportunity to enter a plea.
Braden Riess said her gambling addiction was a monumental struggle for her. “Gambling’s a terrible thing, where it can suck people in and destroy lives,” he said.
As the law enforcement dragnet widened, Riess recalled that “I just felt really bad for my mom. I felt like she was alone and desperate.”
In a portion of the interview released ahead of time but not aired, the son went on to say, “I just felt bad for her. And then I felt bad for thinking that way because my dad’s dead. It’s difficult.”
Lois Riess won’t return to Minnesota until her case in Florida ends. In her home state, she is charged with the theft of $11,000 from her husband’s bank account but not yet with murder.
Braden Riess said he has not spoken to his mother since his father’s death. If he ever does get the chance, he said, “I’d just tell her that I love her.”