FORT MYERS, Florida – A nationwide search is underway for Lois Riess, now connected to murders in Minnesota and Florida.
Charges are pending for Riess in the murder of her husband in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, and now she is being charged with the murder of 59-year-old Pamela Sellers Hutchinson in southwest Florida.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Myers said Friday that Riess is suspected of being near Corpus Christi, Texas, and should not be approached.
Related: More on the search for Lois Riess.
Authorities in Florida say Riess befriended Hutchinson due to similarities in their appearance. They say Hutchinson was found with “fatal gunshot wounds” and that her purse was “in disarray" earlier this week.
Hutchinson’s cash, credit cards, identification and vehicle were stolen.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota said the white 2003 Cadillac Escalade Lois Riess was believed to be driving was found in Florida. It was abandoned earlier this week and authorities believe she is now driving the stolen white 2005 Acura TL with Florida license plate Y37TAA.
“It has been determined that Riess has fled southwest Florida and has traveled through the gulf states and into Corpus Christi, Texas, and her current whereabouts is unknown,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
In addition to the murder charge in Florida, she is wanted for grand theft of motor vehicle and grand theft criminal use of personal information.
Authorities said Riess’ plan is “to befriend women who resemble her and steal their identity. U.S. Marshals are actively involved in a national search for this dangerous fugitive.”
Anyone with information regarding Riess is asked to call 1-800-780-TIPS.
On Thursday, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office announced a second-degree murder charge against Riess for the murder of her husband.
David Riess was found March 23 in rural Blooming Prairie, dead from multiple gunshots. Investigators have been searching for Lois, 56, ever since.
Law enforcement say they believe that after David Riess was killed, Lois Riess transferred nearly $10,000 from his business account into his personal account and then forged her husband’s signature on three checks to herself for $11,000.