SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - Minnesota fugitive and accused murderer Lois Riess is in custody after she was arrested without incident Thursday night in Texas.
The U.S. Marshal Service says that Riess was arrested around 8:25 p.m. Thursday at a bar and restaurant on South Padre Island. Riess was wanted in connection with murders in Minnesota and Florida. South Padre Police Chief Randy Smith says two undercover officers arrested Riess as she stood in the lobby with friends. She was not carrying a weapon.
"She seems to have let her guard down a little bit," Smith shared.
The chief says Riess is not being questioned until authorities from both Minnesota and Florida arrive tonight. At that time the agencies will come up with a unified approach to the investigation moving forward.
"There's a sense of relief today because a killer is off the streets," said Lee County Florida Undersheriff Carmine Marceno at a news conference Friday morning. "Furthermore, no mater where she went, no matter where she hid, we were going to get her."
"I think now the victim's families and friends can maybe feel a little healing, and that's the most important thing," added U.S. Marshals spokesman William Berger.
A woman who says she is the aunt of David Riess, the husband of Lois Riess who she is accused of murdering, expressed gratitude on Facebook to those who helped in her capture.
Earlier Thursday, the Minnesota BCA released new video of Riess.
The new video was captured at a Kum & Go gas station in Northwood, Iowa on March 23, the same day authorities found the body of David Riess at his Blooming Prairie home. The video shows Lois Riess approach the cashier, purchase a sandwich, and ask for directions south, out of the state.
Investigators believe that on March 23, Riess drove to a bank in Glenville, Minn. and cashed over $10,000 in stolen and forged checks from her husband and his business. She later spent most of the day gambling at Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa, before stopping at the gas station.
Riess dumped the SUV she was driving at a park in Florida, and was last seen in Pamela Hutchinson's vehicle, a white Acura TL, with Florida license plate Y37TAA. Authorities in Florida say Riess stole this vehicle after killing Pamela Hutchinson of Bradenton, Fla.
Riess was spotted in Louisiana and Texas. Riess was considered armed and dangerous. A $6,000 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office in Florida released this statement late Thursday evening:
Following a national manhunt, wanted fugitive Lois Riess was apprehended by the US Marshals Service earlier this evening in South Padre Island, Texas.
The arrest brings to an end a nationwide search that has included the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Dodge County, Minnesota Sheriff's Department, the US Marshals Service as well as countless local, state and federal law enforcement across the country.
"I promised all along that Lois Riess would end up in a pair of handcuffs," said Undersheriff Carmine Marceno. "Tonight, she sits in a jail cell in Texas. We are working as expeditiously as possible to bring her back to Lee County to face murder charges."