'Cold-Blooded Killer' Grandma Accused of Murdering Her Husband and Doppelgänger

Police are on a nationwide manhunt for the "armed and dangerous" 56-year-old.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, United States
Lia Kantrowitz
illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
April 17, 2018, 4:04pm
Photo via the Dodge County Sheriff's Office / Twitter

Grandmas might seem like sweet, innocent saints who make you cookies and send you nice cards for your birthday, but that's part of what makes them shockingly effective murderesses—if you're not careful, those baked goods can kill you. Just take the case of Lois Riess, a 56-year-old grandmother from Minnesota who allegedly murdered two people, stole a woman's identity, and dropped off the grid, kicking off a nationwide manhunt for her arrest.

Riess has been on the lam since late March, when her husband mysteriously stopped showing his face in the small town of Blooming Prairie, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports. When the cops came by the family's farm to investigate, they found him dead—killed by several gunshot wounds. Now, they're hunting for his wife—who they say murdered him, emptied $11,000 from his bank account, and disappeared.

Police say Riess fled Minnesota for Iowa, where the allegedly gambling-addicted grandmother stopped at a casino. Before investigators could catch her, she made her way to Fort Myers, Florida, where police say she befriended a woman who looked like her in order to steal her identity. In footage the Lee County sheriff released Monday, you can see Riess and her doppelgänger, 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson, chatting casually at a Fort Myers bar. A few days later, Hutchinson was dead.

Cops say Riess scammed her way into Hutchinson's condo, shot her in the heart, and emptied out her purse. Armed with Hutchinson's ID, credit cards, and car keys, she allegedly high-tailed it to Texas—the last place anyone's spotted the sedan she allegedly stole.

Police have described Riess as "armed and dangerous," and—with murder, grand theft, and identity fraud charges pending against her—they're combing the country to track her down before she can claim another victim.

"She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother," Carmine Marceno, the undersheriff of Lee County, Florida, told NBC News. "And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted, and an absolute cold-blooded killer."

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