Tipster who spotted fugitive Lois Riess hailed a hero

The man who spotted fugitive Lois Riess in South Padre Island, Texas and alerted authorities is being hailed as a hero. 

George Higgenbottom was inside Dirty Al’s Seafood Restaurant when Riess walked in last Thursday evening. He recognized her and called authorities. 

“I’m looking at her and I said, ‘I know this is the lady’,” Higgenbottom told WINK-TV. 

Higgenbottom said she only spent a few minutes inside the restaurant before leaving. 

"She was enjoying herself,” Higgenbottom said. “She always had a smile on her face, like it's just unreal for a person who was supposed to be on the run, she wasn't acting like that."

U.S. Marshals located her about 30 minutes later at the nearby Sea Ranch Restaurant and Bar. She was arrested without incident. 

The 56-year-old Blooming Prairie, Minnesota woman is accused of killing her husband, David Riess, in late March and stealing $11,000. 

Riess then drove down to Fort Myers, Florida, where she befriended a woman who looked like her, 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson, then allegedly killed her to steal her identity. 

She fled southwest Florida in Hutchinson’s car and made her way along the Gulf Coast before being apprehended in South Padre Island. Authorities discovered two pistols in her motel room. 

Riess is being held without bond in a Texas county jail. She will likely be extradited to Florida before returning to Minnesota. 

Riess is charged with second-degree murder, grand theft, ID theft and grand theft auto in Florida. In Minnesota, she has been charged with grand theft. The Dodge County Attorney’s Office has not charged Riess with her husband’s murder.