The U.S. Marshal's Office and the Lee County Sheriff's Department met the press early Friday morning in Lee County Florida and reported that Lois Ann Riess, fugitive on the run, offered no resistance to her arrest late Thursday night.
Two hours later, Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose met with the media in Kasson to discuss Riess' arrest and to thank the media and the public for their help in ending this nearly one-month manhunt. SEE VIDEO ON STEELE COUNTY TIMES WEBSITE.
Riess, of Blooming Prairie, has been on the run since March 21 when she allegedly shot and killed her husband David at their home south of Blooming Prairie in Dodge County.
A nationwide manhunt resulted in the apprehension and arrest of Riess at a South Padre Island, Texas restaurant.
She was arrested at 8:25 p.m. Thursday without incident by the U.S. Marshal's Office and the South Padre Police Department. She was taken to the San Pedro Island jail.
Authorities are working with Florida and Minnesota investigators to determine where she will be sent next.
Dodge County Sheriff's investigators and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigators flew to Texas early Friday morning to continue their investigation.
Rose called these events "a tragic and devastating time." He asked everyone to be mindful and respectful of the families of the victims.
With Riess' arrest, Sheriff Rose said he believed the people of Blooming Prairie and elsewhere were safer because of the efforts of the media and public tips.
"It's an unusual and sad case," Rose remarked. He said Riess' arrest created a sense of "great relief" for law enforcement authorities. Her apprehension was "truly a team effort on our part," Rose said in complimenting his staff of 54 at the Dodge County Sheriff's Office.
Wanted in Lee County, Florida, for murder, Riess allegedly killed 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson in a Fort Myers Beach condo on or about April 5.
She then stole the victim’s driver’s license, credit cards and 2005 white Acura TL and fled. Riess, 56, is also a person of interest in the murder of her husband in Dodge County, Minnesota, in March. She has not been charged with second degree murder in her husband's death as of yet, said Sheriff Rose, the investigation continuing.
Dodge County authorities have also charged her with grand theft.
The fugitive investigation for Riess gained momentum when U.S. Marshals received a tip from a restaurant worker who thought they spotted her.
The alert worker provided a description of the suspect and her vehicle. When Deputy U.S. Marshals and South Padre Island police arrived on the scene, they located the vehicle.
Authorities then made their way into the nearby restaurant and found Riess sitting at the bar. She was taken into custody without incident.
“I want to acknowledge the doggedness of our deputies, specifically in Florida, Minnesota and Texas, and our state and local law enforcement partners who worked this case around the clock,” said Berger.
“I also want to thank the media and the public. You played a significant part in helping us capture Riess and ending her dangerous crime spree,” continued Berger.
Riess is currently being held in a jail in south Texas awaiting extradition.
It is unclear at this time whether she will be extradited to Minnesota or to Florida. Marceno said legal processes had to be worked out before she can be moved to another state.
Marceno said "thoughts and prayers" go out to the families of the two victims. He thanked not only the U.S. Marshal's office but Lee County authorities and Sheriff Rose of Dodge County.
Sheriff Marceno said "this case struck me as odd because when you look at her appearance, she looks like anybody's mother or grandmother, but yet she is an absolute cold blooded murderer."
Marceno said "there is no I in TEAM" and said he was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. Marshals. "This is a great example of what we do every day in law enforcement to show that nationally we can come together and we win.
"Today is a huge win because she cannot strike again and that was our main concern. We ran a killer off the streets. Now, we want her back in Fort Myers.
Marceno said the help of local and national media helped capture Riess.
Berger said, "Now, victims' friends and families can take time to heal." He said Riess was not surprised upon her arrest. "She knew it was coming. You all did a good job at pushing out our story and everybody knew who she was."
Berger also said there was no indication that Riess was going to head to Mexico, the border only an hour away.
Marceno, responding to a reporter's question about Riess not changing her appearance, said, "she's running but guess what, she is not changing her appearance." He referred to Riess using Hutchinson's identification.
"This is a stone cold killer," said Marceno. "It is a sense of relief now because this killer is off the street. No matter where she went or hid, we were going to get her," Marceno concluded.