Police: Undercover US Marshals arrest Minnesota fugitive on South Padre Island
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KGBT) - The subject of a nearly month-long manhunt was arrested Thursday evening on South Padre Island, according to South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith and U.S. Marshals.
Shortly before 8 p.m., South Padre Island police received a call from an officer—who’s also assigned part-time to a U.S. Marshal’s Task Force—advising of a tipster call regarding a sighting of Lois Riess, Smith said during a press conference Friday.
Two undercover U.S. Marshals arrested Riess without incident at Sea Ranch Restaurant and Bar, where Smith believes Riess likely “let her guard down.”
Riess was transported to the South Padre Island Police Department, where she was identified as the Minnesota fugitive suspected of murder. A nationwide manhunt was initiated for Riess after investigators found the body of 54-year-old David Riess, who was fatally shot at their home in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. Investigators had reason to believe Riess was making her way down south, as she was spotted at a northern Iowa casino. From there, investigators believe she killed 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson of Bradenton, Florida, and assumed her identity.
Smith says Riess is being held in solitary confinement as authorities from Minnesota and Florida form a unified plan to handle the investigation and move forward.
Police believe Riess was staying at a motel on South Padre Island and say she was at Dirty Al's Seafood Restaurant when an employee recognized her and made the call.
“The BOLO alerts and all the broadcasts are out there to try and encourage interest in the community, and this is exactly the way a lot of crimes are solved— and it pays off," Smith said. "There’s a lot of people that might not call. We probably answer hundreds of tips that don’t pan out to the ones that do, but we really need those calls and we appreciate them. This is a perfect example of how successful it can be.”
Correction: During a press conference Friday, South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith announced that an employee at Daddy’s Seafood & Cajun Kitchen restaurant spotted Lois Riess and called police. However, Daddy’s Seafood & Cajun Kitchen restaurant owner Ethan Salazar, who also owns Dirty Al's Seafood Restaurant, says Riess was first spotted by an employee at Dirty Al's Seafood Restaurant. Friday night Chief Smith corrected his initial statement and confirmed that Riess was spotted at Dirty Al's.