BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) - The small town of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota remains in disbelief over Lois Riess’ alleged murderous rampage.
“I mean she’s a grandma,” said Terry Trom, a Blooming Prairie resident. “Hard to believe.”
Authorities say three weeks ago, Riess killed her husband 54-year-old Navy veteran, David. Facing $100,500 of unsettled debt, she illegally withdrew $11,000 from her murdered husband’s bank accounts. Surveillance video released Tuesday further revealed Riess fled to Ft. Myers, Florida. Once there, investigators say she befriended her doppelganger, 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson, only to kill her, steal her credit cards, her Acura TL and assume Hutchinson’s identity.
The details paint the picture of a cold-blooded killer, a stark contrast to the kind woman who bought cookies from a young Girl Scout.
“She seemed so trustworthy that I even told her where I lived,” said Priscila Chavez, a concerned mother.
Chavez says she and her nine-year-old daughter sold Girl Scout cookies to Riess.
“[My daughter] still thinks of this nice lady that was going to buy all my cookies,” said Chavez.
Chavez and her daughter were set to go back to Riess’ house to deliver those extra boxes on March 23 - the same night deputies say Riess killed her husband. Fortunately, Chavez put it off, but now the near encounter haunts her.
“Who knows what state of mind she would’ve been in that night,” said Chavez.
Chavez remains as stunned as anyone in the small town, where it is seems just one question is on everyone’s mind.
“Just about everywhere you go, doesn’t matter whether I go to Austin or Owatanna, ‘Did they find Lois yet?’” said Trom.